Photo courtesy of Daniel Osborne, NPS

RAF Liaison and Alaska native Al Clayton had been eying an uncharted airstrip at the toe of the Nizina Glacier locally known as Amphitheatre Creek strip. He envisioned that pilots with appropriate aircraft – bush types, or even C182s with 8.50 main tires, and Beavers, for example – could enjoy the views from this natural amphitheatre, and fill their ice chests with glacial ice.

On Saturday, June 19, Clayton was joined by seven RAF and EAA volunteers in five planes that departed Clayton’s Fireweed airstrip (0AK8) northeast 20 or so miles for Amphitheatre.“This project marks the sixth year of cooperation between the RAF and the National Park, beginning with pilots’ volunteer work on Jake’s Bar to make it safer,” Clayton said. 

Photo by Scott Hilliard

The group was greeted by National Park Service Archeological Technician Daniel Osborne to supervise, and NPS pilot Don Welty. “The strip lies in the Wilderness, so no power tools are allowed,” Clayton said. “Our group spent about sixty-four hours from ten until three with nippers and rakes removing brush and small aspen trees and grooming ruts in the gravel.” The strip is now 780 useable feet, with stunning views in every direction. 

Watch for its listing yet to come in the Airfield Guide.

Submitted on June 30, 2022

1 Comment

  1. Jeanette Clayton Pedginski on July 27, 2022 at 10:22 pm

    Good work, Alaska Chapter of The RAF, EAA and Wrangell/St. Elias National Park and Preserve! Good things happen when people communicate, collaborate, cooperate and create community! Keep flying high!

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