Each month we highlight an airstrip that the RAF has positively impacted. We hope that you will get out and enjoy these airstrips. This month’s Featured Airstrip is Jake’s Bar, located in Alaska. Jake’s Bar (AK0) was developed in support of mining operations in the mineral-rich Wrangell mountains south of the famous Kennicott copper mine which produced millions of dollars of copper from 1910 through 1938. Mining activity generally stopped in the 1940s and the airstrip is now within the boundaries of the Wrangell – St. Elias National Park, the largest national park in the nation. There is an old cabin, sauna and historic cache at the north end of the strip that is maintained by the Park Service and available for public use. A short trail leads to a good put-in place for rafting the Chitina River, at major tributary of the Copper River, which empties into the Gulf of Alaska east of the town of Cordova. Years ago, Anchorage EAA Chapter 42 had organized a work party, obtained permission from the NPS, and hosted a fly-in at Jake’s Bar to perform basic brush clearing. Time passed and the connection between the NPS and EAA languished. Al Clayton, member of EAA Chapter 42 and RAF Alaska State Liaison, revived the good memories of that event, engaged the new personnel at the NPS responsible for maintaining its back country airstrips and obtained permission to organize another fly-in and maintenance party. Over the weekend of June 2-3, 2017, an intrepid group staged and camped at Fireweed Airstrip (0AK8), near McCarthy, Alaska and about 15 miles north of Jake’s Bar. Nine volunteers in 5 airplanes flew in, cleared brush and trees with chainsaw, weed whacker and loppers and enhanced safety at this public use airstrip.
Submitted on April 4, 2018