In 2001, six guys sat around a campfire in the backcountry and asked, “If not us who? If not now when?”
Those two questions were the basis for founding the Recreational Aviation Foundation.
- A grassroots group called Backcountry Aviation Foundation begins to transition to a new identity,
the Recreational Aviation Foundation.
- Recreational Use Statute (RUS) for New Hampshire encourages landowners to open their land for public use.
The RAF organization is created.
- Bylaws for the organization written by Jerry Cain and Chuck Jarecki.
- Incorporated and successful filing of 501(c)(3) by Jerry Cain and John McKenna.
- The first RAF website was built by RAF supporter Dan Lilja.
- Idaho Airstrip Network was formed; RAF Director, Rol Murrow was a key supporter.
- The RAF was invited to participate in the Travel Planning process for the Lewis and Clark National Forest.
- The organization begins with 7 supporters.
- First RAF Newsletter is created by Carmine Mowbray.
- The RAF boasts 1000 supporters.
- Fort Kent, Maine airstrip is re-opened.
- Process began to specifically include the word “aviation” in Recreational Use Statutes.
- Travel Plan for the Lewis and Clark National Forest was approved for Russian Flat Airstrip.
- First Strategic Plan in Missoula, MT with Gary Burnett.
- RAF website was rebuilt.
- US National Parks Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) for the maintenance of three Death Valley, CA airstrips.
- Aviation included in Idaho and Montana Recreational Use Statutes (RUS).
- RAF attends Sun n’ Fun for the first time.
- RAF attends AOPA Summit in Tampa, Florida.
- Abigail Kimbell of USFS sends letter to the USFS field that “recreational aircraft and backcountry airstrips can be an integral part of a balanced and effective transportation system.”
- Missouri River Breaks Monument management plan is finalized, includes approval of six airstrips.
- Aviation language included in Maine RUS.
- Strategic Planning Meeting - Teton Summit in Driggs, Idaho.
- Tornado touches down at Sun n’ Fun – the Tornado Husky was born.
- Russian Flat Airstrip is opened to the public.
- Congressional Resolution honoring backcountry airstrips.
- Aviation included in Tennessee RUS.
- Founding Director Jerry Cain retired.
- Executive Assistant position created - fulfilled by Tricia McKenna.
- Aviation included in the RUS for Arizona, Kansas, New Mexico and Pennsylvania.
- Glacier Summit - First full gathering of TEAM RAF in Kalispell, MT.
- RAF established caretakers for Ryan Field.
- Aviation included in the RUS for Vermont, Utah, South Dakota, Minnesota, Virginia and Washington.
- RAF has 4500 supporters.
- At 10 year anniversary the RAF boasts 5000 supporters.
- RAF creates an Endowment.
- Founding Directors Chuck Jarecki and Dan Prill retire.
- RAF began work with Walton Foundation and The Nature Conservancy.
- Aviation included in the RUS for Wyoming, Oklahoma and Alaska.
- The Red Rock Roundup - TEAM RAF gathers in St. George, UT.
- AOPA and Montana Dept of Transportation grant obtained for the Wildlife and Aviation Study.
- Aviation included in the RUS for California, Georgia, South Carolina, and Wisconsin.
- RAF has 6200 supporters.
- North Fox Island Airstrip in Michigan is reopened.
- Volunteer Coordinator position created made possible in part with a grant.
- Memorandums Of Understanding signed with US Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management.
- Aviation included in the RUS for Oregon, Wyoming, and Missouri.
- RAF has 7000 supporters.
- Ragmuff Airstrip in Maine reopened.
- The RAF has 43 State Liaisons and 9 Directors in 35 States.
- First edition of “RAF Guide for Airstrip Owners” written by John Nadeau became available.
- Funding announced by U.S. Congress for Backcountry Airstrips on USFS land.
- U.S. Congress instructs USFS not to close backcountry airstrips.
- Aviation included in the RUS for Maryland.
- RAF has 8000-plus members.
- The Razorback Rendezvous - TEAM RAF gathers in Bentonville, AR.
- RAF Grant Committee created to assist State Liaisons in funding projects.
- Two new recreational airstrips opened in AR - Trigger Gap and Sugar Creek.
- RAF hosted first work party on North Fox Island Airstrip in Michigan.
- MT U.S. Senator Jon Tester holds press conference to discuss aviation issues in RAF hangar.
- RAF works with National Park Service for the first time in Alaska: Jake's Bar work party in Wrangell - St Elias National Park and Preserve.
- Work begins on Two Hearted airstrip in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.
- Sunrise Valley Airstrip in Oregon opens.
- Launch of RAF Ambassador program.
- RAF partners with AOPA's Air Safety Institute to administer aviation safety survey.
- The RAF now has 9,000+ supporters, 42 State Liaisons, 37 Ambassadors, 9 Directors, and 8 Vice Presidents of Appreciation.
- Launch of RAF Backcountry Boutique.
- Two Hearted River Airstrip in Michigan opens.
- Keystone Connection - Team RAF gathers in State College, PA for educational conference.
- The RAF, with the help of EAA, restores Miracle Mile airstrip in Wyoming.
- RAF volunteers reopen Johannesburg airstrip in California.
- RAF helps open Mountain Views Airfield in Oregon.
- RAF teams with AOPA Air Safety Institute on its "Peaks to Pavement" Seminar Series.
- Minietta Mine airfield restored in CA.
- RAF working with Hells Canyon Recreational Collaborative (HCRC).
- OR Liaison helps plan and open a new airstrip with the owners of Wild Billy Lake in Oregon.
- Eleven grants awarded to State Liaisons for mission-related projects.
- Three regional mini educational conferences (RMECs) offered for volunteers.
- Launch of the new RAF brand.
- After 10 years of communication with the NPS, Chicken Strip in Death Valley's Saline Valley is officially authorized on August 19, 2019.
- The RAF and the NPS sign a five-year cooperative maintenance agreement for Chicken Strip in Death Valley.
- Grassroots support for Charles A. Chase Memorial Airport in Maine, which was threatened with closure.
- $750,000 of funding announced by Congress for backcountry airstrips on USFS land.
- The RAF has 9700+ supporters, 48 State Liaisons, 40 Ambassadors, 9 Directors, 10 Vice Presidents of Appreciation.
- Awarded 16 grants to State Liaisons for mission-related projects.
- Launched RAF Podcasts and The RAF Outfitter online store.
- Airfield Guide lists its 50th State: airfield.guide
- Raised the Ryan Barn at Ryan Field (2MT1).
- Helped preserve Goodspeed Airport in CT.
- RAF partners with Isle Airport in MN on a cost-sharing project to remove trees that threatened to close the airport.
- Added Director of Marketing position.
- RAF includes 52 State Liaisons, 61 Ambassadors, 9 Directors, and 10 Vice Presidents of Appreciation.
- USFS renewed Memorandum of Understanding with RAF.
- Airfield Guide contains 309 listings.
- Started seasonal camp host program at Ryan Field.
- Raised the pilot pavilion at Trigger Gap, AR.
- Preserved Las Trancas, CA via a private lease agreement.
- Signed the New Mexico Airstrip Network renewal.
- Collaborated with The Nature Conservancy, USFS, Hartzell, AOPA, and others to improve airstrips and advocate for recreational aviation.
- Received USFS approval for a $50,000 request to improve Childs Glacier airstrip in Alaska.
- Turf operations are acknowledged in the FAA Advisory Circular AC 150/5300-13B. This outcome is a result of effort on behalf of RAF, AOPA and EAA.
- Signed a collaborative agreement with Texas State Parks.
- The life of Agnes “Butchie” Ryan is honored. She passed on March 15, 2022.
- Cornucopia Airport (23W) in Wisconsin becomes public.
- 14-minute video released, “The RAF Way” by Voortex Productions.
- Over 100 RAF volunteers attended a national educational conference in Wisconsin.
- RAF partners with Montana State University’s Computer Science Software Factory to improve Airfield Guide functionality.
- Signed an agreement with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) allowing the RAF to manage recreational aviation use of Red Pine airfield in Maine, an effort 12 years in the making.
- Honored volunteers with a Brown Arch tile dedication at Oshkosh AirVenture.
- RAF and USFS ink agreement on Gila Airstrips in New Mexico.
- Stovepipe Wells airstrip in Death Valley saved from closure.
- Grapevine Airstrip (AZ) cost-shared repaving completed.
- Chicken Strip (CA) restored by volunteers after flood damage.
- Nine RAF grant awards given for airfield maintenance and improvement projects
- RAF celebrates 20 years of preserving, improving and creating airstrips for recreational access.
- At 20 years the RAF boasts more than 11,000 supporters.
- Volunteers reopen Sacaton airstrip in New Mexico after decades of closure.
- Four regional mini educational conferences offered to better educate our hard working volunteers.
- RAF now has 47 State Liaisons, 59 Ambassadors, 9 Directors, and 17 Vice Presidents of Appreciation.
- Airfield Guide has 340 listings; we are revamping the design and usability features of the Guide, and planning for an early 2024 unveiling.
- Accepted an airfield in Wisconsin as a gift.
- Partnered with the USFS at Moose Creek, Idaho, to improve the strip.
- RAF grant given for maintenance at Avey Field (69S) at Laurier, WA.
- Airfield maintenance performed at Rager Field near Mud Springs, OR.
- Ongoing maintenance performed at Trigger Gap, AR.
- Built two more cabins for hard sided (bear proof) camping at Ryan Field, MT.
- RAF grant given for picnic table at Schafer Meadows, MT.
- Continued partnership with the USFS to identify Challenge Cost Share opportunities on USFS land.