Stovepipe Wells aerial view

Managers of Death Valley National Park in California are seeking public input regarding future use of the park’s Stovepipe Wells Village. One of the park’s proposals is to change the Stovepipe Wells airstrip into a dedicated night sky viewing area due to the prohibitive maintenance expense of repaving the runway. This is due to the park’s perceived lack of visitation to the strip, combined with a growing interest in attendees in night-sky astronomy. With this change, the airstrip is in danger of closing entirely to light aircraft visitation. 
 
The Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) believes that pilot activity and stargazing can successfully co-exist with minor changes to existing infrastructure, and we are urging members to submit comments to the park in support of both pastimes. 
 
Death Valley National Park is more specifically proposing the following change (the following text was captured from the park’s official Facebook page):

Night Sky Viewing to Replace Airstrip: night sky viewing events in the park regularly attract over 250 people, and very few people use the airstrip at Stovepipe Wells. The park proposes changing the airstrip into a place where astronomical societies can set up and camp with their large telescopes, while providing an opportunity to experience the park’s spectacular dark skies. The Furnace Creek Airport, 18 miles away, would still be available for small planes.
 
If the Park Service does not receive at least 400 comments from the pilot community regarding Stovepipe Wells, they will ignore the pilot’s input. WE NEED YOU TO COMMENT THROUGH THE NPS WEBSITE COMMENT SUBMISSION FORM BEFORE DECEMBER 23.

Additional details and the comment submission form can be found at the following link (once you are on the NPS page, click on the ‘comment now’ button):
 
https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887
 
The RAF suggests the following talking points for members who wish to comment:

  
·       Pilots support stargazing. This is a very successful combination of compatible pastimes. This has been proven at Havana, Illinois, where fly-in stargazing events draw many campers both by air and car. The Blue Canyon airport at Nyack, in Tahoe National Forest is another perfect example.
 
*    Current facilities at Stovepipe Wells are at about 1/2 mile hike away. The airstrip will see a significant increase in visitation should facilities such as a dedicated camping area, as well as toilets be provided to visitors to the airport. 
 
·       At 3,260 x 65 ft and a significant existing visitors area, there is ample room for both activities at Stovepipe.  
 
·       Providing for under-wing camping at the airstrip helps disperse usage, and puts no additional strain on the NPS campground.
 
·       Its daylight use by small planes minimizes impact to campers and star gazers. 
  
·       This airport has historical value, having been established in 1948. 
 
·       Stovepipe Airstrip provides another feasible way to access this special land. For many, driving to Stovepipe Wells represents a huge investment of time, and access by small plane opens up that opportunity.
 
Thank you in advance for your support of this RAF Call to Action! The RAF will be following up with final comments on our website in the near future. 
 
Questions may be directed to CA State Liaisons Rick Lachrlach@theraf.org and/or Katerina Barilovkbarilov@theraf.org.

Submitted December 10 2020

123 Comments

  1. Rhys on December 10, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    I don’t see how airplanes will affect people star gazing. It sure seems like the airport doesn’t have to close because people are star gazing at night.

    • Katerina Barilov on December 15, 2020 at 11:56 am

      Hi Rhys! We are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

      • michael thomson on December 19, 2020 at 9:33 pm

        I have both flown and driven there to camp, stargaze , and hike. No doubt we can accommodate both the pilot and non Pilot stargazers! We both love the same thing!

    • Eric Fisher on December 16, 2020 at 10:36 am

      Save the airport, it’s a family tradition to fly there and enjoy the nature all around it.!!

    • Troy Kornacki on December 16, 2020 at 12:04 pm

      These airports are instrumental in bringing visitors to the park and would be an absolute shame to destroy such an asset.

  2. Alex on December 10, 2020 at 1:45 pm

    Please keep the airport open

  3. Nicole Teow Robinson on December 10, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    Please don’t close this wonderful spot!!!

    • Kaylan Kelsen on December 11, 2020 at 8:05 am

      Pilots are star gazers too!! We respect and appreciate the sky more than most. Everyone can co-exist. Please keep the airstrip open to star-gazing pilots!

  4. Marti Brophy on December 11, 2020 at 6:55 am

    Colorado pilots often fly cross country to California. We would normally only do that in daylight hours and it is a long enough flight that we would stay a few days. Having bathroom facilities would those who like to camp under the wing. Being able to fly out there and do some star gazing at night would be a draw. I urge you to work on having general aviation and astronomy co-exist at that site!

    Martin Brophy
    President, Colorado Pilots Association

    • Katerina Barilov on December 15, 2020 at 11:57 am

      Hi Marti! We are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – at this point we are asking the public to submit comments to the park. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

      • Bill Butler on December 16, 2020 at 10:03 am

        I threw in a comment on the site, hope it helps.
        Comment ID: 2063177-107887/1368

  5. Mark on December 11, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Small airports like this are the foundation of dreams that builds future pilots. To see beautiful pictures with small private aircraft and people enjoying the true natural elements stirs a desire within so many.
    I have never flown there, but the thoughts of doing so lights a quest to go further in life. Perhaps in the future I or my kids may fly there or it may just be the inspiration to fly.

    • Don Twa on December 15, 2020 at 11:55 am

      Why would they want to make all those Star gazers drive!

      Keep the airport rolling and increase the tourism, if it’s not a night airport there’s no conflict if it is a night airport notam the airport closed a half hour after sunset.

  6. peter mickelsen on December 11, 2020 at 12:30 pm

    airstrips and star gazing have always gone hand in hand and I and others enjoy the night sky from my private strip here in the mountains of Montana. Save the Stovepipe Airstrip!

  7. David Bentley on December 11, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    This is just an incredible airport and should be kept open to be enjoyed by future generations of aviators.

  8. Art Daniel on December 11, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    if money is the problem , try a go fund me.

  9. Chris DM on December 11, 2020 at 9:15 pm

    Pleas keep the airport open and operational. Stargazing and airport activities should easily be able to take place at the same location while accommodating both activities.

  10. Forrest S. Ward on December 12, 2020 at 3:31 am

    Please keep the airport open.

  11. Mike grommet on December 12, 2020 at 7:30 am

    The combination of activities are not mutually exclusive. How does closing this remote airstrip improve night sky viewing? If anything, it helps people access the area.

  12. Scott Knapp on December 12, 2020 at 7:36 am

    I absolutely believe both activities can co-exist.
    Adjacent campsites and vault toilets would definitely increase the air[ports use as well as promote star gazing. A tremendous amount of pilots and their families enjoy stargazing and a moping under the wing.
    Please strongly consider trying to promote both activities.
    The majority of the current airport use is during the day, however during the day or night the airport is a wonderful safety outlet for those of us cross country.

    Scott

  13. Bill Unternaehrer on December 12, 2020 at 4:39 pm

    LOTS of areas for night sky viewing but only a couple for airplane landing areas. Since this is close to structures it would seem to NOT be a very good area for true night sky viewing.

  14. Jamason on December 12, 2020 at 5:29 pm

    Absolutely do NOT close this amazing airport. Add a small asphalt or concrete pad in the campground for people to look up at the sky on. Closing this awesome airport for this reason is absurd.

  15. Al Schiffer on December 12, 2020 at 6:43 pm

    We need to keep this airport open. Airport are a necessary for the transportation system in the USA.
    The local economy always benefits from airports in their area.
    Thanks

  16. Rico Alderete on December 14, 2020 at 8:25 am

    This is a very unique opportunity to fulfill the needs of Astronomers, Aviation enthusiast, and those of us who appreciate both spectrums. I feel the airstrip should remain open and the area get small improvements to allow a wonderful experience for everyone. It would be an amazing place to host some Stargazing Fly-In/Drive-In and bring both communities together as one. This airstrip NEEDS to stay open for all communities to utilize. It is all of our land to use, as American people. Thank you…

  17. Glenn Holloway on December 14, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    This airport needs to remain open! I have an operation at a county airport that consistently receives government money for upkeep and expansion. Has anyone looked into this possibility? I find it difficult to comprehend how stargazing could have a detrimental effect on this airport that would warrant closing this facility. There must be a compromise.

  18. Scott Wilhelmi on December 14, 2020 at 9:08 pm

    Never a good idea to close an airport. Once it’s gone it’s not coming back.
    I believe the airport and star-gazers could easily coexist.
    Sounds like fun, but please keep the airport open.

  19. Bruce Williams on December 15, 2020 at 9:53 am

    Please keep the Stovepipe strip open to aircraft! Out-of-the-way airstrips are fun. Stargazing can be done anywhere. Landings not so much….

  20. Fred Jolivet on December 15, 2020 at 10:03 am

    As a visitor from Canada, my wife and I had a great time exploring that part of the United States in our plane. Stovepipe wells was definitely worth the stop. It remains on our list of “want to go back and explore some more”. I believe it is the attraction of being able to access special places like that which motivates the aviation tourist to travel and spend. In this particular case I don’t see how the two activities couldn’t happily coexist. Stargazers and pilots, I believe, are like-minded. Keep the strip and promote dual activity events… My two cents.

    • Katerina Barilov on December 15, 2020 at 3:16 pm

      Hi Fred! We are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – at this point we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

      • Pete Finley on December 15, 2020 at 4:14 pm

        Please keep this airstrip open. I really enjoy flying to remote airstrips.

  21. Marla Boone on December 15, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Please save this airstrip. The two activities of star gazing and light general aviation are in no way in conflict. The strip can continue to be a viable aiirpoty as well as become an asset for the astronomy group.
    Please don’t close this airstrip.

  22. BONFY on December 15, 2020 at 10:13 am

    Please keep the airport open

  23. Mike B on December 15, 2020 at 10:31 am

    Please keep the airstrip open. Aviation is bad need of future aviators. This would be a great opportunity to introduce kids to astronomy and aviation in the same location.

  24. Dale on December 15, 2020 at 11:01 am

    There is no conflict. Most of the flying is done in the daylight and the stars don’t come out till night.

  25. Dave Hoepfinger on December 15, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Stovepipe Wells has historic value and has been frequented by many since inception due it’s unique placement surrounded by such special land. Certainly, with creative thought, the two pastimes can coexist and ultimately prove to be beneficial to both those that enjoy flying and star gazing.
    Airports such as Stovepipe Wells are rare and should be considered “General Aviation Gems” not undervalued for closure.
    Actually Stovepipe Wells is on my personal “bucket list” for visitation but just haven’t had the scheduling leniency to accomplish that yet. I am aviator certain that there are significant like-minded others harboring the same desire to do a fly-in visit to Stovepipe Wells and perhaps even share gazing a star or two while there.

    • Katerina Barilov on December 22, 2020 at 9:45 am

      Hi Dave! We at the RAF are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – in the article above, we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

  26. Troy Emmett on December 15, 2020 at 11:04 am

    Keep it open, exactly as said above. We have Star Force now it’s a good fit for generations to come. Come on FAA!

  27. Richard Olson on December 15, 2020 at 11:19 am

    I think this airstrip should remain open, I think that stargazing and flying during the daylight hours can complement one another, they do not have to be exclusive! General aviation needs these older established airports to remain in operation please!

    • Katerina Barilov on December 22, 2020 at 10:13 am

      Hi Richard. We at the RAF are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – in the article above, we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

  28. Robert Ryan on December 15, 2020 at 11:33 am

    I don’t get into death valley often, just like I don’t get in there with my vehicle often, but when I do, I would like there be a road to get there, and to airplanes that means a runway. I would like to see this airfield available for an additional safety airfield in the area to land in case of bad winds or weather.

  29. Ron K on December 15, 2020 at 11:35 am

    Improvement to the campground would be welcomed. The elimination of the airstrip is a bad idea. It’s the only airstrip in the middle of Death Valley. How about developing it as a dual use area . Keep the airstrip as is or improve it, but develop the surrounding as a star gazing area where the folks can mount their telescopes.

  30. Allen Hill on December 15, 2020 at 11:38 am

    Every remote Airport that can be kept in use is good for all, those who use them appreciate the opportunity to do so. It would be a great loss to close another landing strip in the great western part of the US, I would urge the parks department to keep Stove Pipe Airport open to all, I ‘m sure all involved can make use of that vast area. This is another strip for land in an emergency

  31. Mr Rhody Sims on December 15, 2020 at 11:49 am

    Dear Sir/ Madam,
    The Airstrip at Stovepipe wells appears to be exactly the type of destination that appeals to Pilots such as myself, I live in the UK and having flown into the Kalihari desert in the past I assure you that desert destinations have an unique appeal.
    I know at least two fellow pilots that share interests in astronomy and aviation , Making Stovepipe wells into a fly in stargazing destination would be an opportunity not to be missed.
    If you do it people will come.

  32. Kevin Szalapski on December 15, 2020 at 12:03 pm

    The Kalihari desert needs this Airstrip to stay open

    • Katerina Barilov on December 16, 2020 at 9:34 am

      Hi Kevin! This airstrip is in Death Valley in the United States, not in Africa. We are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – at this point we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

  33. Dan Conrad on December 15, 2020 at 6:15 pm

    If nothing more than for a safety strip this airport needs to stay open, we have lost to many GA airport’s

  34. Don Hort on December 15, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    I would agree that looking at the stars and small aircraft can work together. I think they actually go together.

  35. Rob hilty on December 15, 2020 at 10:29 pm

    What a great place for pilots to fly into! Not only can the airstrip support more tourism for activities like star gazing, but it lends to other needs as well like an emergency landing strip, medivac etc.

  36. Chris Mullins on December 16, 2020 at 9:07 am

    Death Valley is an iconic example of the American west, which includes the experiences of wildness and wide open spaces. Continued use of small aircraft in this area will not impair the experience of non flying visitors to the park. The park already embraces small aircraft with the 2 other legal fields I am aware of. The benefits to closing the field seem nil and also to be a real opportunity lost. The past of least resistance and greatest utility and broadest interest is to maintain utility of the field, avoid the inertia towards greater regulation and reduced freedom which is away from the spirit of the way the west was founded. Many Europeans come to DV seeking a sense of freedom and possibility. The operation of small aircraft here and general aviation are particularly dramatic examples to them of the special freedoms we enjoy in the United States.

  37. Peter Jarosak on December 16, 2020 at 9:44 am

    My Airport is in the middle of an Astronomer’s Park. There is no conflict of interest whatsoever! It is NM90 in New Mexico. The main runway is 40×6000′ and cross runway is 30×2300′. I have never had one complaint from anyone in the HOA.

    • Katerina Barilov on December 22, 2020 at 9:44 am

      Hi Peter! We at the RAF are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – in the article above, we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

  38. Miles D. France on December 16, 2020 at 10:22 am

    Please leave the airstrip as is, what a wonderful treasure preserved. Looking up into the heavens can be done from almost any dark spot to gaze upon celestial orbs but to glide down out of heaven requires much preparation. This spot of earth is already prepared for our arrival. Let it be. It can presently be shared by all with no changes.
    Thanks
    N31005 Miles

  39. Jim Rollison on December 17, 2020 at 9:33 am

    Please keep the field open! I hope that star gazers, pilot or not, can come to a resolution that doesn’t lead to another airport closer.

  40. Tim H on December 17, 2020 at 3:51 pm

    Firstly, please do no remove the airstrip or the ability of aircraft to utilize it at Stovepipe Wells. There are many reasons why Stovepipe Wells Airport should remain an airport, here is but one. Every airport in the US is a valuable resource that should be maintained for it’s intended purpose. Some airports may not receive as much traffic as one would think it should to justify it’s existence. That thinking is understandable but fails to take into account the fact that when an airport is needed in a life threatening situation there is no alternative, time is of the essence. Having airports all across the US is an irreplaceable asset when it comes to emergency evacuation. Especially when it comes to a very remote area such as Stovepipe Wells and Death Valley as a whole. With a little bit of thought and planning Stovepipe Wells could easily accommodate both air traffic and stargazing. Promotion of stargazing could easily cause an increase in demand for the airport. And it could well be that one of those stargazers may need emergency evacuation some day. Wouldn’t it be ironic if that was the case but the airport was just decommissioned so a stargazer could occupy a very, very small piece of asphalt in the middle of nowhere. This is but one of many reasons why Stovepipe Wells should remain an active airport, open the the public. It’s a small price to pay for such a valuable piece of the USA.

    Thank you for your consideration, Tim

    Comments: My comments were submitted after reading about the possible closure of Stovepipe Wells Airport in a Recreational Aviation Foundation communication. We visited Death Valley and Stovepipe well last year and were amazed by the whole experience. Part of that was learning that there are airport open to the public in this beautiful national park. I would love to return to the park via air.

    • Katerina Barilov on December 22, 2020 at 9:39 am

      Hi Tim! We at the RAF are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – in the article above, we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

  41. jim on December 17, 2020 at 7:01 pm

    Save the airport!!! you can look at stars anyplace you can only land a plane on a runway!!!

    • Katerina Barilov on December 22, 2020 at 9:44 am

      Hi Jim! We at the RAF are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – in the article above, we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

  42. Donnie Lucy on December 17, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    I’ve flown into this airstrip several times. It’s a neat place and a joy to land at. I think a night stargazing site and the airport could coexist. It’s a gem that should be preserved for future generations to fly into and enjoy

    • Katerina Barilov on December 22, 2020 at 10:28 am

      Hi Donnie. We at the RAF are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – in the article above, we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

  43. Tord55 on December 18, 2020 at 9:09 am

    Let us hope it will be saved for the next generation of aviators!

    Merry Christmas and A Happy Flying Year!

  44. Marty Vanover on December 18, 2020 at 3:53 pm

    Please save the strip! I haven’t been there yet. I have to get my airplane fixed first and that will be some time. There are so few places to get away like this one. Although, I’d admit that I’m not too keen on flying there in July/August. But I think during other times it would be down right balmy.

    • Katerina Barilov on December 22, 2020 at 9:44 am

      Hi Marty! We at the RAF are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – in the article above, we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

  45. max on December 18, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    A couple questions. How much does it cost to refresh the runway pavement? How often does this need to be done? Does the runway have [red LED] lights to aid in night landings and takeoffs if necessary? If not could these be added by the pilot community? For those who don’t know, red lights do not damage night vision like white lights do. Is it feasible to [gradually] phase to unimproved runway surface? A great many airplanes that visit remote sites can land just fine on dirt, sand and other unimproved or semi-improved surfaces. Looking at the photo, I don’t see how the runway interferes in any way with the rest of the site … and the separation seems enough that even small airplanes landing at night with lights on would likely not harm night vision (though I’d need to check out the location myself to be sure).

    As a side note, I’ve been an astronomy addict since age 4, designed and built many telescopes, invented many astronomy optical systems, lived for 7 years alone at a remote mountaintop observatory (inside a national forest), and have spent thousands and thousands of hours out under the night sky … for fun and doing astronomy research projects. So the notion that these two uses of the location conflict seems completely wrong to me. Which leads to my final question … is the entire reason to shut down the airstrip to theoretically someday avoid the expense of repaving the runway? If so, just let us pilots take care of that. Oh, and yes … I’ve been a private pilot for over 40 years too.

    • Katerina Barilov on December 22, 2020 at 9:40 am

      Hi Max! We at the RAF are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – in the article above, we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

  46. Jeff Vilkin on December 18, 2020 at 7:08 pm

    I have flown into this strip several times over the years, and hope to do so again

  47. Jim Hanson on December 18, 2020 at 8:43 pm

    Done. Need qualified comments on runway condition/briefing bulletin—something RAF excels at. I was going to land our King Air there several years ago, but declined due to runway reports. Drove from LAS several months later—it would have been acceptable. RAF is uniquely qualified to advise or warn on primitive airstrips

  48. Mark on December 19, 2020 at 7:15 am
  49. Jerry Rodgers on December 19, 2020 at 8:39 am

    I have been flying to stovepipe Airport for breakfast and sightseeing for 38 years. Please do not close this airport, aviators are stargazers to. It is also a good emergency airstrip. Stargazer and aviators can co exist. Jerry Rodgers, Bishop, ca.

    • Katerina Barilov on December 22, 2020 at 9:43 am

      Hi Jerry! We at the RAF are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – in the article above, we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

  50. Lee Walton on December 19, 2020 at 8:47 am

    Save the airport. We love flying there

    • Katerina Barilov on December 22, 2020 at 9:43 am

      Hi Lee! We at the RAF are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – in the article above, we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

  51. Rod Thomas on December 19, 2020 at 9:26 am

    All of the future plans of the Park Service in this area are moot without visitors. Visitors require transportation means and the location of this airstrip is ideal. I see nothing in the plan [including the star gazing] that would conflict with having the airport remain at its location.

  52. GSB on December 19, 2020 at 9:37 pm

    Please don’t close the airport. It is a unique landmark and a great convenience for pilots arriving from out of state. Aiplanes may only land on runways but star viewing can be done anywhere in the park. We were there last year (2019) doing just that with a guide and we had a blast! The incredible dark sky at Death Valley is exceptional but it is everywhere in the park. No need to destroy an airport to create space to stargazing. Shared use would be ideal, with the possibility of camping but adequate separation between star gazers and airplanes.

    • Katerina Barilov on December 22, 2020 at 9:41 am

      Hi GSB! We at the RAF are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – in the article above, we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

  53. Willie Topken on December 20, 2020 at 11:26 am

    Rick and Katerina,

    The Reno Tahoe Aviation Group (RTAG) sent out an email to inform the group of this proposal. I sent in my comments to the NPS this morning.

    Thank you to the RAF for their efforts.

    AIM HIGH! FLY SAFE!
    Willie Topken
    @ KFLX

    • Katerina Barilov on December 22, 2020 at 9:41 am

      Thank you Willie!!!!

  54. Jack Kasbergen on December 20, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    Leave this gem of an airstrip to its original intended use. We owe it to the future aviators.

  55. RICK TRIMBLE on December 21, 2020 at 10:21 am

    PLEASE leave this airstrip in use for general aviation! I am a general aviation/commercial pilot and have enjoyed many of the outlying airstrips in Idaho. We come to Idaho and enjoy the airstrips and nearby motels/lodges/hotels/campgrounds/restaurants, etc. There are very LIMITED NUMBER of remote airstrips and limited areas where one could be built … Surely there are plenty of areas where astrological enthusiasts can view the night sky. If a dual-purpose use is feasible, TERRIFIC, but PLEASE DO NOT ELIMINATE THIS ICONIC AIRSTRIP.

    • Katerina Barilov on December 22, 2020 at 9:42 am

      Hi Rick! We at the RAF are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – in the article above, we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

  56. Chuck Blumer on December 21, 2020 at 3:39 pm

    Please do not close this airport. Once an airport is lost, they never come back. It is part of the national transportation system and should remain for future generations. It allows many visits to the park that very probably would not happen otherwise. It is a national treasure and should remain. I camped in Death Valley as a small child with my family. I returned with my dad when he was to old too camp on a day trip. It was very nice to be able to take him back to the park in the airplane as he never would have made the journey by car at his age.
    Thanks, Chuck Blumer

    • Katerina Barilov on December 22, 2020 at 9:42 am

      Hi Chuck! We at the RAF are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – in the article above, we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

  57. Fred Cornutt on December 21, 2020 at 5:19 pm

    Please leave the airport open for GA airplanes. As said before, we have lost too many remote airfields.

    • Katerina Barilov on December 22, 2020 at 10:28 am

      Hi Fred. We at the RAF are working with the Park Service on keeping the airport open – in the article above, we are asking the public to submit comments to the park – comments made on this page or social media will not be seen by them. Please comment directly to the park service via the link above: https://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfmparkID=297&projectID=72747&documentID=107887

      Thank you!

  58. Robert Allen on December 22, 2020 at 10:52 am

    I live in Idaho but have flown into this airstrip a number of times. To many airports are being encroached upon by City sprawl or closed because of higher land value for other reasons than aircraft use. Remote airstrips are valuable to pilots on cross-country flights for restroom or emergency strips as well as (in this particular instance) a destination for stargazing. Please do not close this valuable resource as a landing strip for aircraft! Camping spots for aircraft with an outhouse and potable water would greatly enhance the value to pilots and would increase the use as intended.

    • Katerina on December 23, 2020 at 9:04 am

      Robert, thanks for your support. Please make sure to submit your comments to NPS per the link in the article above

    • Gary Van Meter on January 18, 2021 at 12:34 pm

      I’ve flown in and camped there. We simply walked over to the campground next door and camped in the back, about as far as you could get from the tie-down, but it was still a short walk. And the store had coffee in the morning! And we simply walked across the road to the restaurant for dinner. It was great!

  59. Richard Backe on December 22, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Please do not close this airport. Small airports are vital. Aircraft Emergency service are vital. I had hoped to visit this airport in the future. I agree dark night sky’s are important but small planes have a small light footprint. Night sky viewing and small planes can coexist.

    • Katerina on December 23, 2020 at 1:52 pm

      Richard, thanks for your support. Please make sure to make your comments to NPS per the link in the article.

  60. Gerald on December 22, 2020 at 7:49 pm

    I submitted my comments on the official comments form today. The text reads as follows:
    “Stovepipe Wells and Emigrant Site Plan
    Document: Stovepipe Wells Developed Area Planning Public Engagement Newsletter
    State: AR
    Postal Code: 72687

    Organization: Private airport owner – 45AR Thunder Ridge Ranch

    Comments: Topic Question 1: How are flyers coming into other airfields who want to participate in events at Stovepipe Wells supposed to get there if the strip is closed? I can’t envision the park service providing transportation to and from. Keep Stovepipe Wells open to keep access open to all interested visitors, flyers included. Don’t turn the park into a publicly financed facility that excludes a class of patrons/citizens.

    Comments: Topic Question 2: Sky watching and flying do not have to compete with each other. A simple solution, if any interference is anticipated would be to set arrival/departure criteria and don’t provide airstrip, taxiway, or parking ramp lighting during periods of darkness (easily controlled by light sensing or internet controlled switches. Compare the light pollution of visiting automobiles & RV’s to that of airplane landing lights before showing preference to either.

    Another option would be to ban all arrivals or departures during periods of darkness. Restricting airplane access based on light pollution would be purely discriminatory.

    Comments: Topic Question 3: Sounds like a good idea as long as it can be done without discriminating against flyers in order to improve road access.

    Comments: Comments: My wife and I have for years been heavily involved in protecting and maintaining the Buffalo National River Park so my comments should not be taken as “off-the-wall” or biased toward any special interests.

    • Gary Van Meter on January 18, 2021 at 12:37 pm

      There is no runway/taxiway/ramp lighting . It is simply a runway and some tie-down points. bring your own rope!

  61. Anthony Roark on December 22, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    Please keep this air strip open. I have never been there but hope to some day with my son.

    • Katerina on December 23, 2020 at 1:52 pm

      Anthony, thanks for your support. Please make sure to make your comments to NPS per the link in the article.

  62. Erick Hendricks on December 22, 2020 at 10:33 pm

    This is a very important airstrip for the general aviator. I urge your support keeping as an airstrip.

    • Katerina on December 23, 2020 at 1:53 pm

      Erick, thanks for your support. Please make sure to make your comments to NPS per the link in the article.

  63. Chris Beldy on December 23, 2020 at 4:18 am

    Please don’t close this airport, we can co exist. Us pilots like to fly to destinations like this and camp and see the night sky as well

    • Katerina on December 23, 2020 at 1:53 pm

      Chris, thanks for your support. Please make sure to make your comments to NPS per the link in the article.

  64. Nik on December 23, 2020 at 9:11 am

    Please save the airport!!

  65. Andrew on December 23, 2020 at 12:01 pm

    Leave the airport open. It creates a great location for cross country flights

  66. Nick Echevarria on December 23, 2020 at 12:44 pm

    I truly hope it stays open! Too many rural airstrips are being forced to close for ridiculous reasons. These airstrips provide alternate access to people who can appreciate visiting these areas. It gives pilots fun and scenic places to fly into and check out as well!

    • Katerina on December 23, 2020 at 1:55 pm

      Nick, thanks for your support. Please make sure to make your comments to NPS per the link in the article.

  67. Rik on December 23, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    The airport needs to be protected from the encroachment of development and the restriction of any new uses for the public land it is upon and the near surrounding land that it occupies.

    Once gone, these things do not come back.

  68. Tristan D on December 23, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    As an amateur astronomer and pilot there are ways to please both that can and will create great opportunities for both. Camping and facilities would be a great start for both.

  69. Ken on December 23, 2020 at 6:04 pm

    This is a historic airport dating back to at least 1948. Death Valley NP is a vast expanse and having the ability to fly in emergency services is a vital asset to the area. The airport brings in tourism and would do even more if improved. Astronomical viewing can coexist better with the day use airport than with the lights of the nearby campground, RV park and Stovepipe Wells Village. Place the dark sky viewing area a few miles away, perhaps by the Mesquite Dunes parking area.

Leave a Comment