The RAF thanks all who took the time to submit comments supporting Stovepipe Wells Airport in Death Valley National Park before the comment deadline closed on December 23. Your comments count, and we are awaiting the outcome.
RAF California Liaisons Rick Lach and Katerina Barilov learned of plans to close the airport and convert it to a dark sky viewing site, and issued an RAF Call To Action. 
“We are encouraged by the significant outpouring of public support from RAF members as well as the general public,” Barilov said. “It demonstrates the immense value that airports such as this have to the pilot community and the public as a whole.” Many comments cited locations where aviation and stargazing are compatible activities and are successfully combined. 
Lach and Barilov are having an ongoing, active conversation with park service officials to discuss potential ways to share the grounds with dark sky viewing while preserving aircraft access. Through the established cooperative MOU between the RAF and the NPS, the Liaisons can commit to ways to maintain access and mitigate NPS maintenance costs. 
“We are hopeful that we can reach a suitable outcome for all parties involved,” Barilov said, adding, “The Park Service sees how cherished this access point is. It presents another way to visit the many recreational activities available in Death Valley National Park.” 


  1. Edward Perkins on February 10, 2021 at 11:32 am

    Glad to see that Stovepipe Wells Airport will continue to be available to aviators and the public.

  2. Roger Kubeck on March 15, 2021 at 11:20 am

    I flew into Stovepipe Wells on 03-14-2021. There were 3 airplanes on-site. The pilot registry showed about 75 airplanes had visited so far in 2021. Seems like a good number. Probably would have been more if C19 shutdowns of campgrounds and other services had not been in place into February.

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