The Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) joined representatives of federal and state agencies, aviation groups, landowners and other stakeholders at U.S. Forest Service Regional Headquarters in Albuquerque to sign a historic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The partnership is intended to create the New Mexico Airstrip Network (NMAN), which will allow the groups to work together to preserve, promote and enhance The Land of Enchantment’s growing number of recreational airstrips and related airports.
The RAF was represented by President John McKenna, Director Rol Murrow and RAF State Liaison Larry Filener, who also chairs the New Mexico Pilots Association Backcountry Committee.
New Mexico has a wide range of public and private airstrips, offering pilots wonderful recreational opportunities. However, according to the RAF, the state has never fully capitalized on the airstrips for providing access to outdoor activities like hunting, fishing, outfitting, hiking and camping.
“New Mexico offers unparalleled scenic and backcountry options combined with a moderate climate and an average of 280 days of sunshine per year,” said the RAF’s Murrow, who owns an airstrip in northern New Mexico.
The NMAN’s inception began through a team effort among the Aviation Division of the New Mexico Department of Transportation, New Mexico Pilots Association and the RAF. State Aviation Director Steve Summers said, “NMAN hopes to replicate the collaboration achieved in Idaho, which advanced aviation and produced positive economic impact for rural communities throughout the state.”
Under the collaboration, initial efforts will include identifying and maintaining existing airstrips, followed by the development of a plan to add new airstrips.
Also at the signing were reps from the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, New Mexico Dept. of Transportation, New Mexico Tourism Dept., New Mexico Pilots Association, New Mexico Council of Outfitters and Guides, New Mexico Airport Managers Association, New Mexico Aviation Aerospace Association and United States Pilots Association. Other groups will sign on in the coming days.
Learn more about the Recreational Aviation Foundation.