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Back Country pilots to improve Mexican Mtn. airstrip

A plane lands on the air strip. The air strip will close for a few days in the fall while air strip restoration takes place.

The Back Country Pilots Association is interested in the back country air strips in Emery County. Association members like to fly-in and camp from their airplanes. Steve Durtschi from the organization was on hand at the May public lands council meeting to inform the council of the project.

Plans are underway for improvements at the Mexican Mountain air strip. It is within a wilderness study area and is managed so as not to impair wilderness character.

The road into the area has been closed for several years and is blocked off about three miles west of the airstrip. Improvements will be made to the airstrip and fire rings as well as picnic tables will be placed there to add to the amenities for the fly-in campers.

Fly-in campers have worked to clean-up the area and carry out their trash after each visit as well as cleaning up behind other campers to the area.

Trail Ace, a contractor out of Idaho, will do the work on the runway. Trail Ace specializes in trail maintenance in areas where motorized equipment cannot be utilized.

The Bureau of land management is evaluating the project and an environmental assessment will be completed by the end of summer.

The work will take place in October and will take approximately 10 days.

The local Back country Horsemen group volunteered to pack supplies in to the location for the project.

The air strip will be closed during the restoration project and will cost approximately $15,000-$20,000.

Durtschi said backcountry airstrips are a national treasure. There are about 12 in the state of Utah. "Mexican Mountain is a premier spot. I hope we can improve it."

Council member Gary Petty said the road to Mexican Mountain is one of the roads involved in the lawsuit and the county would like to see that road re-opened.

Mark H. Williams, council member spoke in support of the project for the area.

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