As a backcountry owner and pilot in Custer County, I oppose the Michael Boren Private Airport in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area.

I am not opposed to ranchers operating airstrips on their private lands. However, Boren’s Hell Roaring Ranch is in the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and has a scenic easement. To operate an airport, it must have clearance from Custer County, but must also obtain federal clearance from the Forest Service, the {span} Federal Aviation Administration {/ span}, and the {span} nvironmental Protection Agency {/ span}. Its airstrip was built and operated before one of those permits was approved, which means it is non-compliant.

Over 400 people wrote letters opposing the approval of his county license, many of us from Custer County. Neighbors and nature users have complained that the noise from Boren’s flights is having a negative impact on this special place. Many bought their land nearby believing that scenic easements protected individual property rights.

If Michael Boren Airport is cleared, it sets a dangerous precedent for others who will benefit from it. Custer County must protect the Sawtooth National Recreation Area for future generations.

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