RAF Opens New Airstrip in Arkansas
The Recreational Aviation Foundation (RAF) announces the opening of Trigger Gap, a new recreational airstrip, this time in the beautiful Ozark Mountains of northwest Arkansas. It lies on lands owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) above the Kings River. The RAF developed this new turf airstrip through grants, donations and volunteer efforts. Its future is ensured by a long-term lease with TNC and local RAF volunteers have committed to its ongoing maintenance.
“Our success is the result of having developed a great partnership with this international conservation organization,” said RAF Arkansas Liaison Dave Powell. “This new destination will help us broaden the community of recreational flyers. It has good approaches and is three thousand feet long,” he added.
“Trigger Gap is ready for the public to enjoy now,” said RAF Director Tim Clifford. Runways are 10/28 and lined with cones on 200-ft spacing. Windsocks are located on the SW and NE corners. There are two fire rings and wood on site. A vault toilet is planned for next spring, and currently you need to provide your own water. Campers will enjoy a great view over the Kings River, famous for small mouth bass fishing. As a special treat, nearby Kings River Outfitters offers pickup and return service to the airstrip.
Clifford visualized the opportunities surrounding this location on Pension Mountain, and said the RAF is looking at similar projects throughout the Ozarks. “This recreational destination is close to the large metropolitan area around Bentonville,” Powell said, “and it offers a beautiful recreational flying destination for both experienced pilots and those new to this kind of flying.”
Why “Trigger Gap”? The nearby bend in the river resembles a trigger, according to locals.
Why “Pension Mountain”? According to local historian M.D. Anglin, the name comes from the fact Civil War veterans settled there. “Yankees drew a Federal pension, a pretty good wad for those times,” Anglin wrote. Some of their descendants still live there.
Trigger Gap is just 3.2 nm south of Carroll County Airport (4M1) where there are courtesy cars and services. Within an hour’s drive is Ridgefield, MO, and Big Cedar Lodge Resort, built by John Morris, founder and CEO of the famous Bass Pro Shops. It features World-class Top of the Rock Golf Course, wine and dining options, horseback riding, and folks can even rent a golf cart to enjoy miles of paths through Dogwood Canyon Nature Park and Lost Canyon Caves. “The Native American Heritage Museum is there, which rivals the famous Buffalo Bill Center in Cody, Wyoming,” Clifford said.
The Recreational Aviation Foundation is a public 501(c)3 nonprofit organization formed in 2003 to preserve, maintain and create airstrips for recreational access. Its headquarters are 1711 W. College St., Bozeman, MT 59715, www.TheRAF.org