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Havasu Falls

 
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msorense



Joined: 19 Nov 2010
Posts: 21
Location: Ashland, OR

PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2014 4:39 pm    Post subject: Havasu Falls Reply with quote

I'd like to visit Havasu Falls. Has anyone ever landed close by somehow. On google maps it appears like you could possibly land in the area of Cataract Canyon/Cataract Creek area but I have no idea of the conditions it appears very high risk. There is also a road up on a bluff about 1 mile south of the settlement of Supai. Either way I suppose you could get in trouble I don't know.

Any thoughts?
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vern



Joined: 31 Dec 2008
Posts: 64
Location: Lakewood, Colorado

PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2014 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It a beautiful place, but...landing on mesa tops +/- 5600 MSL still leaves 2400 feet vertical to get to village of Supai to pickup your camping permit from the Havasupai Indian Nation. Normal ground access to Supai is an 8 mile hike or horseback ride from the Hualapai Hilltop parking lot, which is 60 some miles from Peach Springs on US route 66. For normal avaitors, there is a paved airstrip east of Peach Springs and a motel which should have ground transportation options (Grand Cavern Caverns).

However, looking on google earth, there appears to be a section of the old dirt road about 5 miles short of the Hilltop which has been abandoned with the more recent paved road access, which has at least 2500 feet of straight-ish alignment. This also appears to be outside the indian reservation boundary, so it would be BLM land?. Could this be a legitimate landing zone? Maybe some Arizonites could comment?

Still, a five mile walk, to an 8 mile hike, with another 2 miles to the falls could be a little daunting, but fun?
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aero101
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Location: Fairbanks, Alaska

PostPosted: Wed Oct 22, 2014 4:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looking at Google, there appears to be suitable places for landing nearby the falls, but I also see that this area is a national park... Not sure of their attitude and rules down there, but here I am required to have a USE PERMIT to land almost anywhere within park boundaries, so guess what I'm getting at, a phone call to local Park Service down there may be in order first, as they can get excited when you land in their prohibited areas. They may not let you fly out, and make you disassemble aircraft and sling or trailer out. I'm sure none of us needs that. Some areas anyone can land, others only commercial operators required to be permitted, so it varies considerably depending upon their rules... Not only could they give you a heads up, but they do good bit of flying as well, and they could probably point out some suitable areas with descriptions of length, width, condition, etc... Sure would be nice to fly right in with short hike to falls though!!!
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Andy Young
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 3:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aero101 wrote:
Looking at Google, there appears to be suitable places for landing nearby the falls, but I also see that this area is a national park... Not sure of their attitude and rules down there, but here I am required to have a USE PERMIT to land almost anywhere within park boundaries, so guess what I'm getting at, a phone call to local Park Service down there may be in order first, as they can get excited when you land in their prohibited areas. They may not let you fly out, and make you disassemble aircraft and sling or trailer out. I'm sure none of us needs that. Some areas anyone can land, others only commercial operators required to be permitted, so it varies considerably depending upon their rules... Not only could they give you a heads up, but they do good bit of flying as well, and they could probably point out some suitable areas with descriptions of length, width, condition, etc... Sure would be nice to fly right in with short hike to falls though!!!


Alaska is a special case, in terms of being able to land in national parks (a result of the ANILCA negotiations). To my knowledge, off-airport landings are not permitted anywhere in national parks in the lower 48.
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aero101
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy- Yes, that's kind of what I figured, unless NPS had a public use airport in the park, which I don't imagine is too common. You could always land, tell 'em it was an emergency, but then they're liable to confiscate acft... Had a friend landed on floats at Wonder Lake in Denali Park to eat their lunch... Ranger showed up in boat within 5 minutes, let him fly out, but made a point to let him know they would usually confiscate aircraft, disassemble and haul out. Wouldn't be a pleasant experience!!! And I thought it was bad up here!!! Laughing
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Andy Young
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 7:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

aero101 wrote:
Andy- Yes, that's kind of what I figured, unless NPS had a public use airport in the park, which I don't imagine is too common. You could always land, tell 'em it was an emergency, but then they're liable to confiscate acft... Had a friend landed on floats at Wonder Lake in Denali Park to eat their lunch... Ranger showed up in boat within 5 minutes, let him fly out, but made a point to let him know they would usually confiscate aircraft, disassemble and haul out. Wouldn't be a pleasant experience!!! And I thought it was bad up here!!! Laughing


Actually, that ranger was wrong. In the case of Denali Park, private operators are allowed to land wherever they like, including Wonder Lake. The Park Service would prefer that people not know that, and often individual rangers are unaware, but I've landed all over the park (when flying privately, not for work) with full knowledge of the park service, with no issues. I also have friends who land on Wonder Lake from time-to-time, with no problems.
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aero101
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 8:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, that's good info Andy.... I'll certainly keep that in mind as there are a few places in there I wouldn't mind visiting sometime and hiking around some!!
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formerpacerdriver



Joined: 19 May 2011
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Location: Fairbanks, Ak.

PostPosted: Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:21 pm    Post subject: Landing in the Park Reply with quote

Interesting the different answers you get, depending on who you talk to.

I planned to sheep hunt last fall in the south west end of Denali National Park/Preserve, so made a lot of phone calls to National Park Service offices around the state. I even read the Federal Regulations provided by the Denali Park/Preserve website and folks in the Anchorage NPS office. After reading regs, I was sure I didn't know what was allowed, so had to make more phone calls.

In a nutshell, I learned (right or wrong) that it was legal to land and camp anywhere in the Preserve portion, and land on any LAKE in both the Park and the Preserve. It took about 7 phone calls, 3 un-returned voicemails, and finally speaking to three experts to gain that consensus.

The sense I got was some Feds were interested in sharing the Park/Preserve, and some were interested in keeping folks out.
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montana maule
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have been doing some research on landing off airport here in Montana. The following is from the Code of Federal Regulations-
National Park Service 36 CFR 2.17
(a) The following are prohibited:
(1) Operating or using aircraft on lands or waters other than at locations designated pursuant to special regulations.
In the lower 48 there are very few airstrips designated and as far as I know no areas where off airport landings are allowed.
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Andy Young
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2014 4:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As I understand it (and this may very well turn out to be incorrect), the reason it's different in Alaska has everything to do with historical use, and the negotiations around the massive, all-at-once increase in federal protected land in Alaska.

ANILCA (Alaska National Interests Land Conservation Act) was one of the last acts of the Carter administration. In one fell swoop, it tripled the size of Denali National Park (to over 6 million acres) created the largest national park in the country (Wrangell-St. Elias, at 12 million acres) and created a host of other parks, preserves, wilderness areas, etc. Overall, it provided new, protected status to 157,000,000 acres.

Obviously, this was a significant change to a huge percentage of the land Alaskans were accustomed to using as they pleased. There was significant pushback both before and after passage of the law in 1980. It was highly controversial, and reactions even extended to death threats against park rangers in some cases. As I understand it, as part of the negotiations leading to the eventual passage of the Act, many types of traditional use provisions were incorporated to help make it more palatable. One of these was aviation. Aircraft use is allowed in many places where it would not even be a consideration in the lower 48 (such as national parks). Wrangell-St.Elias National Park even has a number backcountry airstrips with free, public-use cabins available for use by anybody who stops by. Air Services are even allowed to fly people into these strips in for-profit operations. This isn't true in Denali; there, commercial operators are limited to just a few designated strips, where there are no public-use cabins.

At least in the case of Denali (and maybe other federal land in Alaska; I'm not sure), you won't find any Park Service document that specifically permits private aircraft landings off-field. The "permission" is simply the LACK of specific language PROHIBITING such operation, whereas parks (and Forest Service, etc.) in the lower 48 do have specific prohibiting language.

A fairly high percentage of Park Rangers (and other park employees) are from the lower 48, have often worked in other parks, and likely just assume that the same rules apply in Alaska. This is one reason why you might get inaccurate information when talking to them.

Sorry for the threadjack.
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aero101
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PostPosted: Sat Oct 25, 2014 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Andy- thx, learned something here!!! Also talked to a friend who is currently flying for NPS and he said same thing... As a part 91 pilot, I can go into or out of their parks / preserves as I see fit up here in Alaska. Operating as 135 Air Taxi, I must have permits for the parks and preserves.. Of course the fight between State and Feds continues over river below high water all being State Navigable Waters with no restrictions on float planes or wheeled on gravel bars. He also said that they do their best to keep this info from general public, as though they owned this land themselves. He also advised to watch out for out of state rangers, up here temporary, that honestly think we don't have these access rights, and that in lwr 48, it's another ballgame completely... Lwr 48, unless there's established public airport on NPS land, forget going in as they WILL take your airplane!! He also suggested that I could get a permit and Air Taxi into Wonder Lake if I so desired, and they would have no valid reason to refuse that permit? All these years flying up here and didn't realize difference existed in parks for 135 and 91 ops, interesting and now got me looking at some spots I've always wanted to explore some!!! Laughing
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