The acquisition of the approximately 65 acres south of the Friedman Memorial Airport and the proposed cutting of up to 200 trees on that land currently owned by the Eccles family is not the issue.

There are several unanswered questions potentially indicating that this is an underhanded and fairly obvious move to set the stage for future runway extension.

Some of these questions include:

•    Have the existing trees been specifically designated by the FAA as an obstruction? Or is this decision being based on the voices of the air carriers and the Sun Valley Alliance who stand to gain financially from this move?

•    Is the FAA requiring that airport owners “control the zone via fee-simple acquisition or perpetual easement”?

•    Why has this area just now been cited as a protection zone?

•   How has the airport been operating to date?

•    What are the real issues here?

•    Why not renew the license agreement to maintain “obstruction lights in the trees”?

•    Why not enter into a “perpetual easement” with the Eccles family?

•    Why hasn’t the area to the north of the runway been equally cited as a “runway protection zone”?

•    Where do the elementary school, several businesses, Highway 75, the police station and all of the existing trees fall within this “protection zone for flight approaches and departures”?

The proposal to remove these trees along the canal, as well as those surrounding the farmhouse, is part of the continued thoughtless and ruthless destruction of the character of the Wood River Valley by those who want bigger and more jets to have access to our valley.

Further, the fact that the same consideration is not being given to the area at the north end of the runway brings up serious flaws in the justifications for moving forward with both the cutting of the trees and the acquisition of additional land in the name of “safety.”

Heather Clendenin


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