Friday, January 30, 2009

Call to Action - Opening Indiana's Waters to Pilots

To seaplane supporters everywhere:

The Indiana Seaplane Pilots Association (ISPA) is seeking help in with a state-wide seaplane issue that is heating up.

Last week the INDNR announced two upcoming hearings (Feb. 3 and 4), about a proposed change in status for five lakes—currently classified as private-use landing areas—to public-use.

Indiana, as you may know, is backwards when it comes to seaplanes. Unlike WI, IL, MI, MN, etc., where the rule is (more like) "open unless prohibited", the law in Indiana is "closed unless an approved seaplane landing area (base) exists." There are only four public-use seaplane bases out of over 750 lakes in the state.

Since 1998, Randy Strebig, a Maule-driver and SPA field director from Ft. Wayne, has singlehandedly fought for more access. Through his efforts and those of his organization, ISPA, over time, INDNR and INDOT have granted a pilot program of private-use landing areas on 17 lakes. You have to get Randy's permission to land, but at least they're somewhat open. (Admittedly, requiring permission from a private individual to land on public waters is a screwy situation.)

Now the INDNR has proposed changing the status of five lakes from private-use to public-use. This is a (small) step in the right direction. There is some concern that they might simultaneously try to restrict or close access, but we're hoping for a big show of support to avoid this.

There is a briefing paper on the ISPA website at:

www.seaplanepilots.org/inspa

How to help:

All seaplane supporters, worldwide:

-Write a letter of support to INDNR, with a copy to INDOT and our organization (see sample letter on the website)
-Sign our online petition at: www.petitiononline.com/inseapln
-Send this message to other supporters

Supporters near NE Indiana (including NW Ohio):

Attend and speak at one or both meetings scheduled by INDNR for Feb. 3 and Feb 4.
Write a letter to the editor of your local paper

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