Range Creek | Utah Back Country Pilots Association
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Range Creek

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Airstrip Info

Frequency 122.90
Elevation 5018 ft
Lat/Long 39.3573, -110.1286
39° 21.438' , -110° 7.716'
Runway 16/34 1584 ft x 30 ft
Dirt / Grass
Rwy 34 Uphill 3.72%
Ownership SITLA


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Heads up: This airstrip is permanently closed and should not be used.

Information updated May 15, 2024 @ 4:25pm

Airstrip is permanently closed. Please review the History section for more info!

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More senior UBCP members may remember the landing strip at Range Creek. For those who may be
newer to the Back Country, allow me to give you a little background into this unique place. Ill try to be
brief, but stay with me to the end and I will explain why it is on my mind now.

Range Creek is a private ranch not far from the Tavaputs Plateau along a tributary of the Green River.
Ten or fifteen years ago a deal was negotiated between the ranch owners and the State of Utah which
saw all of the property come under the ownership of the State of Utah. The original purpose of this
purchase was to provide hunters and sportsmen access to lands in the Book Cliffs above the ranch.

As the sale progressed, the BLM called UBCP and asked us if we would like to fly in and assess the
landing strip for possible recreational use by pilots. After all, the lands were to be open for Utahn’s to
enjoy. On a beautiful spring day, myself and two companion airplanes rolled our wheels on the idyllic
hay field landing strip and spent the day exploring this incredible place. Needless to say, we were
overcome with excitement about the possibility of opening the landing strip to everyone.

In a matter of days, everything changed.

The owner, for reasons known only to himself, failed to disclose during negotiations that there were
literally hundreds of Fremont Culture artifacts, dwellings, granaries and the like scattered in the ledges
above the ranch. Turns out for many generations, the ranch owners had forbidden family members
from so much as touching any native American artifacts and this had been religiously adhered to to this
day. When academia toured the ranch, they immediately closed it not only to airplanes but most
everyone else, and it remained that way except for a few knowledgeable local people who were allowed
a concession to give tours of the area. (We have since been on one of these and I strongly recommend

UBCP showed the landing strip permanently closed and it has remained so to this day.
A long time has passed and some restrictions at Range Creek have eased. They now allow a few people
each day to visit the ranch under very supervised conditions. This includes no overnight camping. Within
the last week, we thought it might be worth another attempt to allow a limited number of pilots to
access the ranch and so we approached the State with a proposal. Unfortunately, we were told the time
is not yet right but maybe someday. I fully support that decision.

The reason I write this now is we were told by state authorities that despite large white Xs on the
runway, some pilots have landed and at least one camped overnight. I know that writing to UBCP, I am
preaching to the choir – we all know how foolish and short-sighted actions like this are.

The State Lands folks have been more than generous to UBCP. They have given us two landing strips at
Fremont Island and one of the most remote landing strips in the world at Happy Canyon. I know none of
you would think of landing at a closed landing strip. Please, no low passes down the ranch low lands. As
we prove we are responsible pilots, we will eventually prevail.

Steve Durtschi, UBCP Founder and current Chief Pilot. 15 MAY 2024