Leadership Recognized at North America’s Highest Airport
Leadville Airport Recognized at Northwest Conference
“Ladies and gentlemen, prepare for take-off!” because the Leadville/Lake County Airport was recognized last night at the Northwest Mountain Region Conference for its “Support and Dedication of Resources to the Development and Operation of the Lake County Airport.”
Lake County Public Works Director Brad Palmer was on hand to accept the award on behalf of the airport staff and Lake County.
Palmer, whose department oversees airport operations, attributes one of the keys to success at the airport is the team being “great at leveraging a dollar.” So whether it’s buying necessary operational and snow- removing equipment, or negotiating the latest revenue-generating hanger lease, the Leadville/Lake County Airport is always working the deal.
The annual conference was held this year in Seattle, Wash. and provides the opportunity for industry professionals to share information regarding airport programs, safety initiatives, and current FAA policies. The Northwest Mountain Region includes Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
In addition to representing Leadville and Lake County, attendance at the conference fulfills continuing professional development requirements in most states. One PDH may be earned for each hour of attendance in formal program sessions.
Here is the formal outline of the award of recognition accepted last night on behalf of the local airport.
In Recognition of Your Support and Dedication of Resources to the Development and Operation of the Lake County Airport.
Lake County Airport in Leadville, Colorado is North America’s highest public use airport at an elevation of 9,927 feet. It is heavily utilized by both the military and aerospace companies that specialize in high altitude/mountain helicopter flight training.
In 2009, Lake County assumed the operation of the airport and has made an extraordinary effort to modernize the airport and to meet all applicable design standards.
Lake County is a small, rural county and is not always able to fund large capital projects. But the county is extremely committed and works hard to find innovative approaches to develop and operate the airport:
- The Lake County Public Works Department provided earth and tree removal around the airfield, eliminating long-standing obstructions that would have used the county’s Airport Improvement Program entitlements for years to come.
- Fill dirt and timber were used on other projects around the county or sold to developers to finance other airport projects.
- County road equipment was used to maintain access to the airport and keep the runway cleared of the 160 inches of annual snowfall.
- Old hangars were salvaged to help finance a new snow removal equipment building.
Lake County has repeatedly shown it is committed to partnering with both the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the State of Colorado, contributing considerably more than just local matching funds to airport projects, and using county equipment and personnel to accomplish projects whenever grant funds are limited.
Lake County takes extraordinary pride in its airport, has an active community outreach program, sponsors annual summer and fall fly-ins, and conducts training and disaster drills at the airport for local emergency responders.
Lake County is a superb example of a “can do” attitude and the FAA wishes to acknowledge and commend Lake County for its innovation, support, willingness to take on the seemingly impossible, and the flexibility to do whatever it takes to keep the Lake County Airport a safe and thriving facility.
Congratulations to the airport staff, board and public works department and other county officials for their continued dedication to this important facility!