Airport to install perimeter fence |

Airport to install perimeter fence

A deer crosses the grounds of Minden-Tahoe Airport.
Douglas County photo |

For most residents of Carson Valley, the deer are at best an attraction and at worst a traffic hazard.

For Minden-Tahoe Airport, they are definitely a hazard to navigation, and manager Bobbi Thompson said it’s time they were fenced off the runway.

“Currently we only have three strands of barbed wire,” she said. “We have deer standing in the runway. The three stands of barbed wire are barely a jump for the deer.”

She said the airport has had a bear and mountain lions, as well as coyotes.

“The Sheriff’s Office gave us these things called bangers to run off the deer, but we need more for safety and security,” she said.

In many places around the perimeter of the airport, the fence stands only a few feet out from either side of the gate.

“The current cypher locks are about as secure as a pencil,” Thompson said. Some parts for the gates are no longer available and they have to be taken out of service.

Thompson said the airport received a $3.46 million federal grant for an 8-foot fence with strands of barbed wire across the top.

The airport will pay $230,833 in matching funds out of its reserves. Work is expected to be completed by this year.

Grants for this year include converting the airfield lighting system from the old system to LED for $550,000. Thompson said the LED lighting is less expensive to operate. Pilots turn it on from their aircraft as they come in for a landing, and then the lights go back off after they land.

She said the grant will improve safety for airport workers, as well.

“We call the lighting utility building ‘Sparky’ for a very good reason,” she said.

Improvements will also be done on the glider staging runway, she said.

“Some of the cracks are large enough to swallow glider wheels,” Thompson said.