Submitted by Lewis County Board of Commissioners
Pilots and their passengers from as far away as Renton and Tacoma flew into Packwood on July 30 for the sixth annual Packwood Mountain Fly-in. Twenty-two small aircraft, including a Cessna 150 and Lake Renegade Amphibian Seaplane, took the aerial tour of East Lewis County, touching down on the newly resurfaced 2,100-foot Packwood Airport runway. Here, the pilots shared general aviation stories and visited Packwood businesses for the day.
In December 1946, Howard and Irene Anderson deeded the Packwood airstrip property to the State of Washington. The state first used the airstrip as an emergency landing field. In 1982, ownership of Anderson Field was transferred to Lewis County. Lewis County Airport System Manager John Roe said the airport sees about 1,500 visitors annually. Roe added that the county’s other airport, Ed Carlson Memorial Field — South Lewis County Airport (TDO) in Toledo, has an estimated 3,000 aircraft visits each year.
“Packwood draws quite a bit of aviation traffic during the course of the flying season and is very beneficial to most of the businesses in town, during the flea markets (Memorial Day and Labor Day weekends),” said Roe. “You get an awful lot of people in here spending a lot of money locally and Lewis County and Packwood benefits.”
Attracting aviators and others to East Lewis County and to Packwood is the beauty of the mountains. Flying into Packwood, pilot Eric Rubel of Gig Harbor said the vertical difference between Mount Rainier at 14,409 feet and the Packwood Airport at 1,000 feet elevation provided a “very stunning experience, the natural beauty.” Rubel added, “With the sunshine, the forest was an intense green and the mountain an intense white, and all in all a great experience.”
Packwood Airport hosts the Mountain Fly-in annually on the last Saturday in July.
The county’s Packwood and Toledo Airports are undergoing a master plan update, which will include receiving citizen input.