By motor vehicle, Wallowa County is about six hours from Portland, Ore., and four-and-a-half hours from Boise, Idaho, the two closest major cities. It is reached by Oregon Highway 82 from La Grande, Ore., or by Highway 3 and Washington Highway 129 from Clarkston, Wash. and Lewiston, Idaho.

Portland (325 miles), Boise, Idaho (224 miles) and Spokane, Wash. (195 miles) are major nearby metropolitan areas served by a number of domestic and international carriers. The Eastern Oregon Regional Airport at Pendleton is a commercial airport about 115 miles away from Enterprise, the Wallowa County seat. Daily commercial flights to and from Portland and Seattle, Wash. are available.

Pendleton, Walla Walla, Wash. (125 miles), Lewiston, Wash. (85 miles), and Moscow, Idaho (119 miles) are served by Horizon Air, a division of Alaska Airlines. There are occasional discount fares offered by Alaska Airlines on its Web site for these destinations.Pendelton also has direct flights to Portland three times a day via SeaPort Air (www.seaportair.com).

Two non-commercial airports serve Wallowa County directly:

Joseph State Airport has provided the county's main runway since it was dedicated back in 1946, during the first Chief Joseph Days celebration. Now called the Joseph State Airport, it's about one mile west and a bit north of sparkling Wallowa Lake. The asphalt runway is just shy of one mile long - 5,200 feet - and stretches to 60 feet wide. A 25-foot-wide taxiway parallels the runway.

Pilots generally enter on the "Runway 15 end" of the strip. The markings are basic, but there's a two-light approach path indicator (4-degree glide path) and runway end identifier lights. Be aware that there are 36-foot trees 800 feet from the runway, 50 feet right of the centerline; a 16:1 slope is needed to clear them.

The Runway 33 end of the field has basic markings, but no VSI lights or end-of-runway lights. A 32-foot high power line is 1,100 feet from this runway, and a 28:1 slope is needed to clear it. Both approaches have unlighted touchdown points.

The length of the runway allows small corporate jets and turboprop craft to use the airport - where pilots will also find Jet-A fuel - although piston-type aircraft generates most of the traffic at the facility. Standard 100LL gasoline is available on a 24-hour self-serve card lock system.

The airport is open year-round, but is unattended. There is a pilot/passenger waiting room and a restroom in the airport.

Approximately 3,150 flights used the airport in 1999, the last year for which state Department of Aviation data is available. The DOA also advises pilots to use extreme caution during south takeoffs due to possible hazardous downdrafts south of the airport when southerly winds are blowing. Fliers should also note that deer might be present on or near the runway at any time of the year.

Enterprise Municipal Airport, with its 2,850-foot runway, sits atop the hill just east of the city of Enterprise. The asphalt strip, oriented at 120/300 degrees, is in good shape and can accommodate piston-type planes of 7,000 pounds per single wheel. Both ends sport non-standard light markings, and the Federal Aviation Administration notes that some of the numbers marked are small. The runway has a set of low-intensity edge lights. There is no line-of-sight from the runway ends, and pilots must announce all intentions during both arrival and departure on the CTAF/UNICOM channel of 122.8 MHz. Fliers also should be aware of the soft edges and steep shoulders on both the runway and taxiway, and that there's an unlighted helicopter pad 150 feet to the southeast.

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