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Abandoned & Little-Known Airfields:
California: Eastern San Diego County
© 2002, © 2007 by Paul Freeman. Revised 3/27/07.
 
The source for this page:  http://www.airfields-freeman.com/CA/Airfields_CA_SanDiego_E.htm
 
Borrego Hotel NOLF (revised 2/18/06) - Clark's Dry Lake NOLF (revised 3/27/07)
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Clark's Dry Lake Naval Outlying Landing Field, Borrego Springs, CA
33.34 North / 116.29 West (Northeast of San Diego, CA)
“Clark’s Dry Lake Emergency Landing Field / Field #05169”, as depicted in a circa 1944 directory of NAS San Diego airfields (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).  Photo of the airfield while in use has not been located.
 
The date of establishment of the Clark's Dry Lake Airfield has not been determined.  It occupies the western portion of Clark's Dry Lake.  The earliest depiction of the field which has been located was on a June 1938 map of Leased Auxiliary Airfields for NAS San Diego (according to Brian Rehwinkel).
 
It was not yet depicted at all on the March 1944 San Diego Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).
 
However, a table of CA Airports listed Clarks Dry Lake as being an active airfield in 1944.
 
A circa 1944 directory of NAS San Diego airfields (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel) depicted the “Clark’s Dry Lake Emergency Landing Field / Field #05169” as having 2 compact sandy silt & clay runways, 9/27 & 13/31, each 5,000' long.  A bombing target was depicted northeast of the runway intersection.  The field was said to be assigned for administrative & maintenance purposes to NAAS Salton Sea.
 
During WW2, Clarks Dry Lake NOLF was used as one of at least 12 auxiliary airfields attached to San Diego NAS (North Island).
 
The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of the Clark's Dry Lake airfield was on the March 1945 San Diego Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).  It depicted "Clark's Dry Lake (Navy)" as an auxiliary airfield, located on the northwest corner of the lakebed.
 
A 1997 Army Corps of Engineers report stated that Clarks Dry Lake was "predominately used for bombing, gunnery, and rocketry targets & as an emergency landing strip."
 
"Clarks Dry Lake (Navy)" was depicted on the March 1951 San Diego USAF Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy), but the Aerodromes table described the field as "Closed".
 
The 1953 San Diego-San Francisco Flight Chart (courtesy of Scott O'Donnell) labeled the airfield as "Clark's Dry Lake (Navy)", and depicted the runway length as 7,500'.  In contrast to the 1945 chart, the 1953 chart depicted the airfield as being located on the southeast corner of the lakebed.
 
Clarks Dry Lake NOLF was still active as of 1955, as it was listed among active airfields in the "Aerodromes" table on the 1955 San Diego Sectional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of John Voss).  It described the field as consisting of a 7,500 foot "All way" dry lake bed landing area, and included the remark, "Navy. Use caution during rainy weather."
 
The Navy evidently ended their use of the airfield at Clark's Dry Lake at some point between 1955-62, as it was not depicted at all on the 1962 San Diego Local Aeronautical Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).
 
However, the Clark Lake airfield was reopened at some point between 1962-66, to support the Clark Lake Radio Observatory which was built northeast of the airfield, along the northern portion of the lakebed.
 
The Aerodromes table on the 1966 San Diego Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) described the "Clark Lake Radio Observatory" airfield as a private airfield having two runways, with the longest being a 3,100' dirt strip.
 
Clark Lake was still depicted as an active airfield on the September 1971 USAF Tactical Pilotage Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).
 

The 1974 USGS topo map depicted the airfield as consisting of a 3,600' east/west runway & a 2,800' north/south runway.  The lakebed airfield was still depicted on the 1979 & 1982 USGS topo maps.
 

The 1989 LA Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy) depicted “Clark Lake” as a private airfield having a 2,500' unpaved runway.
 
 

In the 1994 USGS aerial photo, the former airfield is in the southwest portion of the lakebed.  The long narrow shape extending across the north end of the lakebed is not a runway, but the radio telescope array of the former Clark Lake Radio Observatory.  Only the slightest traces of the former runway on the south side of the lakebed were still perceptible.
 
Tim Tyler visited the Clark’s Dry Lake NOLF site in November 2004.  He reported: "The area is now used as a camp site for RVs & off-road recreational vehicles.  We couldn’t drive back to exactly where the old NOLF was or the dirt field that later apparently supported the Clark Lake Radio Observatory, but could pretty much see everything from where we were, and there wasn’t anything to see!  Other than the close to 50 campers spread around & plenty of ATVs, the only thing we saw back there was an old rock crusher building at the base Coyote Mountain, at the W edge of the dry lakebed.  That probably explains the San Diego County DPW "Burnand Pit #611 – Unauthorized Removal of Material Prohibited" sign, which along with "Not a Through Street," are the only signs posted at the entrance off of County Road S22 / Borrego Salton Seaway Road.  The V-shaped notch of the mountains certainly would have made for a good aerial gunnery & bombardment range, as well as a radio astronomy location (though obviously not concurrently)."

A 2006 aerial view by Joe Merkert looking north at the Clark's Dry Lake airfield site.


An October 2006 aerial view by Chip Sirek looking southwest at the Clark's Dry Lake airfield site.  Chip observed, “No RV's or campers, but we did fly somewhat lower and saw what we thought were tire marks on the runway.”
 
The Clark's Dry Lake airfield site is located north of the intersections of Borrego Salton Sea Way & Rockhouse Trail, eight miles northeast of Borrego Springs.
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Borrego Hotel Naval Outlying Landing Field, Ocotillo Wells, CA
33.09 North / 116.1 West (East-Northeast of San Diego, CA)
 
“Borego Hotel Emergency Landing Field / Field #06771”, as depicted in a circa 1944 directory of NAS San Diego airfields (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel).  Photo of the airfield while in use has not been located.
 
The date of establishment of the Borego Hotel airfield has not been determined.  The earliest depiction of the field which has been located was on a June 1938 map of Leased Auxiliary Airfields for NAS San Diego (according to Brian Rehwinkel).

The Navy purchased 160 acres of land at the Borego Hotel Field from a private party in June 1941 for $2,830 (according to Navy documents at the National Archives, according to Brian Rehwinkel).  The field was to be used as an emergency landing field & dive bombing target for the use of units based at San Diego NAS.  The airfield facilities consisted of a 2,600' north/south runway of unspecified construction, and a 2,500' east/west dirt runway.  A bombing target with three concentric circles, 400' in overall diameter, was situated to the southeast of the airfield.
 
No airfield at this location was depicted on the March 1944 San Diego Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy).
However, a circa 1944 directory of NAS San Diego airfields (courtesy of Brian Rehwinkel) depicted the “Borego Hotel Emergency Landing Field / Field #06771” as having 2 sandy silt runways, 9/27 & 13/31, each 2,500' long.  A bombing target was depicted southeast of the runway intersection.  The field was said to be assigned for administrative & maintenance purposes to NAAS Salton Sea.
 

The earliest aeronautical chart depiction which has been located of the Borrego Hotel NOLF was on the March 1945 San Diego Sectional Chart (courtesy of Chris Kennedy).  "Borrego (Navy)" was depicted on the March 1951 San Diego USAF Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy), but the Aerodromes table described the field as "Closed".


The 1953 San Diego-San Francisco Flight Chart (courtesy of Scott O'Donnell) depicted the Borrego Hotel NOLF as having a 2,500' unpaved runway.
 
Borrego Hotel NOLF was still listed among active airfields on the "Aerodromes" table on the 1955 San Diego Sectional Aeronautical Chart (courtesy of John Voss).  It described Borrego Hotel NOLF as having a 2,500 foot "All way" dry lake landing area.
However, that same year, the installation was declared excess by the Navy, and the property was transferred to the General Services Administration for disposal.  The property was sold to a private party in 1956.
 
By the time of the October 1958 San Diego Sectional Chart (according to Chris Kennedy), the Borrego Hotel airfield was no longer depicted at all.
 

No runway outlines or any other former airfield infrastructure were perceptible in the 1994 USGS aerial photo of the site.  The former airfield on the dry lakebed was not depicted on recent USGS topo maps.   
The former airfield property was still under private ownership as of 1997.  The airfield site is located on the dry lakebed of Halfhill Lake, southeast of the intersections of Split Mountain Road & Old Kane Spring Road, five miles southeast of Ocotillo Wells.
 
A 1997 Army Corps of Engineers report provides further details of Borrego Hotel NOLF.
 
The source for this page:  http://www.airfields-freeman.com/CA/Airfields_CA_SanDiego_E.htm