IAF Plans to Rebuild Big Creek Lodge
On February 1, 2013 the Idaho Aviation Foundation announced it's plan to rebuild Idaho's historic Big Creek Lodge www.rebuildbigcreek.com. For over 74 years the lodge provided meals and lodging to miners, geologists, loggers, sportsmen, horsemen, hikers, ATV/Snowmobilers, and pilots. Big Creek is special from an historic standpoint, but the mountain views, wildlife, and a rustic lodge on a beautiful state maintained airstrip made the Big Creek experience memorable. Sadly, it came to an end one late October morning in 2008, when a fire burned the lodge and adjacent cabin to the ground. Now, the Idaho Aviation Foundation is well on the road to rebuilding the lodge in 2014/2015 for public use. This project will be the IAF's premier enhancement to Idaho's backcountry aviation facilities in the coming few years, but we need help. If the Lodge has a special place in your heart - or if you would like to enjoy another place for meals and lodging in the backcountry - then we hope you will choose to get involved via donation and/or volunteerism. There are so many details and activities; you may wish to visit our dedicated website for this project: www.rebuildbigcreek.com.
Idaho Aviation License Plates
Aviation enthusiasts now have a new way to display their love for flying in Idaho. By purchasing a "Fly Idaho" license plate, they will also be supporting organizations that work to preserve and enhance the airstrips that help make Idaho a special place for pilots. This fantastic product is due to the persistance of the Idaho Aviation Foundation's own Larry Taylor who shepherded it through the state legislative process for over a year. In addition to the regular registration fee, the specialized plates will cost an extra $35 initially, and $25 at renewal. If your plates are not immediately due for renewal any remaining registration time will be credited to the new plate. Customized numbers and letters, such as an aircraft's N number will cost another $25 initially, and $15 at renewal. Only five characters are available on the plates, so you may not be able to have the "N" on it. Sample plates, suitable for hanging on your wall (but not on your vehicle) are available for $30. Roughly one-half of the license plate sales proceeds will go to the Idaho Aviation Foundation and the Idaho Airstrip Network, sponsors of the program. The rest will stay with the Idaho Transportation Department for administration purposes. The plates are available at the usual county vehicle registration offices and online at http://itd.idaho.gov.
Idaho Airstrip Network
The IAN consists of owners and users of Idaho's backcountry airstrips. The primary purpose is to establish standards and coordinate projects for all public use backcountry airstrips in Idaho. Both the IAF and the Idaho Aviation Association hold key positions on the IAN steering committee. The IAF has become one of the major supporters of the IAN and has been designated as the entity that receives and distributes grants and donations for IAN projects. For more information see the Idaho Airstrips page on the Idaho Aviation Association website.
Backcountry WebCams/Weather Stations
The IAF has undertaken the development of tower mounted webcams and weather reporting stations intended for pilots to view actual backcountry weather conditions at selected locations in southwestern and central Idaho. Many locations are now in operation and can be viewed by accessing the Webcams page of this website. The IAF is reviewing the feasibility of continuing such operations in the future and to the extent that such services are desired and utilized by the pilot community, they may be continued. In August of 2012 two webcams were installed at Mackay Bar on the Salmon River. One camera faces north and the other faces west. In 2011 one webcam was moved to Sulphur Creek and gives pilots a good view east from the lodge.
Wilderness Within Reach
Although many have the ability to fly into the Idaho backcountry to enjoy the wilderness, it has been recognized that there is a segment of the population who cannot physically or economically access these remote areas. There are those who are physically unable to hike, ride a horse, or float a river, due to age, conditioning or disability. Over 20 years ago several Idaho pilots and air taxi operators, in cooperation with Boise Parks and Recreation Department, decided to start Wilderness Within Reach, a program that provides air transportation to the Idaho backcountry at selected airstrips for such individuals. Today this program is sponsored by the IAF, air taxi operators and volunteers along with the Boise Parks and Recreation Department to conduct the annual event. "Thank you so much. We had such an awesome weekend. Daniel kept telling me that he was having so much fun. Before this weekend Daniel wouldn't go camping with me because he thought he didn't like it, I think he has changed his mind now! The horse riding and plane rides were just amazing, and I just loved the campfire songs. You all are such a wonderful group of people. Thank you so much for giving both Daniel and me a weekend we will never forget." - Brian "My favorite thing was the fishing and sitting around the campfire and having the best time ever. It was really fun getting the horse shoe. I had a really good time." - Daniel "To the wonderful pilots and staff, thank you for providing the opportunity for a city boy like myself to experience the remote wilderness and all its beauty. It was definitely an experience of a lifetime! I had such a fun weekend getting to know all of you; your generosity and kindness helped make this a weekend I will never forget." - Jonny "Thanks for everything like making breakfast and lunch!" - Derek
Firepans at Moose Creek Airstrip
In 2012 the IAF funded and contracted with the Forest Service to install new fire pans at the Moose Creek Airstrip (1U1) camping area.
Reed Ranch Airstrip
The U.S. Forest Service (FS) acquired the Reed Ranch as part of a land exchange in 2006. Prior to FS acquisition the airstrip was privately owned; however, the owner allowed the public to use the airstrip with permission. When the Forest Service acquired the airstrip, an initiative was launched by the state Division of Aeronautics in the Idaho Transportation Department to acquire a Special Use Permit. The Forest Service granted the permit in 2010 and the airstrip was officially opened to the public again in the summer of 2010. A short video of the opening ceremonies is available. The reopening of Reed Ranch airstrip is yet another example of cooperative efforts yielding positive results when public agencies and private interests unite for a common purpose. The IAF will continue efforts to assist the state Division of Aeronautics with improvements at the site to enhance the user experience.
Garden Valley Airstrip Shower Facilities
The Garden Valley airstrip is a popular mountain area turf airstrip on the eastern end of Garden Valley located adjacent to the South Fork of the Payette River. The Garden Valley airstrip is located approximately 30 miles north of Boise in a very scenic valley. The airstrip is more easily accessible to backcountry pilots than Johnson Creek and Smiley Creek and has camping, picnic and toilet facilities available on the airstrip but no showers. The Idaho Aviation Association, Treasure Valley Chapter, annually hosts a Father's Day Fly-In Breakfast which is always well attended. To remedy the shower situation the IAF worked with the state Division of Aeronautics, the Idaho Aviation Association and many volunteers in order to construct facilities at the Garden Valley Airstrip. The shower and restroom facilities were completed for use in July of 2011, and rival other Idaho airports which attract pilots from all over Idaho as well as the rest of the United States and Canada.