August 20, 2017

GRANT RECEIVED!  The Idaho Aviation Foundation (IAF) received terrific news recently when the M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust awarded IAF a $157,000 grant to complete construction of Big Creek Lodge and other related projects.  The grant will cover the $65,000 needed to complete the lodge, plus a new website for reservations and lodge operations, and much-needed repairs and upgrades to the 1930s era General Store and Tack Shed, Duplex Cabin and Yurt. The Lodge was built in the 1930s and was destroyed by fire in 2008—leaving one less backcountry place for the public to enjoy meals, lodging and other services.  Since 2013, IAF has been leading the work and fund raising to rebuild the lodge and in partnership with the USFS/Payette National Forest.  The lodge is nearing completion in 2017.  

2017.06 Lodge smallThe Murdock Trust is based in Vancouver, Washington and funds programs that enhance lives and the quality of life of people and communities via social, educational, and cultural initiatives in the Northwest.  For 80 years, Big Creek Lodge uniquely enhanced lives of outdoor enthusiasts in many of these ways, and the Murdock Trust saw the enormous potential of the lodge and the benefits for the general public and for pilots alike.  
“The generous grant from the Murdock Trust is a tremendous vote of confidence from one of the largest and most respected foundations in the Pacific Northwest.  We are honored to be a grant recipient, and now we can focus on completing the lodge,” said Jim Davies, IAF President.  “With that said, the IAF will still be raising money for startup and a general fund for repair/maintenance going forward,” he continued.

Despite some challenges this year from Mother Nature, the project to rebuild Big Creek Lodge has made good progress, and is planned to be largely completed by October.  To finish it, access via the Big Creek Road is required to get supplies, workers and materials into the site.  Road access has been difficult, thanks to the large snowpack from last season, followed by wildfires in July and early August that led to road closures in the area (fire fighters quickly attacked both fires successfully).  Weather and fire issues also forced two breakfast/fund raising events to be curtailed or postponed this season.  Fortunately, IAF had pre-positioned some heavy materials at the site in October 2016, and then flew workers to the site in May and June, getting a jump on things. 

Major accomplishments this season include completion of the lodge’s centerpiece—the beautiful rock fireplace.  In addition, we finished trouble shooting and completion of the2017.08.19 Chuck completed fireplace small hydro-electric system hook up (functioning for the first time since 2008); installation of most of the fire suppression system; rough-in of most electrical and plumbing, completion of interior framing including windows and doors; completion of hand-made sink vanities; and selection of kitchen equipment. 

Projects to be completed include installation of sheet rock, wall panels, bathroom fixtures, flooring, kitchen equipment and small heaters for rooms.  Workers will also tie into the current propane and water supply lines, finish the fire suppression system and plumbing/electrical, and do final trim including some paint.  There is grading and trench work needed, but those efforts will not affect the opening. 

Should construction continue as planned, the lodge will be open in 2018 for meals, rooms to rent, and a shower for campers.  There will be four rooms to rent in the lodge—each with its own bath/shower, and other lodging will be available at the nearby 8-person Yurt and a rustic cabin on site.  Recruiting for caretakers will begin in the Fall, and a new website will be launched in winter. 

Several initiatives are in the works to raise money for startup costs and a general repair/maintenance fund, including an Amazon Gift Registry that donors can select specific items for donation, a raffle for an ADS-B system (see below), and donor appreciation programs like the popular Log Lifter program for $1000 donors who get their name displayed on a large saw to be displayed in the lodge.  People interested in donating can do so online at or can receive information on the Gift Registry by contacting with inquiries.

2016.06.18 BC Breakfast Serving Line smallHOLD THE DATE:  IAF has announced another breakfast event at the site on Saturday, September 9 (8:30-10:00). 

CARETAKERS NEEDED:  In September 2017, IAF will be accepting applications for two caretaker positions for the 2018 season running from mid-May to mid-October.  These paid positions include room and board, and caretakers will share a room in the lodge.   The caretakers will be responsible for maintaining and cleaning the Lodge and outbuildings (including the nearby Yurt), cooking for guests, and helping guests enjoy their stay.  Interested or know someone who is?  Please send an email to to inquire and receive a job description in September.