2015.10.12 Completed for 2015The Big Creek Lodge structure now stands!  In October 2015, the building 'shell' was completed with the roof and it is ready to go through its' first winter.  What an accomplishment - many great donors and volunteers helped us get this far! 

2015.09.11 webcam view2015.08.06 Pouring Footings

 The plan for 2016 is to complete the interior - plumbing, electrical, fire suppression, commercial kitchen and room/bath furnishings plus complete the wonderful fireplace.  We need about $250K to finish and we anticipate completion Fall 2016 if fund raising success continues.

2015.09.14 Pre Walls 2015.09.17 Begin Porch Overhang2015.09.17 Corners2015.09.17 One Gable Up2015.10.04 Ceiling2015.10.04 Contractor Jerry Coppernoll2015.10.04 Upstairs rooms2015.10.04 View from Hill2015.10.12 Fireplace Base



Saturday July 18, 2015

Seven years after a devastating fire destroyed beautifuly Big Creek Lodge in a remote section of the Salmon River Mountains, the Idaho Aviation Foundation (IAF) and Payette National Forest (PNF) officially broke ground Saturday to signify a new beginning for the iconic lodge.  "The reconstruction of the lodge is a reality," said IAF President Jim Davies as he addressed the 45 attendees at the ground breaking.  "As we dig into the earth to symbolically start the reconstruction process, I want to thank the many volunteers, donors and partners who helped make this a reality."

Ground breaking event at Big Creek Lodge site. Other speakers at the event included PNF Krassel District Ranger Anthony Botello and Valley County Commissioner Gordon Cruickshank.  Visitors included horsemen, pilots, hunters and campers--all examples of the variety of recreational users attracted to the Big Creek area.  "As we speak, the logs for the lodge are being worked and pre-assembled at the builder's site in Grangeville, Idaho.  Once completed, they will be disassembled and transported here to Big Creek by builder Jerry Coppernoll and his crew," Davies continued.  The log 'shell' and roof will be completed this year, while the electrical, plumbing, interior walls, fireplace and fixtures will be completed next year.

Botello underscored the partnership that has existed and positive relationship between the IAF and PNF on this project.  "Having services at Big Creek has always been in our managementLog pre-assembly continues offsite plan, and although we may not be as thrilled as the IAF is at this milestone, we are VERY happy that this project is moving forward and it will once again be a wonderful asset in the forest."  

Some of the media has picked up the story.  Click on the link below for the stories:

Statesman article on Fri July 17

Boise State Radio story on Fri July 17

For more details, contact Colleen at or call 208-859-2471. 



In the  2 weeks after receiving the USFS approval and County Building Permit to rebuild Big Creek Lodge, IAF has raised received pledges or donations totalling $135,650!  Although we now have funds to 'shell' the lodge in 2015, fund raising work to complete the building in 2016.  "Donors have truly stepped up to support this unique and important project," said Colleen Back, Vice President of Idaho Aviation Foundation, which is managing the project in partnership with Payette National Forest. "Between the folks, the Katmai group, and various long-time supporters, people are coming together in the homestretch to complete the lodge--people see that jayminorhugit is real and tangible now," she continued.  Ground breaking is expected between July 13 and 18, and the new septic system is being installed starting July 8.  Meantime, logs are being pre-assembled offsite and will be trucked in late July or August.

More amazing things happened on June 27, when major supporter Colin Lind provided to a dollar for dollar match on major contributions ($500 and up), and Big
Creek welcomed pilot Jay Minor, who survived a major plane crash a year ago at Big Creek.  Almost immediately, $14,000 was received and other money is expected to come in shortly.  Minor is from Portland, and sustained major internal injuries and broken bones when his airplane crashed while on final approach at Big Creek in June 2014.  He could not walk for many months, and indured multiple surgeries.  While addressing about 60 people at the Big Creek site about lessons learned, Minor told the harrowing story of the crash. "I owe my life to the people from Idaho Aviation Foundation, the Forest Service and fellow pilots who found me in very difficult terrain and got me out of there to the helicopter.  With that, I'd like to donate $5,000 to the Big Creek Lodge project in the name of those who saved my life,"  Minor said with emotion. (see picture on left--IAF's Colleen Back hugging Jay Minor with Jim Davies looking on).


  • $135,650 received/pledged in the month of June and can be summarized by the following:
  • $16,650 was raised on the weekend of June 20.  At the Saturday breakfast event at the lodge site, 67 breakfasts were served and $6,400 in donations were collected.  Later that day, IAF gave a presentation to the popular fly in at Johnson Creek near Yellow Pine, Idaho.  Dave Kirsten, theCoreyRobinDaveKirstenSCGroup2015 host of the SuperCub fly in, challenged the group of 150 pilots to fund the $5,800 building permit that was just awarded to the IAF, and matched each dollar raised on site.  The group responded with a total $10,250 raised during the day. Thanks to!
  • $28,000 was raised the weekend of June 27. This was largely from the generosity of several pilots of Katmai aircraft and Peterson's Performance Plus, a manufacturer of high performance aircraft suited for backcountry flying. More info about this aircraft:
  • $36,000 was pledged by large individual donors just after the building permit was received!
  • $50,000 is coming from the IAF Board of Directors, who are individually pledging more money in addition to previous donations the Board has made in the last 3 years.


Above Right: Cory Robin and Dave Kirsten were major donors at the event.

Below: Donor and Katmai pilot Colin Lind challenges Katmai and other pilots to be a part of the backcountry community by donating as IAF President Jim Davies and VP Colleen Back listen.

Below Right: Some of the 60+ breakfast attendees listen to Jay Minor's intense story about the plane crash he survived at Big Creek in June 2014.












The Idaho Aviation Foundation has received a building permit from Valley County to start construction on Big Creek Lodge. This was received last week after final USFS, state and other regulatory agencies approved engineering and other data.   IAF has been working for 3 years to get logistics planned, approvals handled and funds raised to rebuild historic Big Creek Lodge. 

buildingpermitThe logs are already being pre-assembled at the builder's site in Cottonwood, ID and will be transported to Big Creek in August. Meanwhile, on the lodge site, the septic drain field will go in early July and the lodge ground breaking will closely follow that. The plan is to finish the basement and shell this year before snow flies and complete the interior finishes next year. 


This is an amazing milestone and IAF has many donors and volunteers to thank for getting this far. In fact, in just a couple weeks in June 2015, donors gave or pledged over $120,000 for this project, leaving only $132,000 remaining to complete the project!  For those interested in other ways to help, we are looking for quality furnishings and a commercial grade backcountry kitchen that are used or donated but must meet certain requirements. If you want to help with $ donations or equipment/furnishings, please contact


In related news, we moved the south facing Big Creek web cam angle so viewers can see what is happening at the work site when work begins in earnest (we think we finally fixed the power issue but it will take a few days to power back).  Big Creek Webcam link to building site


For donors, two new things: you can become a "Log Lifter" with a $1000 donation and be acknowledged as such with a specific log number and your name will go on a monument to be placed on the site. Go to the "donate" page of our website listed below for more info. 


We also are selling $50 raffle tickets for a classic Cessna 172 aircraft!  Details are on  the Raffle page.