January 31, 2013:The Rebuild Big Creek Lodge fundraising efforts have already raised $410,000, led by a $250,000 commitment from the IAF and other public donations of $160,000 thus far. The $800,000 objective includes provisions for designing, engineering, meeting permit requirements, transporting materials, constructing and opening the lodge plus funding to operate the lodge longer term. Should donations exceed the $800,000 goal, they will be applied to future lodge operations.

“It is evident that the public wants to create new memories at Big Creek Lodge, and we will certainly need their financial and volunteer support to succeed,” IAF Vice President and Big Creek Project Manager Colleen Back commented. To illustrate the interest level, Back indicated that many pilots and outdoor enthusiasts have already asked how they can help through donations and volunteerism. “The IAF has committed $250,000 from the General Fund, and we have received public commitments or donations totaling over $160,000 before we even began formal fundraising efforts. In addition to donors, we are grateful for our partners such as Houston-Bugatsch Architects and our marketing firm, CLM, who have generously donated major services because they believe in the cause. I’d say we are certainly off to a good start,” she continued. "The donated services from these two fine companies minimizes our professional fees, which means we can put even more of the donations toward direct building costs and permitting."

January 30, 2013: The Idaho Aviation Foundation (IAF) announced formal plans today to rebuild the historic Big Creek Lodge, part of a tiny settlement area in the Payette National Forest, just outside Idaho’s famous Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness. The lodge was originally built in the early 1930’s, and served backcountry pilots, hunters, fishermen and other recreationists until it and an adjacent cabin burned to the ground in October 2008. The IAF has applied for a Special Use Permit from the Payette National Forest and intends to operate the new Big Creek Lodge for the public after it is built.  IAF will also host public service functions at the existing facilities at the Lodge site between now and completion of the construction. The IAF has already developed an execution plan, acquired the remaining buildings and improvements on the Big Creek site, started fundraising efforts, and launched a website to get the public involved. See other news for updates on fund raising status.

October, 2012.  The IAF has acquired the remaining facilities and improvements at Big Creek. The acquisition included a duplex cabin, historic store and tack shed, the hydro-electric system, large water holding tanks on the mountainside and associated water delivery systems, septic tank, and drain field. The acquisition was completed in October 2012, through a combination sale and generous donation to the IAF from Scott and Trudy Fodor, previous owners of Big Creek Lodge. Upon transfer of ownership, the IAF submitted an application for new Special Use Permit to operate the lodge and the Payette National Forest is close to finalizing that permit as of late January 2013. 

10-12 Big Creek IAF fly in 062 LargeColleen Back, Vice President of IAF and Big Creek Project Manager, said “Big Creek Lodge is on US Forest Service (USFS) land, and will operate within the authority of a Special Use Permit in partnership with the Payette National Forest. So, this acquisition was essential for us to begin working more directly with the District Ranger and refine the plan with them going forward. Our meetings with the USFS have been very productive, as they encouraged the return of public services again at Big Creek.”