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.

Idaho Aviation Foundation (IAF) is closing in on the goal to break ground and erect the log shell structure in 2015 structure and to complete it next year. On June 1 2015, IAF received notification that the USFS has given Engineering Approval for the building design and engineering. This important approval means we have done our job with the USFS and they approve of the lodge design and all engineering associated with it. This, along with two other big approvals means we are only one step away from gaining final approval to build Big Creek Lodge. The final step is for the USFS to finalize the coordination of other Regulatory Approvals to include other Federal agencies plus other USFS partners.

IAF also received approval for the Master Development Plan (MDP) and the 2015 Site Operations Plan. “The MDP outlines the 30 year plan for Big Creek Lodge, and the approval means that IAF and PNF are aligned regarding future operations and improvements, and further illustrates the strong USFS support of this project,” said Jim Davies, President of IAF. The 2015 Operations Plan is also important because it outlines this year’s site projects apart from the lodge building itself. The Operations approval means IAF can now finalize Central District Health (CDH) acceptance of the septic plan. CDH is well aware of the plan, but required USFS approval before they could extend their approval. IAF expects to begin installation of the new septic system installation in July.

The above approvals, along with letters and verbal indications from USFS reassure us that PNF will now finalize the approval by coordinating with the other Regulatory Agencies such as Fish and Game and others. Assuming final approval is made early enough this summer, IAF intends tobuild the foundation and shell this year, and complete the project in 2016. From a fund raising perspective, IAF is very close to having funds available to accomplish the objectives for 2015. Approximately $70,000 of incremental funds from the public are needed this year to accomplish the objectives, and a separate fundraising plan is in place for 2016 to complete the project.

Yurt for web outsideThe Idaho Aviation Foundation recently accepted a generous gift from Kif and Dawn Brown of Idaho.  The Browns donated a parcel of land and a beautiful yurt with wood-fired hot tub and sauna located a little over one mile from the Big Creek lodge site.  The yurt will be used to augment the lodge rooms after the lodge is erected, and may be available for rent in the summer of 2015.  It would appeal to people who would like to have a large, comfortable shelter with cooking amenities, while enjoying a little more rustic experience than the lodge would provide.  Please read the article in memory of Kif Brown and why this yurt was important to him and his wife, Dawn.  Remembering Kif Brown 

The beautifully constructed yurt has a wooden floor, four bunk beds, and a can comfortably sleep eight.  It is equipinterior yurt bunks long view webped with a propane refrigerator, propane stove, cooking utensils, and Fisher Mama Bear Woodstove for those chilly nights.  Visitors will also be able to enjoy a wood heated hot tub and sauna.  Guests can take in all the Big Creek area offers - fishing, epic hiking, or just enjoying the views and wildlife, and then cook their meals and enjoy a dip in the hot tub.

The Idaho  backcountry cannot be owned but Kif and Dawn's gift and stewardship will provide a way for visitors to enjoy the backcountry in the future.  Kif's wife, Dawn, explains the importance of the yurt this way: "Kif fell in love with the Idaho backcountry from the very first and we decided to make it a big part of our lives.  He was so happy to be able to share our little piece of it with fellow backcountry enthusiasts for generations to come."

"We are humbled that Kif and Dawn thought of the IAF and the Big Creek Lodge project for this donation," said IAF Vice President Colleen Back.  "per their wishes, we intend to have the yurt available for reasonainterior yurt stove webble rental to guests in the summer and will do what we can to accommodate prepared and experienced winter visitors as well."  She went on to note that winter operations are not going to be offered at the lodge, but winter guests may be permitted to use the yurt with certain requirements.  IAF will provide details for those wishing to rent the yurt later this spring.  "We may have uses for the yurt for IAF needs in the short term as we move closer to a ground breaking for the lodge project, but it is entirely possible we will be able to rent the yurt during the summer of 2015," she went on to say.

If you would like further information about the yurt rental when it becomes available, please email IAF at