Thousands of pilots and outdoor recreationists have happy memories at Big Creek Lodge,” said IAF President Jim Davies. “When this project is complete, the public can begin to make new memories at this historic site so many of us love.” Yet, the project is full of challenges. The lodge sits at nearly 6,000’ elevation in rugged terrain with limited access by road—which is snow free for only 4 months of the year. Although the ‘big town’ of McCall (population 2,900) is only a 15 minute flight to the southwest, it takes 3-4 hours to drive there. Beautiful Goat Mountain, at over 9,000', is clearly visible from the lodge area and reminds the visitor of the remoteness of the area despite a few buildings on the site (see photo). The 'main road' comes over Profile Summit, which has numerous tight switchbacks, and not many large trucks make the trip.  “The logistics alone are challenging, but the challenge is part of why it is so special—if it were easily accessible, it wouldn’t be Big Creek. We’ve planned for the difficulties and consulted with experienced builders and backcountry operators on our budget and timeline,” said Davies.

Goat Mtn 10 2012 web

The old lodge at Big Creek was a premier destination for visitors from Idaho, the US and around the world.  Motorcycle and ATV users, horsemen, hunters, snowmobilers, cross country skiers and pilots alike have enjoyed the area and would visit for home style meals and overnight accommodations in the rustic lodge or adjacent cabins.  “Although everyone misses the old lodge, it endured more than 75 years of harsh winters, and materials used back then led to modern-day maintenance challenges,” Davies explained.

Photo below courtesy of Micah Lauer.

Lodge pre fire