Collaboration between Wallowa-Whitman National Forest fire management staff and the local Idaho Aviation Association meant a day of early spring cleaning and fun for the whole family. On March 22nd 16 airplanes and 27 people descended into the Big Bar airstrip in Hells Canyon National Recreation Area. Those that landed on the airstrip were part of the local Treasure Valley Chapter of the Idaho Aviation Association.

Big Bar takeoff

This association made up of volunteers seeks to provide a link between aviation issues, the general public, and their 700-plus members of the organization across the state of Idaho. The mission of the Idaho Aviation Association is to provide for the preservation, maintenance and enhancement of aviation facilities; and to promote safety, education and public understanding of general aviation in Idaho.

Given the low elevation (1308 feet), the Big Bar work party was scheduled early in the season. The turnout was pleasing and the participants were able to complete a variety of activities. Many hands smoothed the runway, took out obstacles, cleared the tie down area, put-up a new windsock, and nailed the roof back on to the cabin. In addition, the cabin was cleaned and runway markers along with tie down anchors were painted.

The Treasure Valley Chapter of the Idaho Aviation Association has “work parties” at several state and forest service airstrips. “It is our way of helping to maintain these airstrips,” said Jerry Terlisner with the Idaho Aviation Association. While this was the group’s first trip into Big Bar on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, the association did a great job at helping out this backcountry airstrip. Previous care was done some years ago by the McCall Chapter. In order to find out more about the association visit http://www.flyidaho.org/.

To find out more about fuels and fire projects on the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, or this project in particular, contact Matt Reidy at (541)523-1415 or mreidy@fs.fed.us.