Silver Lake airfield (45S) is located in the Fremont-Winema National Forest in central Oregon. For the past several years, maintenance at the 3,000 x 55-ft runway had been neglected. “Earlier this year the Forest Service discussed closing and de-listing the airfield because it was considered unsafe and a liability risk,” RAF Oregon Liaison Richard Mayes said. He contacted District Ranger Doug McKay and Unit Aviation Officer Chad Bergren with an approach to preserve the airfield. Richard made it clear that the recreational aviation community values remote airfields like Silver Lake, and that the RAF is willing to invest volunteer time and money toward their preservation. “It was agreed by all that improving the safety of the airfield would greatly reduce any potential liability,” he said. His proposal included volunteers clearing encroaching brush and repairing surface damage, at no cost to USFS. 

Thanks to Richard’s action, the USFS decided that Silver Lake was indeed an asset worth protecting. “As a result of our collaboration, brush removal and grading of the airfield surface has been recently completed, Richard reported, “and the surface is now in very good condition.” The RAF plans to provide and install a new windsock, and volunteers will clear brush from the parking area. 

Be aware that 45S is located on private property leased by the USFS. Visitors may camp and explore, but open fires and the discharge of firearms are prohibited. “Please don’t do anything to offend the land owner, and avoid flying low over nearby ranches and the town of Silver Lake,” Richard said. 

The Airfield Guide listing for Silver Lake can be found here.


  1. Paul Randall on September 1, 2020 at 6:12 am

    Great news!

  2. Cheryl Gaebel on September 1, 2020 at 7:23 am

    A great save!!

  3. Todd Brown on September 1, 2020 at 7:39 am

    Thanks Richard! Thanks RAF!

  4. Dan Thompson on September 1, 2020 at 7:39 am

    That is everything this organization is about and is coveted by pilots around the world who only wish they had the freedom!

  5. Quincy Milton II on September 1, 2020 at 8:10 am

    That is so perfect. I love hearing about success stories like this. Thank you!

  6. Dr D on September 1, 2020 at 9:21 am

    There are so many good things about this story. Well done! The RAF and all our members rock.

  7. Charles L Brown on September 1, 2020 at 9:57 am

    This is great I live in Christmas Valley and wondered what was going on with the runway as no one hardly used it in years, great save.

  8. Dale R. Evans on September 1, 2020 at 10:03 am

    Thanks Richard! Silver Lake could have been over looked so easily; you and RAF are on the ball.

  9. Harry Wildgen on September 1, 2020 at 4:34 pm

    Rich, you are just like Mighty Mouse, “ here to save the day”
    Good work!

    Harry Wildgen

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