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.