RAF Oregon Ambassador Bill Ables reports that more than two dozen volunteers arrived to clean up airstrips in the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area on April 23. 

What may surprise some is that Hells Canyon is North America’s deepest river gorge. The Snake River is known for whitewater rafting, jet boating, fishing and access to native sacred sites within the Nez Perce National Historical Park.

Two years ago, RAF Oregon Liaison Richard Mayes received a $1,400 RAF grant to advance the RAF mission with the Hells Canyon Recreation Collaborative (HCRC). Mayes and Ables are working together with the HCRC Steering Committee to protect and improve access to these six airstrips. 

Sixteen airplanes arrived at Dug Bar early in the morning and then dispersed out to the other five airstrips. Folks came from Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Minnesota.

Projects included mowing, weed eating, installing new windsocks and trimming back blackberry bushes at Dug Bar, Cache Creek, Salmon Bar, Ragtown Bar, Big Bar and Sluice Creek.

After completing the maintenance work, “Everyone returned to Dug Bar where a hearty lunch and good conversation was waiting for them,” Ables said.

See the Airfield Guide for Dug Bar and Cache Creek airstrips. 

Submitted on May 13, 2022


  1. Jack E Horn on May 17, 2022 at 8:26 am

    Thank you to all who participated. Are there any work parties schedule for June?

    Thanks again.

    • Bill Ables on May 17, 2022 at 8:56 am

      None scheduled in June. That’s when the Canyon starts to heat up and I head to the high country where it is cooler. We will have one at Lord Flat in June on the 25th at Lord Flat (OR9), which is located on the Oregon rim of Hell’s Canyon. It sits at 5500′ and will be much cooler.

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