A volunteer mows the North Fox Island, MI grass airstrip.
Michigan volunteers completed the mowing during a work party July 9-11.

“Twenty-four aircraft arrived . . . coming in from Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio, and as far away as New York and Utah,” RAF Michigan Liaison Brad Frederick reported of the July 9-11 weekend work party at North Fox Island. 

Michigan volunteers had begun mowing the runway on Thursday, completing the task Friday afternoon when brush cutting began. Campers enjoyed ending the day with campfire camaraderie.

Saturday, “A little more than half had to heed the oncoming bad weather to the south and head for home early,” Frederick said. The remaining volunteers continued cutting brush and a group cleared the walking trails. Some cut, split, and stacked firewood, staying for a Sunday departure. Frederick and the RAF thank all who came to make the 2021 North Fox Island work party a success.

Greg Travis, a recent visitor emailed, “The place is maintained immaculately. My thoughts about North Fox Island is that this is one of the best advertisements for general aviation I have ever seen. It’s a beautifully secluded campground that is only accessible by plane.” Frederick responded by sharing the credit, saying, “This is what makes it all worthwhile. It’s a tribute to Jerry Ness and his wife Faye also George Stevens and a handful of others. They do the brunt of the work.”

A bird’s eye view of North Fox Island work party volunteers.
Volunteers arrived in 24 aircraft from Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana,
Illinois, Ohio, and as far away as New York and Utah .
Photo courtesy of Bill Steinmetz.

Submitted on July 29, 2021.


  1. Keith Eisberg on August 1, 2021 at 5:13 pm

    Wow! What a great site to see! Early August of last year during the height of Covid, I needed to get away to a remote place with just my dog and camping equipment, in my Cessna 170 taildragger. I first stopped at N. Fox Island and found it such a pleasant place that I stayed 10 lovely, quiet days. Yes, I have 3 or 4 days with NO One on the island but me and my flying partner of 10 years, Klaus my dog. He had cancer but at that time it was under control. I knew the trip might be one of his last great adventures and unfortunately, Klaus died in April of this year.

    We were welcomed the first day by Jerry Ness and by George Stevens who had been working hard on mowing the runway. Jerry was most kind and offered me a special tour of the island on his riding lawn mower. He also tole me the whole history behind the island and how he had been the early caretaker long before it was taken over by the state.
    In some years past, I lived in Idaho. Yes, I knew all the original back country pilots who hung around Hailey, Cascade and McCall. And naturally I flew to all the back country strips my old Cessna 182 with a 3 blade would take me , my dog and girlfriend. Fast forward to the last few years and I am now living in what we in Idaho called–flatlander flying. Very boring.
    I did however build my own grass strip airport, Eisberg Farms, MO36.
    So when I started searching for a great adventure last year, I found the N. Fox Island.
    That’s how I fell in love in the place and how I found out about RAF. I immediately joined.

    One little story that Jerry Ness and a few others know about. My work partner at the University is also a pilot. We had a project that I was critical to for completing, so my work partner was worried about my adventure and being out of touch by phone. He followed me via FAA flight via my path as I could check in on gas stops.
    However as all of you know, there is little to NO cell phone reception on FOX island. That is what I loved about the place. But my girlfriend and my work partner both were concerned that they had not heard from me after I landed.
    So during the middle of the night, here comes a loud helicopter from the US Coast Guard. You guessed it, they were looking for a crashed or missing airplane with my tail numbers. After they landed and saw the airplane and spoke with other campers around midnight, they took off and reported that I had landed safely.
    The next day, I was able to get out a message out via departing pilots who contacted both my girlfriend and my work partner that I was in good shape. As you can imagine, it was the talk of everyone for a few days.

    Then everybody left before the on-coming storms. That’s when Klaus and I had the whole island to ourselves. What a great time, We went swimming on a remote beach, with no body else in site. That lasted a heavenly three days before another plane flew in.

    All the pilots I met had great stories and reasons why they flew to N. Fox Island. This is just one story and the reason why I joined RAF. I’m looking forward to visiting N Fox island with my 1952 Cessna taildragger in the near future.
    As a former Idaho backcountry pilot, I highly recommend visiting N. Fox Island. It is quite a place.

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