Aeronautics improves Cavanaugh Bay airstrip,
unveils plan to replace shower facilities
Campers at one of Idaho’s premier state-owned airstrips might not have to shower in a World War II-era Quonset hut much longer.
The Division of Aeronautics plans to replace shower facilities at Cavanaugh Bay with a modern, modular building that includes upgraded showers and flush toilets this year if funding permits.
Located at the south end of Priest Lake, about 20 miles northwest of Sandpoint, the airstrip is a popular overnight spot forpilots. The pristine airstrip has about five campsites, a new shop and the round-roofed building that once was part of the Farragut Naval Training Center at Lake Pend Oreille.
Although the building has served recreationists well, it holds much more appeal for its history. To preserve that heritage, ITD will donate the Quonset hut to a local museum.
In its place, ITD proposes the placement of a modular building with separate showers for men and women and restroom facilities. The upgraded facility will accommodate seasonal use of the airstrip. Although the airstrip is accessible by cars and is located near a commercial marina at Priest Lake, the intent is to limit camping facilities to aviators.
A resident caretaker is responsible for general maintenance and upkeep of the airstrip and campgrounds during seasonal use. Cavanaugh Bay is closed during the winter. Local snowmobilers use the area next to the airstrip as part of a winter trail system.
Replacing the Quonset hut with a more modern facility will complement improvements made last year. Volunteers and Aeronautics personnel hauled topsoil, graded the grass airstrip and reseeded it to make the surface smoother and safer for aviators. The September project cost about $19,000, most of which was donated as in-kind labor, materials and equipment matches. Actual ITD expenditures were about $2,400, explains John DeThomas, Administrator of the Division of Aeronautics.
Replacement of the existing shower/toilet facilities will depend on availability of resources from the Division of Aeronautics' capital improvement budget for fiscal years 2009 and 2010, DeThomas said. The project is estimated to cost $100,000.
If resources are not available this year, existing toilets might be replaced with temporary portable facilities.
“Cavanaugh Bay is a real showcase for our state’s airstrip system,” DeThomas says. “Our planned improvements will protect the valuable asset and make it more attractive and functional for visitors.”