Grand opening of the DeVlieg cabin on September 13, 2004 brought 34 visitors together from UI, including the DeVlieg Foundation Board of Directors.
Taylor Wilderness Research Station’s location in the heart of the Frank Church Wilderness offers unique opportunities and challenges. All electrical power is generated on-site by solar panels or a microhydroelectric unit, while propane or gasoline are flown in by light aircraft. Taylor has six cabins capable of lodging a total of 20-30 people. All cabins have electric power and plumbing, with fresh potable water from Pioneer Creek.
The catastrophic Diamond Point wildfire of 2000 burned 175,000 acres particularly along Big Creek and the Middlefork of the Salmon. While the efforts of Taylor Ranch manager/scientists Jim and Holly Akenson and the USFS smokejumping crew saved most of the Taylor Ranch buildings, the bunkhouse and cookhouse burned to the ground. With funding and significant assistance from the DeVlieg Foundation, a new cabin was constructed to replace the lodging space lost to the fire. The cabin foundation was completed in 2003. In 2004, the cabin logs and building materials were trucked to the Colson Creek airstrip on the main Salmon River, and then airlifted by helicopter 35 miles to Taylor Ranch in 32 total loads. The cabin was completed in Fall 2004, and dedicated by Janet Pope of the DeVlieg Foundation to “all the curious students of our natural resources.” The cabin can lodge up to 9 people.
» The DeVlieg Foundation
The Dave Lewis Cabin was constructed by homesteader and pioneer "Cougar Dave" Lewis sometime between 1903 and 1911. It was used both as Lewis' permanent residence and as lodging for visitors and guests. Several additions have been made to the cabin throughout the years. With the inspiration of Jim and Holly Akenson, the financial assistance of Bill and Mary Wallace and the DeVlieg Foundation, the Dave Lewis Cabin underwent a major restoration in the summer of 2008, maintaining modern conveniences while simultaneously reviving the cabin's historical character. The Dave Lewis Cabin now bears the distinction of being the oldest remaining cabin on Big Creek.
This cabin, originally called the "Duplex," was built by Jess Taylor in 1951-1952 as accommodations for visitors to the Jess Taylor's guest ranch. The logs used to construct the cabin were so big that Jess Taylor was able to use leftover ends to construct the corral shed on the north side of the pasture. The cabin was recently renamed the "Hornocker Cabin" to commemorate the contributions made by Dr. Maurice Hornocker to the growth and development of the Taylor Wilderness Research Station.
The Lab was originally constructed in the mid-1950's at the Lanham Ranch at Cabin Creek, 8 miles upstream of Taylor. The Lanham Ranch, owned by Rex Lanham, was eventually sold to the Payette National Forest. In 1987, seven years after the birth of the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, Payette announced their intentions to burn the ranch structures to restore the area to a wilderness state. Taylor Ranch managers Jim and Holly Akenson proposed a salvage plan, which was put into action in 1990. The cabin was disassembled, moved to the Cabin Creek airstrip in pieces by mule team, and then airlifted by National Guard helicopters several miles downstream to Taylor Ranch, where it was reassembled. The four-bedroom cabin then underwent an interior remodel to create two bedrooms, a kitchen, and classroom/laboratory space for Taylor students.
This cabin began as Dave Lewis’s blacksmith shed. In later years, it was enclosed and several additions were made, turning the shed into a small living space. It was the primary residence of Arlow Lewis, the ranch caretaker for Jess Taylor, until Lewis’ death in 1980. It is now the primary living space for Taylor assistant managers.