River Mileage


River Right

About Wilson’s Bar Airstrip

Wilson settled on this bar in 1937. He died here in 1946 in a dump truck accident. Nicknamed “Haywire” as he could fix anything with a bit of haywire, he built the second of the ferrys used at Campbell’s Ferry. One of his daughters was a fill-in for Marilyn Monroe in the Hollywood movie “River of No Return”.

The airstrip, however, was not built by Haywire but was constructed by Al Tice, the owner of Mackay Bar, which is located downstream. It was completed in 1958. Notably, this is the only airstrip on public land located in the Main Salmon corridor. All other airstrips are privately owned and maintained. This is important because in 1980, in response to the Central Idaho Wilderness Act, the Forest Service closed the airstrip, which was widely unpopular with the public. Finally, in 1995, the airstrip was allowed to re-open.

A brief history of the airstrip can be found here.