PHOTOS: Vale Boy Scouts ‘fly in, boat back’ for Owyhee service project

Bob Bement helps buckle Boy Scout Hoss Johnson in preparation for take-off. The group of Vale Scouts, Troop 453, flew to the Owyhee Reservoir State Airport for two days of service cleaning up the area. (Angelina Katsanis/The Enterprise)

Boy Scouts from Vale flew Friday to a service trip to the Owyhee Reservoir State Airport under the wing of pilot Bob Bement.

After the arrival, the group of five boys, Scoutmaster Victor Noble and Rob and Kristen Nieskens spent the two-day trip collecting trash and cleaning up the area as part of their service requirement in the troop.

Bement took a group of Scouts out to the same air strip around 30 years ago, which is what inspired this trip. They rode back by boat with the Nieskens with trash in tow to leave at a dumpster in Cherry Creek Park. As Noble said, “fly in, boat back.”

The area, also known as Pelican Point, is located approximately 45 miles south of Ontario. Though there is no ground access, it has still accumulated a decent amount of trash left by boat and plane travelers over the past 30 years.

The Scouts said they were well prepared for their night of camping. They all started in Cub Scouts and outdoor education is the primary part of the Boy Scouts curriculum.

The group “checked in” at a small one-room shack referred to as the “Owyhee Hilton Hotel.” The spot looks out onto the Owyhee Reservoir and offers a tranquil respite.

“When you sit down here and look at the lake, you forget what’s happening in the world,” said Bement.

The shack also houses written logs dating back to 1953 when it was built by a pilot from Winnemucca, Nev., and the pages hold every visitor’s story. And now the Vale Scouts have an entry of their own for all future travelers to enjoy.

Johnson, a rising eighth grader, exits Bement’s plane upon arrival to the Airport. (Angelina Katsanis/The Enterprise)

The view of the Owyhee River on the descent to the air strip. (Angelina Katsanis/The Enterprise)

Assistant Scoutmaster Nathan Nieskins puts on his seatbelt, accompanied by Bob Bement, pilot, and Layton Hickman (back), another Scout. (Angelina Katsanis/The Enterprise)

13-year-old Boy Scout Hoss Johnson looks up at pilot Bob Bement while flying above the Owyhee River. (Angelina Katsanis/The Enterprise)

Scoutmaster Victor Johnson sits at the edge of the “Hilton Hotel,” as jokingly referred to by visitors, and writes about the Scouts’ service trip in the log that dates back to 1953, chronicling every traveler that has been to the area. (Angelina Katsanis/The Enterprise)

Scoutmaster Victor Johnson looks out at the winding Owyhee River while on the way with his Scouts, Troop 453, to the Airport. (Angelina Katsanis/The Enterprise)

Bement sits on the porch of the “Hilton Hotel” talking to the members of the service trip. The group, Boy Scouts Troop 453, flew to the Owyhee Air Strip for two days (June 18-19) of service cleaning up the area.

Bob Bement talks to Scoutmaster Victor Noble about the plan before loading the plane with the second group of Scouts. (Angelina Katsanis/The Enterprise)

The traveler’s log at the shack dates back to 1953 with hundreds of entries by visitors to the area. (Angelina Katsanis/The Enterprise)

Bement checks the wings of his plane, “Skybelle,” before the Scouts come to board. (Angelina Katsanis/The Enterprise)

News tip? Contact photojournalist Angelina Katsanis at [email protected]


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