Leading Idaho grant funds snow-removal equipment at Orofino airport

Gov. Brad Little’s Leading Idaho initiative recently helped fund $75,000 in new snow-removal equipment for the Orofino Municipal Airport in north-central Idaho. The newly purchased truck is set up for sanding, deicing, and plowing.

Orofino averages 21.4 inches of snow each winter season. The airport is located about a mile northwest of town, on the south side of the Clearwater River. It is located in a steep canyon, with high-terrain approaches both north and south of the airport.

“This new truck will make a huge impact,” said Ryan Smathers, Orofino City Administrator. “The airport has been basically out of service during major snow events, and this will help us respond in a timely manner.“

“We had to rush to get the runway cleared with a front-end loader for Life Flight to land in winters past. This will help keep the runway open during all types of weather conditions. Having the capability to spray deicer and sand, along with the scoop plow, will be a game-changer.”

Jennifer Schildgen, Airport Planning Manager with the Idaho Division of Aeronautics, agrees.

“The Leading Idaho Initiative has provided airports statewide with greatly needed grant funds to support the Idaho Aviation System,” she stated. “The Orofino Airport’s Snow Removal Equipment project is a wonderful example of how the State is supporting our transportation system.”