Salmon Outdoor School

Teaching heritage and frontier skills in an outdoor classroom.

Step back in time into an ancestral village and relive the Corps of Discovery experience in this valley, circa 1805. Learn about plants for healing, soften a deer hide for clothing, and prepare sinew for thread. Turn stones and bones into useful tools; fashion baskets out of natural materials. Reestablish a timeless connection to your own ancestral self and discover the thrill it brings!

Relive the Past at the Outdoor School

The Outdoor School presents skills and techniques that are culturally generic and universal in practice and application, which were common to early America. We are dedicated to preserving these skills and techniques through experiential classes and programs for all ages.


Experience Idaho History

Come discover and experience Idaho history first hand, learn the self reliance skills of early Americans in Idaho, and gain an appreciation for our many natural resources and an understanding of the importance of their preservation for future generations. Sign up for our annual 1805 Living Experience.

Meet the Outdoor School instructors:

Outdoor School Instructors

Joe Bigley has been involved with primitive outdoor skills since age seven, when his father began teaching him the basics. He began teaching primitive skills during off-duty hours in 1982 through a community program at Northwest River Park, Chesapeake, VA. He went on to teach several courses. He is the author of several guides on primitive skills and self-reliance and is staff editor for Backwoodsman Magazine. He founded the Salmon Outdoor School in 1998.

Denyce Bigley has been a student of the outdoors for over 30 years. Together with Joe, Denyce has taught outdoor skills for various community programs, schools, private groups, and state and local parks all over the United States. Specializing in children’s programs, Denyce received an award in 1999 from Larry Dean Olsen, the founder of the Outdoor Education Program at BYU University in Provo, Utah.


Dear Joe and Denyce:
Salmon’s commitment to its youth is incredible… We participated in a number of events that showcased what a wonderful place Salmon is to live… The opportunity to watch you working with young students from the Tendoy School, and to learn ourselves, the skill of making ” elk jerky” was a treat we had not anticipated.
Your service to the community and to those people who visit Lemhi County and have the opportunity to enjoy the learning skills of your Outdoor School are well recognized… We came away from Salmon energized, invigorated and hopeful for the future… You make all of Idaho proud. Thanks again for a memorable day.
Very Truly Yours,
James E. Risch

Idaho Senator, Lieutenant Governor and Governor

Pin It on Pinterest