In 1948,  a group of Magic Valley Methodist Men located some private land north of Fairfield and persuaded the owner, Jack Byram to sell 40 acres for a church camp.  He agreed to sell the northern-most portion of his cattle grazing land, and Sawtooth Camp was born.  The first camps were held at the site in 1949 in the area now used for family tent and trailer use.  Campers in the first years slept in surplus army tents, and cooking was also done in a large tent.  The original lodge was begun in 1951 using local logs hauled down with horses from the hill above camp, and construction continued for several summers until it was completed.  During this time, a manager’s cabin was also built as well as other supply buildings.  In 1964, due to financial needs,  Mr. Byram who owned the rest of the valley south of camp felt the need to sell off another 80 acres. So once again the Magic Valley Methodist Men stepped forward and raised the money to purchase the rest of the land now owned. 


Horsepower hauled the logs across the sheep bridge which was located where the present footbridge exists. 


Tents were used for meeting and dining from 1949 until the lodge was completed.



This dining tent was located east of where the present garage is. 


This picture was taken in 1950 from the bluff . It shows the first building being erected which was used for the kitchen.  The cooks used the attic of this first building for sleeping quarters until the the lodge was built in 1951-53.  Later this building was moved to its present location and is currently used as a maintenance shop.


 In the 1960's, Rev. Ted Hargreaves and Rev. Earl Riddle spent time planning camps in the old lodge dining room. Denise Hargreaves Smithers is sitting beside her father. 

 Labor Day 1981 saw the ground breaking ceremony for the new lodge. Pictured here are Dave and Karen Hargreaves. 


Many campers have committed to their faith through baptism in the South Fork of the Boise River.   In this photo, camper and later a Sawtooth staff member John Ward is being baptized by Rev. Kim Fields. 

© 2014 Camp and Retreat Ministries:

A partnership between The Oregon-Idaho Conference of The United Methodist Church
and The Episcopal Diocese of Oregon