The Tall Timber story begins in 1956. While conducting a senior high camp at Lake Wenatchee, four pastors from the North Central Washington Presbytery stopped by a dude ranch up the White River Valley. Overwhelmed by the beauty and majesty of the setting, they discussed how perfect a place it would be to start their own camp. With the full support of the Presbytery, 133 acres were purchased for a sum total of $18,000.
And with that, Tall Timber Ranch was born.
The first camp took place in 1967 with 135 campers. Facilities included 6 former dude ranch cabins, 2 army tents, a chicken house, and a storage shed. A previously existing homestead cabin was expanded to provide a dining/meeting hall. Over the next several years, many improvements were made to the property with the help of churches adopting projects and building new cabins.
A piece of adjacent property across the Napeequa River was owned by Percy Pangborn, brother of the famous Clyde (first aviator to fly nonstop across the Pacific Ocean). In 1967, this property was sold to a developer with plans to develop it into extensive recreational facilities. A group of committed and visionary men involved with the camp quickly intervened to purchase the additional 132 acres from the developer, thus preserving the pristine wilderness setting.
What can we say about the '70's that these photos don't already?
Summer camp programs boomed throughout the U.S. in the 1970's and 80's, and it was no different at Tall Timber. Our programs continued to grow, and we began to utilize our wild North Cascades environment for a variety of wilderness-based excursions and adventures as carried out by our first year-round directors, Stan and Becky Fishburn, who were integral to Tall Timber for 35 years!
In 1983 a long range master plan was developed, and progress was steady through the '90s in reaching those goals:
- 1991 - Construction of a new dining/meeting lodge was completed
- 1995 - The old meeting lodge was remodeled into adult housing
- 1996 - The Schulze Center was remodeled into adult housing
- Many new cabins and other outbuildings were also completed
Camp programs and attendance continued to swell.
2000 and Beyond
Camp activities and programs have increased dramatically since 1980s, growing from a few hundred annual campers during summer and fall to several thousand guests on a year-round basis. Even though the times – and fashion trends – have no doubt changed, the need for people young and old to disconnect in order to reconnect has remained the same. As we turn the corner on our first 60 years of programs and service, Tall Timber continues to create ways for people to engage God, nature, and themselves in a wild and wonderful setting.