Last modified: February 12, 2020
Provo School District has a long history of providing Outdoor Education opportunities for Provo City School District children. The history dates back to at least 1950 at Camp Sowiette, located “deep in Rock Canyon.” Students in 5th grade, 6th grade, and Junior High would attend camp in week long sessions during the summer.
The current program located at Camp Big Springs began in 1969. School district officials and Provo City administrators looked at the property and thought it would be an excellent spot for a joint Outdoor Education Program for the city’s 5th graders. It was originally a three-week program with the students spending two weeks in their schools and the last week at Camp Big Springs. During the two-week period, the students would go on various field trips, including a geology trip to the Salt Lake area, fossil hunting west of Utah Lake, field trips to Ephraim Canyon, Hobble Creek Canyon and Rock Canyon.
Around 1973, due to financial constraints, the program was cut to one week in the valley with fewer field trips and one week at Camp Big Springs. In 1976, school budgets were cut by the State Legislature and the 5th grade Outdoor Education Program was cut completely. There was such a public outcry that a voted leeway was proposed and a Recreation Mill Levy was approved. This created permanent funding for the 5th grade Outdoor Education Program at Big Springs. The students that missed the year before because of budget cuts were allowed to attend in 1977 and the program has continued uninterrupted since then.
Camp Big Springs has a rich history and a proven track record in Provo. More than 25,000 students have attended Camp Big Springs over the years. As of 3 years ago, we started receiving great grandchildren of early attendees of Camp Big Springs. It has definitely had a profound impact on our students, our parents, and the community as a whole.