History & Culture

In 1944 the Weiser National Forest and the Idaho National Forest were combined to create what we know today as the Payette National Forest.  The Weiser National Forest was established in 1905 with the headquarters at Weiser, Idaho.  The Idaho National Forest was created in 1908 from parts of the original Payette National Forest (established in 1905) and the Bitterroot National Forest, and the headquarters was at Meadows, seven miles west of McCall.

Lake Street Station

In 1909 Tom McCall offered to donate a building and land in the town of McCall if the Forest Service would move the headquarters.  His offer was accepted and Tom and his son, J.D. "Daws", built the building which remained the Supervisor's Office until 1914.  Today that building is known as the Lake Street Station.

In 1968, former Payette National Forest Assistant Forest Supervisor, James Hockaday complied the history of the Forest into a book titled, History of the Payette National Forest.  It is a comprehensive look at the early history of the Forest.  Click this link to download Hockaday's book.  It is approximately 12 megabytes so may take an extended amount of time to download. 

Are you ready to step back in time and be a District Ranger in 1925?  Take the 1925 District Ranger Exam!


Monographs:  Stories from the archives of significant events that took place on, and helped shape the Payette National Forest.

Coyote Springs Telephone Booth (in the wilderness) - History Poster.  Click to download.


Tales From the Last of the Big Creek Rangers, Earl Dodds 2013

Photo shows Earl Dodds in 1972

The Payette National Forest is pleased to announce the release of Earl Dodds’ book, “Tales from the Last of the Big Creek Rangers” in electronic form.  The book is available online by clicking the links below. 

Cover Page:  Tales from the Last of the Big Creek Ranger

Text:  Tales from the Last of the Big Creek Rangers, Earl Dodds 2013.

News Release December 13, 2013

Earl Dodds served as the Big Creek District Ranger on the Payette National Forest for over 25 years from 1958 until his retirement in 1984.  He has written a collection of short stories related to his experiences as a “back county” district ranger.  The collection of short stories is very telling o...

Archaeology - Evidence of Bison From Bones and Stone Tools

Analysis of ancient blood proteins and radiometric dating are indispensable archaeological techniques for demonstrating that bison were once present on the PNF.



Mining shed

History of mining in the Payette area.

Fire Lookouts

Fire lookout silhouetted against a sun set.

Read about fire lookouts on the Payette National Forest.


Characters & Events

Monument - Soldier Bar

Read about people and happenings in Payette's past.

Early History

Early History

1800's History