Cragged Mountain Farm (CMF) is a co-educational wilderness trip summer camp in rural Freedom, New Hampshire established by pediatrician Dr. Henry Utter in 1927. It has been owned and operated by the Utter family ever since. Dr. Utter believed in the often-underestimated capabilities of young people; wilderness trips at Cragged are a prime example of how much children can accomplish. Each year we continue to follow through on Dr. Utter’s inspirational belief as campers learn responsibility, self-care, teamwork, camping skills, and leadership in wilderness settings. Additionally, Dr. Utter thought it was important for kids to get away from home, into the country and to enjoy the fresh air (not requiring uniforms was also important to him). Unlike many other summer camps, we feel the co-ed nature of the camp environment enhances the learning experience in many positive ways. We strive to create a healthy, active learning environment for kids to grow in. We still abide by Dr. Utter’s philosophy today.
Dr. Utter ran the camp until the 1960s and then his son and daughter, Dr. Wilson Utter and Elizabeth Utter Nissen, ran the camp through the end of the 1980s. Carl Nissen, Elizabeth’s son, was also the director for a few years in the ’80s. Since then CMF has been run by Dr. Utter’s grandchildren Phil, Henry, Kathy, and Ben. His great-grand children have all played significant roles in CMF’s success as well predominantly as trip leaders and camp counselors during the summer sessions. Two of these great-grandchildren, Nick Utter and Will Nissen, actually run a farm on the CMF property now (The Farm on Cragged Mountain) that the campers get to participate in!
Our unique wilderness oriented programs are a refreshing change from your basic summer camp. In this ever evolving age of being “plugged in” we need to remind kids that playing outside is not only healthy, but fun! Hiking to the top of the tallest mountains in the Northeast and canoeing down the picturesque rivers of New England instills an appreciation for nature that is being lost in this technologically addicted world. It also cannot be overstated how healthy it is for kids to have time away from home to achieve independent growth. Teenagers and adults that attended CMF as campers fondly remember how it was there that their love for the outdoors was fostered and made it possible to enjoy it later in life.
Unlike other summer camps that have extensive amenities and facilities at the campers’ fingertips, CMF will bring you back to a time before phones, computers, and TV. Campers live in rustic screened in cabins without electricity with 5-7 other campers and a camp counselor for the duration of their stay. Every week they will go on an overnight wilderness backpacking or canoeing trip with their WFR certified trip leader.