top of page

about us

About The Tillamook Forest Center

The Tillamook Forest Center is a special place to develop a deeper connection with Oregon’s forests through experience and exploration. Located at the heart of the Tillamook State Forest, the region’s newest interpretive and educational center showcases the legacy of the historic Tillamook Burn and the public spirit behind a monumental reforestation effort that left a permanent imprint on Oregon history while also shaping sustainable forest management today.

Unique Opportunities in a Unique Setting

The Center is bookended by a climbable 40-foot tall replica of a forest fire lookout tower and a dramatic 250-foot-long pedestrian suspension bridge which leads from the building across the Wilson River to the Wilson River Trail and nearby Jones Creek Campground.

  • Center visitors can explore the past, present and future of the Tillamook State Forest through artifacts, personal stories, photos, film, exhibits, games, hands-on models, computer simulations, interpreter-led programs and other innovative media. Outdoors, the forest comes alive through salmon watching viewpoints, the bridge and lookout tower, and a network of interpretive trails that encourage visitors to consider the forest through the eyes of Native Americans, homesteaders, early loggers, firefighters, tree planters and future forest managers.
     

    The exhibit plan covers five major thematic zones:

    • The Early Coast Range Forest, which explores the major forces that shaped the landscape and provides a glimpse of the forest before recorded history.

    • Early Life in the Tillamook considers how people shaped the forest and how the forest shaped early life, including the Tillamook and Calapuya Indians, early explorers, homesteaders, loggers and road builders.

    • The Tillamook Burn provides a first hand look at the power of fire and the long-term implications of the massive fires of the 1930s and 1940s. "Legacy of Fire," our compelling multi-media theater experience, puts you in the midst of fire.

    • The Hand Planted Forest recalls the challenges, determination, hard work and many personal stories from the tree planting years of the 1950s, 60s and early 1970s.

    • The Forest of Today and Tomorrow delves into the work of sustainable forestry today and puts you in a forester’s boots to consider decisions and their consequences for the future. Kids can climb inside a model stream and go eye-to-eye with Chinook salmon.
       

    Programs are available to be scheduled for school groups either at the Center or in your classroom. Discovery kits are available for check out. And ongoing special events and programs offer a good reason to come back and see us.

  • The vision for the Center grew out of a desire to share the unique and meaningful story of this landscape with future generations. Planning for the Center began in 1996, led by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the non-profit Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust.
     

    Following a major homework phase that included visits to other visitor centers in the region and discussions with resource specialists, teachers and project managers, planning and concept design began in earnest in 1997. Linked with this were property acquisition, and the development of interpretation and education programs.

    Long before any facility related developments, the Oregon Department of Forestry began offering innovative education and interpretation programs for schools and for forest visitors reaching more than 6,000 people each year. The strategy: create quality educational programs, and an interested audience, well in advance of opening the Center.

    No state tax dollars were involved in creation of the Tillamook Forest Center. The total cost of the project is $10.7 million, funded in part by a partnership facilitated by the non-profit Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust. More than 400 donors — including foundations, individuals, business and organizations — have contributed to the project.

  • From the beginning, the Tillamook Forest Center was envisioned as a place where visitors could learn how their lives are connected to the natural environment. The project successfully delivers on that promise, serving as a living example of sustainable building design, construction, and operating practices with minimal environmental impact on its surroundings. This consideration for creating a “green” building ties together the environmental and interpretive missions of the Tillamook Forest Center.
     

    Following are some of the sustainable elements designed and built by the core project team of The Miller/Hull Partnership, LLP (architecture), AldrichPears Associates (interpretive design), Walker Macy (landscape architecture), and Precision Construction Co. (contractor), and the Oregon Department of Forestry.

    Responsible Water Management

    The site has been designed so that there will be no increase in the rate or quantity of storm water runoff from the site and will cause no negative impacts to water quality in the Wilson River. The 65,000 gallon forest wetland pond near the building entry performs several key tasks: harvesting and storing rain water for use in the fire sprinkler system; providing non-potable water for other building systems; as a heat exchange for the cooling system. In addition, the pond serves as a reservoir for structural and wildland fire fighters who may need water to fight fires in the surrounding region.

    Energy Efficiency

    • The award-winning building has been designed to be 30 percent more energy efficient than code with a goal of using "fossil fuel free" energy throughout.

    • The center is one of the only facilities of its size and type in North America heated by wood pellets. Pellets are made from material that was once wasted in the wood production process.

    • Natural daylight is used to meet 50 percent of the building’s average lighting needs for day lit spaces.

    • Natural ventilation is used, including 100 percent outside air wherever possible in the building.


    Sustainable Materials

    • All of the wood and wood products used on the site are from sustainably managed forests. This includes lumber harvested on site or elsewhere in the Tillamook State Forest or timber salvaged or recycled from other sites.

    • A portion of the construction budget was dedicated to materials that were manufactured or fabricated within 150 miles of the Center.

    • Special emphasis was placed on using natural or recycled materials throughout the project, including rock that was crushed on site and used for the road bed and in other areas; excavated material used for fill elsewhere on the site; trees harvested on the site used for benches and tables on site.

    • All of the building framing material (2x4s through 2x12s) was grown, harvested and milled less than 30 miles from the Center.


    The Tillamook Forest Center building, landscape and interpretive design Master Plan received the 2000 Award of Excellence for Landscape Planning and Analysis from the Oregon Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the highest professional achievement award made by this group. The biennial award recognizes projects that improve the relationship of people to their environment.

    Responsible Water Management

    The site has been designed so that there will be no increase in the rate or quantity of storm water runoff from the site and will cause no negative impacts to water quality in the Wilson River. The 65,000 gallon forest wetland pond near the building entry performs several key tasks: harvesting and storing rain water for use in the fire sprinkler system; providing non-potable water for other building systems; as a heat exchange for the cooling system. In addition, the pond serves as a reservoir for structural and wildland fire fighters who may need water to fight fires in the surrounding region.

    From the beginning, the Tillamook Forest Center was envisioned as a place where visitors could learn how their lives are connected to the natural environment. The project successfully delivers on that promise, serving as a living example of sustainable building design, construction, and operating practices with minimal environmental impact on its surroundings. This consideration for creating a “green” building ties together the environmental and interpretive missions of the Tillamook Forest Center.
     

    Following are some of the sustainable elements designed and built by the core project team of The Miller/Hull Partnership, LLP (architecture), AldrichPears Associates (interpretive design), Walker Macy (landscape architecture), and Precision Construction Co. (contractor), and the Oregon Department of Forestry.

  • The non-profit State Forests Trust of Oregon (formerly known as the Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust), which formed in 1999, serves as catalyst for public/private partnership in support of the recreation, education and interpretation mission of the Oregon Department of Forestry. The Trust helps enable the development of experiences that help Oregonians better understand and appreciate the Tillamook State Forest and all of Oregon’s state-owned forests.

    Leaders from forest products, environment, education and recreation communities, joined by past and present political leaders from rural and urban Oregon, are active in the Trust.

    The underlying philosophy of the Trust is that Oregon's State Forests hold unparalleled opportunities for teaching and learning about the role of forests in our lives today; about the natural and cultural history of this forest and all forests; about the responsibility and opportunity of sustainable forest management.
     

    The Trust is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
     

    For more information about the State Forests Trust of Oregon, please visit them online at stateforeststrust.org.
     

    State Forests Trust of Oregon
    PO Box 15036
    Salem, Oregon 97309
     

    Phone: (971) 301-3055

  • The Tillamook Burn, and today’s Tillamook State Forest which has emerged from the fires of the mid-20th Century, provide a compelling setting in which to teach about all the resources and values associated with this remarkable forest, and by association, forests elsewhere in our state and region.
     

    The Tillamook Burn was the collective name for a series of wildfires that struck the northern Oregon Coast Range mountains in the 1930s and 1940s. The fires blackened more than 550 square miles and brought profound environmental, economic and social change to Northwest Oregon.

    Today’s Tillamook State Forest is the product of a monumental reforestation effort undertaken in the 1950s and 1960s. More than 72 million seedlings were planted by hand — many of them by school children and volunteers — across the blackened landscape. The site of today’s Tillamook Forest Center was entirely planted by school children in the 1950s and 1960s and was recently named a special Oregon Heritage Grove by the Oregon Heritage Tree Commission.

    The young Tillamook State Forest is now a place of hope, providing a wide range of resources and experiences, from clean water to wildlife habitat, from timber and revenues to recreation.
     
    Visit the Oregon Department of Forestry page for more information about the Tillamook and other state forests.

  • Legacy of Fire
    Story of the Tillamook Burn

    Here’s a short preview of the award-winning 15-minute film that plays throughout the day in the Tillamook Burn Theater. This dramatic retelling of the Tillamook Burn and reforestation story has been referred to by one travel writer as a “shattering, powerful, sensory experience.” Witness change through the eyes of those who fought the fires, planted the trees and watched the landscape change. And when you visit the Center in person, get ready for the sound, fury, smell, and sensation of fire. Copies of the DVD are for sale at the Center Gift Shop.

  • Center visitors can explore the past, present and future of the Tillamook State Forest through artifacts, personal stories, photos, film, exhibits, games, hands-on models, computer simulations, interpreter-led programs and other innovative media. Outdoors, the forest comes alive through salmon watching viewpoints, the bridge and lookout tower, and a network of interpretive trails that encourage visitors to consider the forest through the eyes of Native Americans, homesteaders, early loggers, firefighters, tree planters and future forest managers.
     

    The exhibit plan covers five major thematic zones:

    • The Early Coast Range Forest, which explores the major forces that shaped the landscape and provides a glimpse of the forest before recorded history.

    • Early Life in the Tillamook considers how people shaped the forest and how the forest shaped early life, including the Tillamook and Calapuya Indians, early explorers, homesteaders, loggers and road builders.

    • The Tillamook Burn provides a first hand look at the power of fire and the long-term implications of the massive fires of the 1930s and 1940s. "Legacy of Fire," our compelling multi-media theater experience, puts you in the midst of fire.

    • The Hand Planted Forest recalls the challenges, determination, hard work and many personal stories from the tree planting years of the 1950s, 60s and early 1970s.

    • The Forest of Today and Tomorrow delves into the work of sustainable forestry today and puts you in a forester’s boots to consider decisions and their consequences for the future. Kids can climb inside a model stream and go eye-to-eye with Chinook salmon.
       

    Programs are available to be scheduled for school groups either at the Center or in your classroom. Discovery kits are available for check out. And ongoing special events and programs offer a good reason to come back and see us.

  • The vision for the Center grew out of a desire to share the unique and meaningful story of this landscape with future generations. Planning for the Center began in 1996, led by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the non-profit Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust.
     

    Following a major homework phase that included visits to other visitor centers in the region and discussions with resource specialists, teachers and project managers, planning and concept design began in earnest in 1997. Linked with this were property acquisition, and the development of interpretation and education programs.

    Long before any facility related developments, the Oregon Department of Forestry began offering innovative education and interpretation programs for schools and for forest visitors reaching more than 6,000 people each year. The strategy: create quality educational programs, and an interested audience, well in advance of opening the Center.

    No state tax dollars were involved in creation of the Tillamook Forest Center. The total cost of the project is $10.7 million, funded in part by a partnership facilitated by the non-profit Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust. More than 400 donors-including foundations, individuals, business and organizations-have contributed to the project.

  • From the beginning, the Tillamook Forest Center was envisioned as a place where visitors could learn how their lives are connected to the natural environment. The project successfully delivers on that promise, serving as a living example of sustainable building design, construction, and operating practices with minimal environmental impact on its surroundings. This consideration for creating a “green” building ties together the environmental and interpretive missions of the Tillamook Forest Center.
     

    Following are some of the sustainable elements designed and built by the core project team of The Miller/Hull Partnership, LLP (architecture), AldrichPears Associates (interpretive design), Walker Macy (landscape architecture), and Precision Construction Co. (contractor), and the Oregon Department of Forestry.

    Responsible Water Management

    The site has been designed so that there will be no increase in the rate or quantity of storm water runoff from the site and will cause no negative impacts to water quality in the Wilson River. The 65,000 gallon forest wetland pond near the building entry performs several key tasks: harvesting and storing rain water for use in the fire sprinkler system; providing non-potable water for other building systems; as a heat exchange for the cooling system. In addition, the pond serves as a reservoir for structural and wildland fire fighters who may need water to fight fires in the surrounding region.

    Energy Efficiency

    • The award-winning building has been designed to be 30 percent more energy efficient than code with a goal of using "fossil fuel free" energy throughout.

    • The center is one of the only facilities of its size and type in North America heated by wood pellets. Pellets are made from material that was once wasted in the wood production process.

    • Natural daylight is used to meet 50 percent of the building’s average lighting needs for day lit spaces.

    • Natural ventilation is used, including 100 percent outside air wherever possible in the building.


    Sustainable Materials

    • All of the wood and wood products used on the site are from sustainably managed forests. This includes lumber harvested on site or elsewhere in the Tillamook State Forest or timber salvaged or recycled from other sites.

    • A portion of the construction budget was dedicated to materials that were manufactured or fabricated within 150 miles of the Center.

    • Special emphasis was placed on using natural or recycled materials throughout the project, including rock that was crushed on site and used for the road bed and in other areas; excavated material used for fill elsewhere on the site; trees harvested on the site used for benches and tables on site.

    • All of the building framing material (2x4’s through 2x12’s) was grown, harvested and milled less than 30 miles from the Center.


    The Tillamook Forest Center building, landscape and interpretive design Master Plan received the 2000 Award of Excellence for Landscape Planning and Analysis from the Oregon Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), the highest professional achievement award made by this group. The biennial award recognizes projects that improve the relationship of people to their environment.

  • The non-profit State Forests Trust of Oregon (formerly known as the Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust), which formed in 1999, serves as catalyst for public/private partnership in support of the recreation, education and interpretation mission of the Oregon Department of Forestry. The Trust helps enable the development of experiences that help Oregonians better understand and appreciate the Tillamook State Forest and all of Oregon’s state-owned forests.

    Leaders from forest products, environment, education and recreation communities, joined by past and present political leaders from rural and urban Oregon, are active in the Trust.

    The underlying philosophy of the Trust is that Oregon's State Forests hold unparalleled opportunities for teaching and learning about the role of forests in our lives today; about the natural and cultural history of this forest and all forests; about the responsibility and opportunity of sustainable forest management.
     

    The Trust is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization.
     

    For more information about the State Forests Trust of Oregon, please visit them online at stateforeststrust.org
     

    State Forests Trust of Oregon
    PO Box 15036
    Salem, Oregon 97309
     

    Phone: (971) 301-3055

  • The Tillamook Burn, and today’s Tillamook State Forest which has emerged from the fires of the mid-20th Century, provide a compelling setting in which to teach about all the resources and values associated with this remarkable forest, and by association, forests elsewhere in our state and region.
     

    The Tillamook Burn was the collective name for a series of wildfires that struck the northern Oregon Coast Range mountains in the 1930s and 1940s. The fires blackened more than 550 square miles and brought profound environmental, economic and social change to Northwest Oregon.

    Today’s Tillamook State Forest is the product of a monumental reforestation effort undertaken in the 1950s and 1960s. More than 72 million seedlings were planted by hand-many of them by school children and volunteers-across the blackened landscape. The site of today’s Tillamook Forest Center was entirely planted by school children in the 1950s and 1960s and was recently named a special Oregon Heritage Grove by the Oregon Heritage Tree Commission.

    The young Tillamook State Forest is now a place of hope, providing a wide range of resources and experiences, from clean water to wildlife habitat, from timber and revenues to recreation.
     

    Visit the Oregon Department of Forestry page for more information about the Tillamook and other state forests.

  • Legacy of Fire
    Story of the Tillamook Burn
     
    Here’s a short preview of the award-winning 15-minute film that plays throughout the day in the Tillamook Burn Theater. This dramatic retelling of the Tillamook Burn and reforestation story has been referred to by one travel writer as a “shattering, powerful, sensory experience.” Witness change through the eyes of those who fought the fires, planted the trees and watched the landscape change. And when you visit the Center in person, get ready for the sound, fury, smell, and sensation of fire. Copies of the DVD are for sale at the Center Gift Shop.

We’re the region’s largest forest-based learning center and outdoor classroom facility, located 50 miles west of Portland and 22 miles east of Tillamook on Oregon Highway 6.

No other place in Oregon or the Northwest provides the forest-based learning opportunities found at the Tillamook Forest Center. We’re distinguished by our forest surroundings, our focus on forest history, on the power of wildfire, and on the art and science of sustainable forest management today.
 

Other features of the Center include:

About Us   |   Jobs / Volunteer   |   Publications / Subscribe   |   FAQs   |   Photo Gallery   |   Contact Us

bottom of page