ODF, Recreation, Tillamook State Forest

Tillamook Forest Center to remain closed through 2021

The Tillamook Forest Center. Photo: Chas Hundley

The Tillamook Forest Center will remain closed through the rest of the year, the Oregon Department of Forestry said Tuesday. 

“The closure is in place to help limit exposure to COVID-19 and to protect our entire community, to comply with state office closures, and to allow us time to rebuild our staff,” the center’s Facebook page read in a statement August 31.

Initially closed at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic on March 15, 2020, the ODF-operated facility in the Tillamook State Forest, which closes its doors for the winter, remained shuttered for the rest of that season as the state, nation, and world grappled with the rapid spread of the virus. It had opened for the season less than two weeks earlier on March 4 of that year.

In the summer of 2021, when much of the state was reopening and lifting restrictions, the center remained closed to visitors. This time, it wasn’t just the disease that kept the site closed.

“We have had significant staffing changes over the last year and are focused on rebuilding our team and completing priority projects to improve our operation to better serve our visitors,” the center said in a social media post on July 1. The earliest the center could reopen was said to be September 1, ODF noted at the time.

The center’s ongoing closure includes the bridge spanning the Wilson River, linking the center directly to the Wilson River Trail, and the center’s parking lot. 

 The center is expected to open in March for the 2022 season, ODF said. 

When open, the center features a replica fire lookout tower, an interpretive center, a bridge that spans the Wilson River and links to the Wilson River Trail, a theater that shows programs related to the historic Tillamook Burn, and presentations surrounding the history, wildlife, and vegetation of the Tillamook State Forest.

More information can be found by visiting the Tillamook Forest Center website.

To stay up-to-date on the forest center’s plans, sign up for the center’s email list.

Chas Hundley is the editor of the Banks Post and sister news publications the Gales Creek Journal and the Salmonberry Magazine. He grew up in Gales Creek and has a cat.

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