ODF, Recreation, Tillamook State Forest

Tillamook Forest Center to remain closed through most of summer

The Tillamook Forest Center. Photo: Chas Hundley

The Tillamook Forest Center will remain closed until at least September.

The Oregon Department of Forestry-owned and operated facility and property, located along the Wilson River in the heart of the Tillamook State Forest, closed in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.

“To help limit exposure to COVID-19 and help protect our entire community, the Tillamook Forest Center will be closed to the public until further notice,” the center said on their Facebook page on March 15, 2020. 

The facility had opened for the season less than two weeks prior on March 4.

Nearly 16 months later, the center remains 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. 

No firm date for reopening was given, with the center noting only that the center could open sometime after September 1, 2021. 

With a usual closure for the winter in December, when Highway 6 can become an icy and dangerous highway, if the center does open in September, it would be a short season, with most of the summer gone.

If the center does reopen, fall and winter activities — salmon releases, wreath making, and more, could return before the site closes again for the winter.

The center said that other state agencies are also postponing reopening efforts in the same time frame. 

With the center’s closure, a host of regular and special events designed to educate and inform visitors about the wildlife, use, and history of the Tillamook State Forest were cancelled. 

To bridge the gap, the center hosted numerous online videos, trivia games, and more to continue their mission. 

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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