Places to see in Oregon--Tillamook Forest Center
40 Ft Lookout Tower
My grand-son and I visited the The Tillamook Forest Center, in the Tillamook State Forest, Tillamook Oregon, this last weekend and we were pleasantly surprised ! The Center has something for everyone both inside and outside.
Inside you can view a movie of the what is called the Tillamook Burn which shows the power and devastation of a forest fire. Tillamook Forest had a series of intense fires between 1933 and 1951 which blackened 550 square miles, however thousands of Oregonians pitched in and hand planted more than 72 million Douglas Fir trees and the forest was reborn. It is now a beautiful green place once again, full of life and a joy to visit and explore.
Also, inside, are various interactive displays that educate one about trees, the history of logging, facts about the tree replanting that was done and about the Salmon that come up the Wilson River which runs directly behind the Center . There is also a Gift Shop that is well stocked with great souveniers, staff naturalists are on hand to assist with any questions, or to guide you on a tour, and of course, Smokey the Bear is standing watch just inside the doorway. He is a wood statue about 6ft tall and loves to have his picture taken with visitors!
Outside, there are alot of interesting adventures. You can climb the 40 Ft Lookout Tower and view the surrounding area and imagine what you would do if you saw smoke coming from somewhere. At the top of the tower is a one room recreation of a smoke tower lookout's home. There was a small cot to sleep on, a small stove to cook on and a two way radio to call for help.
Also, outside was a suspension bridge that crossed the Wilson River. If it had been salmon season we could have watched the salmon returning up the river. As it was it made for a pleasant walk and view and some beautiful pictures of the rapid water and surrounding forest. We did get to see some kayaks pass by. There were steps that allowed access to walk by the river and a bench to rest on. It was fun to just sit and think of what might have taken place here many years before as history says Calapuya Indians and some of the first explorers and settlers in Oregon lived near by. There are also many trails that can be hiked, one which takes you to the early homestead of a couple who blazed a 13 mile trail to build a home. The trail later became a wagon and stagecoach route.
Our favorite display was of a "Steam Donkey". These huge machines, invented in 1880, were used in logging operations to haul the logs to waterways, railroads, and mills. My grand-son was quite interested in this and we had the opportunity to ask one of the staff naturalists some questions. It was a great history lesson for both of us as neither of us had ever heard of a "Steam Donkey" before. I am sure my grand-son went online as soon as he got home to do more research on the subject.
All in all, we had quite a wonderful visit to this Center. I would recommend it highly to anyone. Admission is free.
Check out the Links listed below for more information.