Gilchrist State Forest
Welcome to central Oregon's state forest! |
The 43,200-acre Gilchrist State Forest is located about 45 miles south of Bend adjacent to U.S. Highway 97.
It is the first new Oregon State Forest established in almost 70 years, and was dedicated in June 2010.
Welcome remarks from Oregon Governor Ted Kulongoski during Gilchrist State Forest dedication ceremony - June 11, 2010 – WMV video file 48 Mb
|A growing forest|
The forest will be managed to provide a mix of environmental, social and economic benefits to the region, consistent with objectives in the Eastern Oregon Region Forest Management Plan adopted by the Oregon Board of Forestry. |
Both the size of the forest, and the size of its trees, reflect a growing future. Much of what is now the Gilchrist State Forest was harvested in the 1990’s, before the land came into public ownership. It will take several decades before the stands take on the characteristics of a mature forest, with a mix of trees of many sizes, including large Ponderosa pines.
Meanwhile, the size of the Gilchrist State Forest could grow pending proposed acquisitions. ODF has worked with the non-profit conservation group, The Conservation Fund, to acquire nearly 25,000 acres through funds made available by Oregon legislatively-approved bonds and federal grants.
|Photos of the Gilchrist State Forest|
Composite photo panorama from Fremont Siding Butte
|View the panorama photo composite looking out from Fremont Summit Butte (6 Mb file widescreen) |
Additional photos of the Gilchrist State Forest
|Public Use and Recreation|
The Gilchrist State Forest provides public access for a variety of compatible uses. Visitors may enjoy day hikes, a self-guided auto tour of the forest, camping opportunities (no services provided), off-highway vehicle (OHV) recreation on designated roads, wildlife viewing and wildlife use subject to Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife regulations using the ‘informal dispersed recreation’ model that ODF has employed on the Sun Pass State Forest near Crater Lake. ODF maps to guide hiking, camping and OHV use are not currently available.
As always in forested areas, visitors should keep safety in mind during their recreational activities, and are asked to observe wildfire-safety precautions and to keep the forest free of litter and debris.
The Oregon Department of Forestry allows firewood cutting for a fee on state forestlands. Permits and additional information are available from the Klamath-Lake District office.
|Oregon Lottery Media Campaign for the Gilchrist State Forest|
Purchase of the lands for the Gilchrist State Forest was possible through a variety of creative funding strategies, including the use of Oregon Lottery dollars. In the fall of 2010, the Oregon Lottery features a media campaign about the use of lottery bonds to purchase this first new state forest in more than 60 years. The campaign includes billboards, print, and web content, and advertisements on both radio and television.
Video: Gilchrist State Forest - Oregon Lottery TV Ad [wmv; 30 seconds; 5,287 KB]
Oregon Lottery - Gilchrist State Forest project information web page
|Fire Season Restrictions|
Fire Season in the Walker Range District (the association providing fire protection for the Gilchrist State Forest) ended Saturday October 20, 2012.
Oregon Department of Forestry and Walker Range Forest Protective District staff thank you for your assistance in keeping Oregon's newest state forest protected from fire this summer.
Please be safe with fire in Oregon's forests.
The Gilchrist forest tract, and the town of Gilchrist, was established in 1938. The current Gilchrist State Forest was part of larger timber holdings owned by the Gilchrist Timber Company for most of the 20th century. The community of Gilchrist was among Oregon’s last operating “company towns,” serving as the site of the company sawmill and home to many of its workers.
Gilchrist, Oregon 1939 - Photo by Dorothea Lange, USDA
The Gilchrist family sold the property and mill in 1991 to Crown Pacific, which liquidated the forest to pay debt and eventually entered bankruptcy in 2003. The land, which once supported expanses of large Ponderosa pine trees, was heavily harvested in the early 1990s, following the Gilchrist Timber Company sale. The area was replanted as required by Oregon’s Forest Practices Act; as a result, most of the trees in the Gilchrist forest are about 20 years old.
The State of Oregon purchased the property in March 2010 from Fidelity National Timber Resources, which had owned it since 2006. The purchase was financed by bond sales, to be repaid over 20 years using proceeds from the Oregon Lottery.
Information about forest conditions, public use and management of the Gilchrist State Forest is provided by ODF’s Klamath-Lake District in Klamath Falls.
ODF Klamath-Lake District
3200 DeLap Road
Klamath Falls, OR 97601
Fire prevention information and current fire safety information for the forest is available from the Walker Range Forest Protective Association in Crescent.
Walker Range FPA
P.O. Box 665
Gilchrist, OR 97737
135393 Highway 97
Crescent, OR 97733
Phone: (541) 433-2451
Fax: (541) 433-2215
Program management is provided by the ODF State Forests Division in Salem.
News media and general questions about the Gilchrist State Forest can be directed to the ODF Public Affairs Office.