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History of the Tillamook State Forest
The Tillamook State Forest
One spark on a hot August afternoon in 1933 changed peoples lives, the landscape and the future of what is known today as the Tillamook State Forest. A series of devastating wildfires transformed the original forest into a virtual wasteland, but one of the world’s largest reforestation projects has returned the area to a sea of green.
 
The Tillamook State Forest is located in the northern Coast Range mountains west of Portland, Oregon.
 
The Tillamook Burn became the collective name for the series of large fires that began in 1933 and struck at six-year intervals through 1951, burning a combined total of 355,000 acres. The fires had profound environmental, economic and social repercussions for the coastal counties of northwest Oregon. The logging industry, a mainstay of local economies, ground to a halt. Wildlife native to the area was decimated due to habitat loss. Rivers were choked with sediment and debris. Seed cones—the genetic blueprint for a new forest—were annihilated by fire.
 
In the years since the fires, foresters, professional tree planters and volunteers have worked painstakingly to reestablish the forest and its many resources. Oregon voters passed a constitutional amendment in 1948 authorizing $12 million in bonds to rehabilitate the land. The long reforestation project, the largest ever undertaken, began in 1949. Helicopters were used for the first time for large-scale aerial seeding. On the ground, forestry crews, prison inmates and school groups planted trees by hand. In total, helping hands planted 72 million seedlings giving the burned-over landscape a new start.

Along with the reforestation came efforts at fire prevention. Crews worked to "fireproof" the forest with a network of roads that would provide better access for firefighters in the event of a fire. A network of forest lookouts was also established.
  
The new Tillamook State Forest is a place of hope. Decades of investment and hard work are beginning to pay off. Harvests of some timber are beginning to provide revenue, jobs and raw materials for counties and local communities. Healthy fish and wildlife populations have returned, bringing a sense of wildness and diversity.  People are back in the picture today: campers, hikers, anglers, off-highway vehicle enthusiasts, horseback riders.
 
This hand-made forest is managed today by the Oregon Department of Forestry to be a healthy, productive, and sustainable ecosystem that provides a full range of social, economic and environmental benefits to the people of Oregon: products we need and use every day, habitat for native fish and wildlife species, recreational opportunities, from horseback riding to mountain biking, and revenue to fund local services. The Tillamook State Forest is a land to learn from and to enjoy.

 
The Tillamook Burn was officially renamed the Tillamook State Forest by Oregon Governor Tom McCall on July 18, 1973. Today the area is covered with young trees, but the charred trunks left by the old burn still testify to the fragility of the forest resources and the ever-present need to be careful with fire.

For more information:
 
Visit the Tillamook Forest Center 
 
Tillamook Forest Center
45500 Wilson River Highway
Tillamook, Oregon 97141
Tillamook Forest Center Phone: (503) 815-6800
Toll Free: (866) 930-4646
The Tillamook Forest Center is owned and operated by the Oregon Department of Forestry
Email: tfcinfo@odf.state.or.us 

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