|Before the 1930s, nearly all of the land that is today part of the Clatsop State Forest was in private ownership. Logging camps, railroads, and lumber mills were prevalent in Clatsop County due to the demand for lumber during World War I.
As tracts of timber were cut, the logged land were given to the counties in exchange for paying taxes. In 1936, Clatsop County became the first county in Oregon to deed its forestlands to the state to manage in exchange for part of the revenue generated from timber sales.
The Forest Acquisition Act, passed in 1939, further encouraged counties to deed the foreclosed lands to the Oregon Department of Forestry, giving rise to the state forest system we have today. By 1957, Clatsop County had transferred 141,000 acres to the state.
In 1973, the Oregon Board of Forestry formally dedicated 154,000 acres of forestland as the Clatsop State Forest. Today, the forest provides timber products important to local economies, wildlife habitat, and a place for people to enjoy.
Nestled in the Coast Range, the Tillamook State Forest sits in the northwest corner of Oregon, between Portland and the coast. Whatever your interest, the Tillamook State forest holds an abundance of opportunities for discovery, exploration, and learning.
The Tillamook State Forest encompasses the same area as the historic Tillamook Burn, 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.
In the years since the fires, foresters, professional tree planters and volunteers have worked 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. In total, helping hands planted 72 million seedlings giving the burned-over landscape a new start. The Tillamook Burn was officially renamed the Tillamook State Forest by Oregon Governor Tom McCall on July 18, 1973.
Today, this hand-made forest is a healthy, productive, and sustainable ecosystem that provides a full range of social, economic and environmental benefits to Oregonians. The forest is managed by the Oregon Department of Forestry out of two district offices, one in Forest Grove and one in Tillamook, with an additional field office in Columbia City.The Tillamook Forest Center offers fascinating exhibits, outdoor trails, progams for families and students, along with recreational information for forest visitors.
For more specific information about recreation on the Tillamook State Forest, visit the Tillamook State Forest blog.
Private timber companies harvested most of the forest in the Santiam Canyon between 1880 and 1930. By the 1930’s and 1940’s with the land either logged over or burned by wildfire, many of the timber companies which owned the land saw little value in the forest. Many landowners let their land return to the counties for delinquent taxes while others sold it to the county for a minimal amount. The Forest Acquisition Act, passed in 1939, encouraged counties to deed the foreclosed lands to the Oregon Department of Forestry in exchange for a share of future timber harvest revenues.
By the time the state took ownership, much of the forest already was naturally restocked with a native mix of seedlings. The only part of the Santiam State Forest that was planted by the Department of Forestry was the area burned by the 1951 Sardine Creek Fire, which burned approximately 21,400 acres northeast of Mehama.
Today, the forest is divided into several large blocks of land and numerous smaller parcels along Highway 22, approximately 20 miles from Salem. The Santiam State Forest encompasses more than 47,000 acres in the foothills of the Cascades, and is managed by the North Cascade District, within three counties: Clackamas, Marion, and Linn.
The Gilchrist State Forest is Oregon's newest state forest. Formally dedicated in 2010, the forest consists of more than 72,000 acres located in northern Klamath County about 35 miles south of Bend near the communities of Gilchrist and Crescent.
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.
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.
Formally dedicated in 1979, the Sun Pass State Forest is located in Klamath County approximately 90 miles north of Klamath Falls and just southeast of Crater Lake National Park. This 21,300-acre state forest is comprised of beautiful pine and fir forests and mountain meadows, and is managed by ODF's Klamath-Lake District.
The State of Oregon purchased the original 14,450 acres of Sun Pass State Forest from Yawkey, Woodson, Ourbacker, and Algoma Lumber Company in 1943. In 1944, Klamath County deeded an additional 480 acres to the Board of Forestry to expand the Sun Pass unit. In 1947 and 1948, the Oregon Board of Forestry bought two more parcels of private land which were added to Sun Pass. In the 1970s and 1980s, the State of Oregon and the Winema National Forest (now the Fremont-Winema National Forests) agreed on a series of forest land exchanges to expand the contiguous area of Sun Pass. The state gave up a number of small outlying parcels in exchange for 4,401 acres of United States Forest Service land adjacent to the main area of Sun Pass. These exchanges completed the expansion and consolidation of Sun Pass State Forest.
ODF also owns and manages other smaller parcels of forestland on the West Oregon, Western Lane, and Southwest Oregon districts, located primarily in the Coast Range near Corvallis, Eugene and south to the California border. These forestlands are managed for a range of benefits and values -- which by statute we call "Greatest Permanent Value" -- including economic, environmental and social benefits.