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.