The Tillamook Forest Center

May 29, 2008

Many environmental disasters have impacted Oregon, and perhaps the most disastrous was the Tillamook forest fire of 1933, with repeats in 1939, 1945, and 1951 known as the Six Year Jinx.

Over 12 billion board feet of timber in an area of about 360,000 acres was destroyed, similar in magnitude to the St. Helens eruption in 1980.

The eventual success in reforestation was achieved by many volunteers, scientific research, new replanting techniques, contributions by both private and public agencies, and most importantly the bond financing by the State of Oregon in 1949.

The new Tillamook Forest Center, located astride the Wilson River, some 30 miles west of Forest Grove, is a tribute to these efforts. This facility, housed in a building similar to a small sawmill, features interactive displays, memorabilia, videos, a donkey, a replica of a 40 ft. fire lookout tower and state of the art environment friendly utility systems . . . Everything is very clean and well maintained.

We departed Shopko at 8am, with a rest break at the Santiam, then via backroads in scenic countryside through Newberg, Gaston, and Forest Grove to the Wilson River Highway #-6.

At TFC, Jim Reeher from a pioneer family, presented a very good slide show on home-steading. We enjoyed our sack lunches outside in rare pleasant sunny weather.

The 15 minute film LEGACY OF FIRE, is breath-taking. We had plenty of time to enjoy the river, the trails and wild flowers and all the exhibits. Their staff was most cordial and helpful.

Our return route was to Forest Grove, #47 to McMinnville for the obligatory ice cream at the DQ, and 99-W to Corvallis and home at 6:30. Driver Ralph Perry, was excellent, logging in 302 miles.

Thirty five riders, including seven guests are members: Tom Adamcyk, Rick Ahrens, Ewart Baldwin, Barbara Beard, Paul Beard, Louise Behnke, Stephen Brander, Mary Lee Cheadle, Robert Eaton, Patricia Esch, Rachele Fiszman, Barbara Flanders, Dennis Flanders, Bette Hack, Dora Harris, Sachiko Iwasaki, Ben Jeffries, Ray Jensen (leader), Patrice McCaffrey, John McManigal, Lenore McManigal, Barbara Payne, Don Payne, Jim Pierce, Liz Reanier, Janet Speelman, Mary Ellen West and Vera Woolley; and nonmembers: Ben Kirk, Gloria Layden, Joan McCaffrey, Carolyn Rayborn, Judi Scranton, Viola Stults and Carol Volesky.

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