The Tillamook forestry center is a great place to start a trip to the coast, even if your primary goal has more to do with beaches and the ocean than the Oregon Coast Range. The Forestry Center features exhibits highlighting forest regeneration and the evolution in forest management since the 1933 wildfires, a 40-foot tall replica of a fire watchtower, a 250-foot long suspension bridge, and excellent ground and building design by the awarded Portland firm Thomas Hacker Architects. And there is no entrance fee!
Using the Forestry Center as a trailhead, cross the bridge and head south along the 20-mile long Wilson River Trail, where you will quickly encounter numerous swimming holes. If you visit in the summer you will also find plenty of wildflowers: great hedge nettle, flowering self-heal, foxglove, monkey flower, broad-leaved penstemon, and cow poison (a type of larkspur) are all common.
While you are in the area, consider the grueling 2,780-foot climb up to one of the best views in the Coast Range. A hike to the summit of Kings Mountain is worth the effort, and you'll get spectacular views of the entire range and beyond, including Mount Hood and the Pacific Ocean.
The Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests are 45 minutes outside of Portland’s backdoor and one of the state’s best keep secrets. But these forests also have a fraught history with logging, fires and more logging. They are now 50 to 70 years into the recovery process and offer prime habitat for vibrant communities of fish and wildlife, as well as an immense array of recreational opportunities. The Wilson and Kilchis rivers host globally important runs of Chinook, chum, coho and steelhead. Both forests provide camping, biking, fishing, hunting and hiking grounds for thousands of Oregonians, and they also provide over 400,000 people with clean drinking water.
Wild Salmon Center is a founding member of the North Coast State Forest Coalition, a diverse group of over 100 businesses, governing bodies and nonprofits working to leverage public support to increase forest and streamside protection along the North Coast. These popular and biologically important areas deserve real protection. That’s why we’re asking state and federal leaders to protect 33,000 acres of land around the Wilson and Kilchis Rivers and another 8,000 acres around Kings Mountain. It’s no easy task ensuring a future for these forests but this is where you can help.
Learn more about the North Coast State Forest Coalition, on their website. Join in the coalition by signing up for their newsletter and signing on to the latest action alerts to protect the Wilson/Kilchis and Kings Mountain.