One of the great pleasures about travel across Oregon is that there is an endless supply of fascinating stories waiting to be told.

One of the most intriguing and exciting story was born in the forest just off Portland’s front step – the Tillamook State Forest. That’s where four successive and devastating fires – collectively called the Tillamook Burn – destroyed over 400,000 acres of ancient forest in the last century. You can see and hear and get a real hands-on flavor for that story at a place you may have missed along State Highway 6, the Tillamook Forest Center.

As seasons change, the signs are clear and close at hand – at long last, spring has arrived to the Oregon outdoors! Recently, I journeyed to experience the early signs of spring in the nearby Tillamook State Forest, about an hour’s drive from Portland to reach the sprawling Tillamook Forest Center. The center’s education specialist, Kristin Babbs, joined me for a walk through of the stunning $11-million complex that opened two years ago along the banks of the Wilson River.

Once I learned my history lessons inside the Tillamook Forest Center, I decided to head out onto a network of nearby trails – many of them with wonderful overlooks to the Wilson River. In fact, the Wilson River Trail is now a work in progress.

The Tillamook Forest Center is a perfect base camp for a day’s adventure – or during the summer, a longer stay at the nearby Jones Creek Campground.

Check out photos from this episode.

About the Author: Grant McOmie

Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.

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These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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