Description - The Siuslaw National Forest was established in 1908 and covers over 620,000 acres. Abundant rainfall and mild winters provides growing conditions for a variety of ecosystems. The Siuslaw's temperate rain forest, coastal influence, ocean-forest interface, relatively young Douglas-fir forest, and cultural history make it unique among all other national forests.
Copyright: USDA Forest Service
Coastline, Siuslaw National Forest
Douglas-fir trees cover much of the forest as the result of catastrophic forest fires in the late 1800s and early 1900s. These fires created large open areas of ideal habitat for sun-dependent Douglas-fir trees. The Siuslaw is essentially a young forest (80-140 years) with pockets of trees as old as 400 years that escaped the fire.
The Siuslaw has two distinct vegetation zones, Sitka spruce and western hemlock. The hardy Sitka spruce zone grows where the coast influence of mild temperatures, winds, and dense fog discourage other types of vegetation. Western hemlock grows well in shade beneath the dense Douglas-fir canopy. As Douglas-fir matures, western hemlock trees take over. Both zones contain freshwater, upland, offshore, and estuarine habitats that support a wide variety of vegetation, fish and wildlife.
Recreational opportunities in the Siuslaw National Forest range from primitive to developed. Visitors can explore on their own through activities like berry picking, fishing, wildlife viewing and hiking, or they can attend scheduled activities such as guided walks, classes and exhibits.
- The Siuslaw National Forest encompasses one of the most productive and diverse landscapes in the world. Thick, tall Douglas-fir, western hemlock and Sitka spruce forests laced with miles of rivers and streams, contrast sharply with miles of open sand dunes, beaches, and freshwater lakes. These rich settings form habitats for a broad array of plants and animals and provide endless opportunities for learning. The Forest also has hundreds of recreational opportunities.
The Siuslaw is one of the two forests in the continental United States bordering the Pacific Ocean. Elevations on the Forest range from sea level to 4,049 feet.
The Cape Perpetuo Scenic Area and the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area are the main scenic attractions on the Coast; while the inland area of the Forest, which includes three wilderness areas, offers additional scenic and recreational opportunities to Forest visitors.
Drift Creek, Cummins Creek and Rock Creek are the three Wilderness Areas on the Forest. Other areas of interest include Cascade Head Scenic Research Area and Experimental Forest, Flynn Creek Research Natural Area, Kentucky Falls, Mt. Nebo, Mary's Peak Scenic Botanical Area, Neskowin Crest and Sand Lake Research Natural Areas, and the Sutton Lake area.
The Sand Lake Recreation Area lies two hours west of Portland, on 900 acres of sand dunes along the Oregon coast. There are three campgrounds in the area. It is a popular area for all terrain vehicles.
Located just five miles north of Florence, the Sutton Complex includes Alder Dune and Sutton campgrounds, as well as, Sutton Boat Launch, Holman Vista and the Baker Beach Recreation Site. The Sutton Complex offers unique trails for horses, hikers and bicycles from the coast to the forest. There is even excellent fishing in trout stocked lakes and an amphitheater featuring weekend talks.
The Oregon Dunes NRA extends along the Oregon coast from Florence to Coos Bay. In addition to some of the states finest beach areas the NRA includes numerous campgrounds, hiking trails, boat launch sites, and picnicking areas. Visitors to the NRA can hike quiet trails through lush vegetation teaming with wildlife, fish dark lakes, beachcombing for miles or hit the dunes in an ATV.
The highest point in the Coast Range at 4,097 feet, Mary's Peak, west of Corvallis, offers panoramic views of the Cascades, Willamette Valley and Coast Range. On a clear day one might see as far as the Pacific Ocean. There are several picnicking areas, over 10 miles of hiking trails (some open to mountain bikes) and a small seasonal campground. Unique plant communities add to the interest of the area; including stands of noble fir and alpine meadows.
The Cape Perpetuo Interpretive Center is a place to learn about the cultural and natural history of the central Oregon Coast. For many, however, the largest attraction is the stunning panoramic view.
Recreation - The Siuslaw offers a wide range of recreational activities. Some of these include hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, ATVs, camping, boating, fishing, and sightseeing.
Climate - Coastal weather is characterized by continually changing moods; a winter day may bring a violent rain storm yet the following day may be clear, calm, and sunny. Summer fog is common and temperatures remain mild year-round.
The Siuslaw National Forest is located in the coast mountain range of Oregon, bordering the Pacific Ocean. It stretches along the coast from Tillamook to Coos Bay, and inland to Corvalis. The Forest Headquarters is located in Corvalis.