Current Activities

Information about forest closures is located at key access points, and closures are clearly marked on-site. Harvest areas are extremely dangerous for visitors and harvest crews, with hazards from falling trees and large equipment. Thank you for your respect of these safety closures. 

Posted 8/17/2017  Bells for Bikes Pilot Test at Oak Creek

In an effort to make our trails safer and more enjoyable for every type of user, the OSU Research Forests, in partnership with Peak Sports, are ringing in something new. Bells will be available at the Oak Creek trailhead for mountain bikers to borrow for their trail ride. These bells will easily attach to the riders’ handlebars or saddle and will provide an easy way to alert other forest users that a bike is approaching. Visitors will simply take a bell out of the bell box at the beginning of their ride and return it when they’re done. If you would like your own personal bell, they are available for purchase at Peak Sports. 

This pilot test, running from August 17, 2017 – October 31, 2017, is hopefully just the beginning of improving enjoyment for every type of trail user that comes to our forest. If you use or encounter these bells on the trails, go ahead and fill out this survey in order to provide us with feedback and make improvements before we fully implement this program at other trailheads in the Research Forests. 

Posted 8/17/2017  OSU Research Forests Gear Up for Big Eclipse Weekend

As all of us are well aware, we expect to see a giant influx of visitors into Benton County over the next few days. While we do not have any special events planned, we do expect to see an increase in use throughout the long weekend, as out of town visitors adventure on their vacations and try to find good locations from which to watch the eclipse. Expect to encounter congestion on access roads, at trailheads and parking areas, and on some trails.

Fire is our biggest concern with an influx of out of town visitors who are unfamiliar with the Forest. In an effort to prevent camping and fires, and also to provide information and support to visitors, we will have several teams of employees patrolling the Forests on Saturday and Sunday afternoon/evenings, as well as early Monday morning. Several of these employees are fire trained, and all vehicles will carry water and fire tools. We have two water tanks mounted on trucks, and staged on opposite ends of the McDonald Forest to respond to any fires that might occur. We will also be posting temporary signs at each official entry point onto the forest, with no smoking, no camping, and no fires graphics clearly displayed.

As an FYI, parking will be prohibited at the 540 Gate (across from Adair Village) Thursday-Tuesday to allow emergency access by Adair Rural Fire District.

If you see a fire, dial 911. They will handle the dispatching of all resources over the weekend. We rely on our awesome visitors to help us respond as quickly as possible in the event of a fire.  Enjoy this special event and stay safe!

Posted 8/2/2017  High Fire Danger on the Forests  

Temperatures are soaring and humidity is low - risk of wildfire is high. Due to this week's heat wave, Benton County has instituted a total burn ban until further notice. This ban applies to homeowners and prohibits all fires, including backyard fire pits. On the OSU Research Forests, we are following Oregon Department of Forestry regulations and observing Industrial Fire Level III Precautions in all of our operations.

As a reminder, fires of any kind are prohibited on the OSU Research Forests, including (but not limited to) cigarettes, fireworks, campfires, or anything that creates a spark or flame.  

We rely on our wonderful visitors for quick notification of fire activity.  If you see a fire or smell smoke, please call 911 immediately. Thank you for your help!

Click here to read the Albany Democrat-Herald's article on Linn and Benton Counties' fire bans. 

Posted 7/31/2017  Illegal Vandalism Results in Injuries to Two Forest Visitors

This weekend, someone/s removed signage, pulled down flagging, and damaged fencing at several locations associated with the Quick Draw harvest, which started on Friday.  This resulted in serious injuries for two cyclists descending from McCullough Peak onto the 680 Road.  At this location, an a-frame barricade with closure signage had been set 80 feet before high visibility orange fencing strung across the 680 Road (securely attached with a nylon cord).  Over the weekend, someone removed the warning a-frame.  Someone also broke or cut the fencing material so that they were able to pull it back like a curtain, leaving a nearly invisible nylon cord suspended across the road.  Two cyclists descending from McCullough Peak were seriously injured in separate incidents, one by hitting the nylon cord, and the other by falling to avoid the fence.  Both resulted in emergency room/urgent care visits.  The unlawful actions of by someone/s removing the visual cues resulted in two severe accidents involving visitors to the Forests!

The warning a-frame has been re-placed 80 feet before the fencing on the 680 road, with ribbon strung out to the side to indicate an upcoming closure.  In addition, the fence has been lowered so the cord is lower than handlebar height, and pink ribbon has been weaved into the fencing for higher visibility. 

These warnings only work if they are in place.  This type of vandalism is dangerous with real consequences.  Please spread the word and help us prevent this from happening again.   


Updated 7/28/2017  Quick Draw Thin and Clear Cut Closure Reinstated 7/28 on the 680 Road and Surrounding Area

Harvest activities on the Quick Draw unit are re-starting on 7/28, after being put on hold last winter due to wet weather conditions.  We are currently in Phase II of the closure: all roads and trails shown in red and blue on the harvest map are closed, as well as the harvest area itself.  The 682 Road, a portion of the 680 Road, and all smaller connector roads are closed.  The 700 and 760 Roads are currently open.  Closed unauthorized trails include “The Plunge,” “Innuendo” and “Funnel Cake.” Hauling is occurring on the 600 Road out of the Oak Creek gate.  

Click here for a map of the closure area and more information about the project.

Information about the harvest:

  • The Quick Draw Thin is approximately 141 acres, designed to remove suppressed, poor growing, and ice damaged conifers.  An additional 7 acre clear-cut is designed to produce additional revenue to support student learning in the College of Forestry and to address an understocked stand. 
  • Harvesting will be completed by a ground-based harvester, which removes the tree from the stump and cuts it to specified lengths.  A forwarder then picks up the logs and brings them to the road for loading onto a truck.  In the steeper portions of the harvest area (30% slope +), both the harvester and forwarder will use a new technology called a tethered assist cable system to minimize soil compaction and allow for operation during wetter periods.  
  • Researchers from OSU College of Forestry are conducting a study on the tethered assist harvesting system, looking at machine traction, soil disturbance and compaction, operator health and safety, and operation costs.

Updated 7/24/2017  Second Harvest to Start on 7/25 within the Existing Public Closure on Homestead Trail in Oak Creek Area

Update: The 6021 Uneven Age harvest will be starting tomorrow morning, 7/25, within the closure area already in effect for Urban Clear as part of a long term demonstration project.  Click here for more information about both of these harvests, as well as a map of the closure area.  

Urban Clear Background: Starting on Thursday, 6/29/2017, public use closures in the Oak Creek area will be in effect for the Urban Clear harvest 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Closures will include a segment of the Homestead Trail, allowing only out-and-back access (no loop). Additional closures include Roads 6021, 6021.1, 6021.3 and all unauthorized trails accessing the area, including those leading from private residences. Parking restrictions will be in effect at Oak Creek to allow the passage of log trucks.

This clear cut is approximately 15 acres, and is scheduled to run through August 2017. This harvest is designed to produce revenue and to support student learning in the College of Forestry. The harvest is also designed to support a research project in the College of Forestry’s Forest Engineering and Resource Management department, where researchers are evaluating soil nutrients potentially removed by the harvesting activity. 

This harvest will employ ground-based harveseting equipment to first remove high value trees to be used as utility poles, followed by a clearcut. To learn more about why the OSU Research Forests sometimes prescribe clearcuts, see page 20 of this newsletter article from 2016.


Posted 7/19/2017  OSU Research Forests Applies for Conditional Use Permit with Benton County Planning Comission

The OSU Research Forests is in the process of applying for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) with the Benton County Planning Commission.  Most of McDonald Forest and the portion of Dunn Forest that is within Benton County are zoned for Forest Conservation. While some activities are automatically allowed in the Forest Conservation Zone (timber harvest, forest road construction, herbicide use, etc.), recreation uses and facilities require Conditional Use Permit review and approval by the Benton County Planning Commission.

 Read more about the why we are applying for a Conditional Use Permit here.

 Review the Conditional Use Permit application and materials here:

Connect with us! Click here to connect with us directly to ask questions or provide constructive feedback regarding the potential projects in the plan. This will help us establish relevant priorities and shape the future of the recreation program. 

Provide your official comments to Benton County Planning Commission regarding the Conditional Use Criteria at the public hearing on August 1st (7:00pm in Benton County Sunset Building). Written testimony may be submitted to County Staff in advance of the hearing, or directly to the Planning Commission at the hearing.  Send written testimony (prior to hearing) to:

E-mail: kevin.young@Co.Benton.OR.US

Mail: Kevin Young
Benton County Community Development 
360 SW Avery Avenue
Corvallis, OR 97333


Updated 7/11/2017  Public Closures for Broom Stick Clearcut Lifted - Public Free to Use the Area

Harvest operations have been completed on Broom Stick Clearcut, and visitors are free to use the area, including Roads 770 and 6023.  

Harvest Information:  This 29 acre clearcut was designed to produce revenue and to support student learning in the College of Forestry.  In addition, researchers with the College of Forestry are evaluating effects of harvesting on stream characteristics. Researchers will be measuring stream temperature and flow dynamics to determine if there is a correlation with harvesting activities.  Per Oregon Forest Practices Act guidelines, a minimum of two, high value wildlife trees were left standing, as well as a minimum of two downed logs will be left per acre.  A 50-foot, no-cut buffer protects a small stream located along the northern edge of the unit.  OSU Research Forests will re-plant the stand with approximately 13,000 Douglas-fir seedlings.

Posted 7/11/2017 Hunting Applications Now Accepted for Dunn Forest

Throughout the month of July, the public is invited to submit applications to hunt on the Dunn Forest for several hunts.  This walk-in hunting experience is a special opportunity that is well loved in our community.  Random selections are made in early August.  

For more information and to submit your application, click here!  


Posted 6/13/2017 Public Closures for Grand Stand Harvest on the Dunn Forest Starting 6/13

Starting Tuesday, 6/13/2017, closures associated with the Grand Stand Harvest area will be in place on the 110 Roads (and connecting roads) on the Dunn Forest.  Parking will be limited at the 100 Gate, and hauling will occur through the 100 and 110 Roads. This harvest is scheduled to run from June-September, 2017, and closures are in place 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

See a map of the closure area here.

The Grand Stand consists of 67 acres of thinning, and a 7 acre clearcut. The thinning portion is designed to remove diseased, damaged and dying trees resulting from the 2014 ice storm. The clearcut portion is designed to provide revenue to the College of Forestry and to remove trees being impacted by root rot. Revenue generated in these operations will support teaching, research, demonstration and learning in the College of Forestry. 

The harvest will employ ground-based harvest methods in both the clearcut and thinning areas. Per Oregon Forest Practices Act guidelines, a minimum of two, high value wildlife trees will be left standing, as well as a minimum of two downed logs will be left per acre in the clearcut area. A 50-foot, no-cut buffer will protect a small stream located within the unit.  After harvest, OSU Research Forests will re-plant the stand with approximately 3,000 Western Red Cedar seedlings.


Updated 1/23/2016  Area Closures Lifted - Road Work Remains
Several closures have been lifted throughout the McDonald and Dunn Forests in recent months (Chip Ross/Charlie Meadows, Dunnit, Pine Raceway Thin, CFIRP Patch Cuts, and the 670 Clear), and members of the public are free to use these areas.  Please note that additional work remains to be completed on the roads, so please keep this in mind when traveling through these areas.  

Updated 11/10/2016  770 Thin Closure in Oak Creek Area Lifted Until Next Summer

The 770 Thin/CC closure area has been lifted, and the 770 Road is now open for public use.  With the significant rain received in October, some damage occurred to the 770 Road and one of the roads used within the harvest unit.  Out of concern for further road damage and to prevent additional resource damage within the harvest area, we have decided to delay the rest of the planned harvest until conditions are drier.  

The damaged road within the harvest area has been stabilized to prevent soil erosion during winter months.  Full repair of this road will occur following the completion of the harvest next summer when conditions are drier.  Expect to encounter muddy conditions when traveling in the area, and please be patient with us as we work to get the roads returned to pre-harvest standards.  We expect to finish the harvest and complete final road repair in summer of 2017.

Road Work

Intermittent road maintenence activities occur on the OSU Research Forests.  Please yield to the trucks.  Use extreme caution when approaching operating equipment and only pass when given the OK.

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