Cultural Resources

Planning Around the Past - Excerpt from 2014 Spring Newsletter

When visiting a place, it’s easy to think of it only in the present-tense. Today, the OSU College Forests serve as an educational resource and recreation opportunity, and are used by students, community members, and researchers. Have you ever wondered what this area looked like a hundred years ago? What about a thousand years back? Our College Forests have a rich history and pre-history that, unknown to many people, is closely protected under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966.


Many different peoples have contributed to a rich history on the lands now known as the College Forests. This area is included in the traditional homeland of the Lukiamiute Kalapuyan people, who lived here for more than 10,000 years before the arrival of European settlers. College of Forestry Dean George Wilcox Peavy purchased the first 341 acres of the forest in 1924. Today, the McDonald and Dunn constitute 11,250 acres. 

The College Forests are by no means static. Natural processes, along with recreation and educational activities, all instigate change. Taking care of the College Forests necessitates the installation of facilities such as signs, bridges, trails, culverts and roads. Forest management activities are performed to improve forest health and generate revenue.

For each of these actions, a great deal of consideration goes into protecting cultural resources. The State Historic Preservation Office requires the College Forests to have a certified   archeologist survey the site to determine if cultural resources are present before initiating any ground-disturbing activities. If an historic site or artifact is found, the proposed activity is cancelled or plans are altered to prevent ground-disturbing activities in that location. The locations of cultural sites are  recorded in College Forests records to prevent future damage and support future planning. These records are kept secure to prevent vandalism or unintentional damage to cultural sites.  Approximately 35 confirmed historic and prehistoric sites exist on the McDonald and Dunn Forests.

If you find something that might be an artifact during your time on the Forest, it is against the law to remove the item. Please let us know about the item and we will work with our contracted archeologist to protect it. 

Cultural Resources are the remains of sites, structures or objects used by man in the past. They may be historic, prehistoric, archeological, or architectural in nature and may, in some cases, be grouped into districts on the basis of shared characteristics. The term "cultural resources" refers here only to actual physical things, places, structures or artifacts which are material evidence of a past way of life (Kaiser et al. 1983).

Protocol for Protection of Cultural Resources