Visitor Information

College Forests Office
(541) 737-4452

OSU Class Use

The College of Forestry and other classes at OSU use the Forest as a living laboratory. Students receive hands on experience in everything from making forest measurements to studying aquatic plants and wildlife. Many areas used for classes are very sensitive and are closed to recreational access.

  • Please stay on authorized roads and trails designated for your mode of travel.
  • Be courteous if you come across a class in session and go around quietly.
  • Watch for vans and other vehicles used to transport students while traveling on forest roads.

Trail and Road Closures

This forest is actively managed for timber and other resources. Please observe area, trail, and road closures; and detours. Travel with caution on forest roads, and stay away from any equipment, cable or log decks.  For more information about current closures, please visit our Current Activities page.

Poison Oak

Watch out for poison oak! Poison oak leaves, stems, roots and berries contain urushiol, an irritating chemical that gives most people an itchy rash when they touch the plant. Try to avoid the plant, and protect yourself by wearing long clothing. The chemical is present throughout the year, so learn to recognize poison oak's ever-changing characteristics.

Poison oak grows as a vine, a shrub, or even tall and treelike. In the spring, the green to reddish green leaflets will be small and shiny. During the summer, watch for poison oak with three leaflets and greenish white flowers and berries. The leaflets turn to red in the fall.

In the winter, watch for poison oak with its tan slender twigs and naked buds. Poison oak will climb trees and may have grasping tendrils.

If you come in contact with poison oak, there is time to prevent a rash. Remove plant oil from skin as soon as possible by washing with soap several times, or using a special product such as Fels Naptha or Tecnu. Do not scrub skin. If rash starts, do not use hot water on skin and do not scratch infected area.

Poison oak oil can also be spread second hand. Wash clothes and pets that have come in contact with the plant.


Stinging Nettle

Similar to poison oak, Stinging Nettle is a plant with skin irritating compounds. When skin comes into contact with the leaves of a nettle, hollow hairs can pierce the skin and deposit histomine, acetylcoline, and seratonin. In compound with it's acids, this venom causes irritation and a stinging rash. Nettle is a common riparian understory plant, and can be found near ant body of water, including marshes.


      Stinging Nettle in Bloom                                       Stinging Nettle


With increasing recreation on the OSU College Forests more people are seeing wildlife, including cougars. Cougars have proven to be very adaptable and in many areas live in close proximity to people. They are curious and may occasionally, as house cats do, observe people and activity from nearby cover, or even follow people.

For more information or reports on cougar sightings, please contact the College Forests office at 737-4452.

Black Bears

Black bear are considered not to be as big a threat as cougars. However, bear populations are about five times higher. Black bears generally are not a danger to people, but can cause problems with trash receptacles or pet food.

Black bears are generally omnivores and/or herbivores occasionally eating animals that are dead or newborn.

For more information or reports on black bear sightings, please contact the College Forests office at 737-4452.

cougarBlack Bear /Cougar Encounter Tips

  • BE ALERT & AWARE of your surroundings. Cougars tend to be out at dusk/dawn.
  • Keep your children close to you and your pets on a leash.
  • If you spot a bear or cougar STAY CALM and don't approach them. Move away slowly and speak softly to it. Try not to show fear and DO NOT RUN. Running could cause the animal to chase you--you cannot outrun them.
  • Step out of their path, on the downhill side, and leave slowly. Give them a way to escape.
  • Females are very protective of their babies. Coming between a female and her offspring is very dangerous. If you see a cub or kitten nearby, try to move away from it. The mother is most likely close by.