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Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center

Promoting conservation through educational experiences in wilderness.
721 NW 9th Avenue, Suite 236, Portland OR, 97209
Phone: (503) 892-2782 |
What does a $100 contribution do for this organization?
A $100 contribution subsidizes a three-day field education program for two disadvantaged students in Opal Creek's inspiring ancient forest.
Why does this donor support this organization?
“This was another fantastic trip to Opal Creek! I really love that students are exposed to concepts of conservation and sustainability because they see it is a way of life here.” –Laura, teacher, McMinnville High School
How do volunteers make a difference for this organization?
We rely on volunteers to help maintain historic buildings and modernize infrastructure at our 1930s mining town turned education center.

Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center annually introduces over 3,000 people to Opal Creek’s dynamic ancient forest ecology and the functioning of an intact headwaters watershed. Founded in 1989 (as Friends of Opal Creek) to seek permanent protection from logging, Opal Creek Ancient Forest Center now offers outdoor school programs, natural history workshops, and summer youth backpacking, as well as cabin rentals for community groups, businesses, and families.

The spectacular ancient forest features groves of 500-1,000 year-old trees, dozens of crystal clear streams and waterfalls, and provides habitat for a startling array of native species from owls to amphibians. The Opal Creek Wilderness and Scenic Recreation Area is the largest intact ancient forest ecosystem in Oregon.

Opal Creek's educational activities are based in the historic 1930s mining town of Jawbone Flats. Nestled at the confluence of the two headwaters of the Little North Santiam River, the Jawbone Flats campus provides a unique ecological and cultural setting from which to consider the past, present, and future of sustainable relationships between people and environment.

Field programs for schools, colleges, and community groups combine hands-on science with study of Opal Creek’s distinct human history, stemming from the region’s earliest Native American inhabitants through several eras of mining, to the successful conservation effort that gained permanent federal protection for Opal Creek in 1996.

Students of all ages come to Opal Creek to experience undisturbed forests that once covered most of Oregon but today are increasingly rare. Learning the area’s natural and cultural history consistently increases visitors’ appreciation of the natural world and sense of responsibility for its conservation.

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