The vision for the Center grew out of a desire to share the unique and meaningful story of this landscape with future generations. Planning for the Center began in 1996, led by the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF), the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and the non-profit Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust.
Following a major homework phase that included visits to other visitor centers in the region and discussions with resource specialists, teachers and project managers, planning and concept design began in earnest in 1997. Linked with this were property acquisition, and the development of interpretation and education programs. Long before any facility related developments, the Oregon Department of Forestry began offering innovative education and interpretation programs for schools and for forest visitors reaching more than 6,000 people each year. The strategy: create quality educational programs, and an interested audience, well in advance of opening the Center.
No state tax dollars were involved in creation of the Tillamook Forest Center. The total cost of the project is $10.7 million, funded in part by a partnership facilitated by the non-profit Tillamook Forest Heritage Trust. More than 400 donors-including foundations, individuals, business and organizations-have contributed to the project.