The Learning Shelter at
the Smith Homestead

COVID-19 Update

In order to limit exposure to COVID-19, the Tillamook Forest Center is closed to the public until further notice. This closure includes the gates to the bridge and parking lot and all events, programs, and facility rentals. By taking this proactive step, we may limit exposure to this virus and help protect our entire community, particularly those most vulnerable. While the center is closed to the public, staff will remain accessible via email (tfc.info@oregon.gov).

Thank you so much for your interest in renting our facilities for your event in 2021. We have recently completed planning for 2021 events and have worked to navigate the rental decision process through the lens of COVID-19. Providing for public, staff, and volunteer safety is our first priority and we have tried to work through various scenarios which would allow facility rentals to go forward while ensuring safety. After much internal discussion and consideration, we have made the determination that we are not able to support facility rentals at the Smith Homestead or Tillamook Forest Center in 2021.

This decision was made due to the extra pressures that the pandemic places on our limited staff capacity, and the many unknown impacts generated from a number of factors:

  • Maintaining our facilities in order to ensure safety will require additional work in cleaning and maintenance that place pressures on our already very limited facility maintenance staff.
  • The center relies heavily on volunteers to meet our mission and the availability of volunteers to assist for 2021 is unknown, and may remain so for some time to come, due to the potential risks to volunteer health.
  • The 2020 visitor season saw huge increases in visitation to state forest lands which placed incredible pressure on many of the highly-popular recreation facilities, including the Smith Homestead Day Use Area. It is unknown at this time how this increase in visitor use may impact our operations going forward. It also makes it challenging to limit crowding to ensure public health and safety.
  • Adding facility rental use to this already-high visitor pressure creates concerns about excessive crowding in terms of public health and will also negatively impact the quality of experience for facility renters.

We wish you all the very best in your event planning. Collectively, we look forward to the future when we are able to have more certainty about our operations again.