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Willamette National Forest
Willamette National Forest
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The Willamette National Forest Destination is centered around the federal land of the same name. The destination covers a wide range of geographical features in central Oregon in the United States. Notable cities that fall within the region's boundaries include Eugene, Springfield, and Bend, all exclusively within Oregon. One of the most prominent attractions in the area is Crater Lake and its corresponding national park to the south of the area's borders. The climate in the Willamette National Forest Destination is comparatively cold, though without much annual rainfall.

What Willamette National Forest is known for

One of the most notable attractions in the Willamette National Forest Destination is Crater Lake National Park in the region's southern portion. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, with its lowest point being 1943 feet under the water's surface. Apart from that fact, the most unique aspect of the lake is the fact that it rests directly in the bowl of a dormant volcano. A significant eruption collapsed the main bulk of the volcano nearly 8000 years ago.[9] The lake is known for its clear waters, and the national park around it has many acres of wooded areas to explore. Visitors to the lake exceed 700,000 annually.[2] 

Throughout the rest of the destination, it is difficult to estimate exactly how many people visit per year. What is known, however, is that the peak tourism season for the Willamette National Forest Destination is between June and September, when the weather is the most accommodating, based on rates of temperature and humidity. This is not surprising considering the number of outdoor activities to do in the area. Activities such as hiking and fishing are expected for the region. The largest city nearby is Eugene, Oregon. With a population of around 165,000, it acts as a small metropolitan area.[10] Eugene has its own variety of attractions, including the Oregon Truffle Festival, hiking, the largest covered outdoor skating park in the United States, and bike riding. In fact, Eugene is one of the most bike-friendly cities in the nation.[3] Eugene also prides itself on its small business and local products. A few examples include Cosmos Creations and their kernel-free puffed corn, Euphoria Chocolate Company with various chocolates and other confections, and the Kurzhal Family Kickin' Pickles with their pickled cucumbers and other vegetables.[7] 

The namesake of the destination is the Willamette National Forest, which covers the central space between Eugene and Bend. The total area it covers surpasses 1.5 million acres, 380,000 of which are designated "wilderness areas" (8 total).[5] The forest has been the focal point of various environmental controversies, including the logging industry's conflict with people seeking to defend the northern spotted owl. Balance is sought between collecting lumber and allowing for the wildlife to flourish unharmed.[1] The most popular sections of the forest include Three Sisters Wilderness, Mt. Jefferson Wilderness, and the many other backpacking and hiking locations. Other activities within the Willamette National Forest include mountain biking, boating, swimming, and viewing of waterfalls and wildflowers.[5]


The general climate of the Willamette National Forest Destination is cold yet without much rainfall. Humidity fluctuates from about 25% (summer) to the mid-60s in the winter. Average temperatures range from the low 30s (Fahrenheit) to the low 70s over the course of any given year, though highs in the summer can reach the low 90s and lows in winter are known to reach 0 degrees Fahrenheit. Precipitation as a year-round average is relatively low, rounding out at less than an inch per month of rainfall. Particularly in the summer, there is virtually no precipitation. All of these factors help to contribute to the destination's popular tourism months being from June to September.[4] 

The Willamette National Forest Destination stretches from the Oregon cities of Eugene and Springfield all the way to Bend to the west. The northern border of the destination loosely follows Highway 20, and the region's southern tip ends at Crater Lake. The geographical topography of the land contained in the area ranges significantly, with desert environments to the east, mountain peaks and forests within the center, and lakes to the south. Additionally, the city and farmland environments provided by Eugene and Springfield help to diversify the area further. 

Within the Willamette National Forest itself, the most common tree species is the Douglas-fir, which also happens to be the state tree of Oregon. Other tree species that can be found in the zone include ponderosa pine, Pacific yew, incense-cedar, mountain hemlock, and western redcedar. Local fauna ranges from smaller species such as northern spotted owls, bald eagles, southern red-backed voles, and wolverines to larger animals like black-tailed deer, black bears, mule deer, and elk.[1]


The land that now makes up the Willamette National Forest was once part of the Cascade Forest Reserve. This land was created by a federal declaration in 1893 to protect the Cascade mountain range, by popular request of the nearby citizens. It remained that way for about 15 years until the reserve was divided in 1908. At that moment, the Cascade Forest Reserve was split into Oregon National Forest, the Cascade National Forest, the Umpqua National Forest, and Crater National Forest. Three years later, portions of the Cascade National Forest and Oregon National Forest were combined to create the Santiam National Forest. Decades later, in 1933, the Santiam National Forest and Cascade National Forest were merged into one forest, this time with the name of Willamette National Forest. 

Attempts to modernize the forest's amenities took place in the years that followed, supplemented with additions of campgrounds, timber sales, and dams.[1] Culturally-speaking, the first known people to have inhabited the general destination were the natives known as the Kalapuyans. Evidence suggests that the natives' ancestry could date back as far as 10,000 years. Similar to other natives in North America (though somewhat delayed due to their western location), they were mostly wiped out due to epidemics and European settlers. The namesake of the city of Eugene was a man named Eugene Franklin Skinner, who arrived in the Willamette Valley in 1846. The township was originally called Skinner's Mudhole.[8] Currently, the racial distribution of the region is nearly 85% white, 4% Asian, and 8% other races.[10]

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Tucked away on a plot of farmland in Eugene, Oregon, sits the McKenzie Orchards Bed and Breakfast. It is a short drive to downtown Eugene, the freeway, many outdoor activities, and local restaurants. The property has five rooms available for those who are looking to stay, all of which contain king-size beds and other furniture. Visitors to the establishment receive a daily breakfast prepared by one of the resident owners, Tom. The building also comes equipped with Tesla and other electric vehicle charging stations, which is one of many aspects of the surrounding area that promotes the idea of "living green."

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The Rocking CR Vacation Rentals consists of two separate properties: the Ranch Guesthouse and West Hills HideAway. The Ranch Guesthouse is located on five acres of rural farmland just outside the city of Bend, Oregon. In contrast, the West Hills HideAway is in the more suburban area of the town and has a large backyard. They are owned and operated by Caroline Matz and her husband, who strive to create a place where anyone can go and have a worry-free, private vacation with all their needs taken care of. Both of the homes are surrounded by forest and greenery, with trailheads and shopping centers nearby. Many of the patrons who stay at the rental properties are in the area to participate in the abundant activities and attractions nearby, especially in the summer months. Some of the more notable ones include Mt. Bachelor, Smith Rock Park, and The High Desert Museum.

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