CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oregon State University’s McDonald and Dunn Research Forests on Friday, May 8, will enter a trial reopening phase for recreational activities, the College of Forestry announced Tuesday. 

The McDonald and Dunn Research Forests have been closed to recreation since March 23 in accordance with federal, state, and OSU requirements in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The university’s decision to reopen its research forests follows Gov. Kate Brown’s decision Tuesday to allow the limited reopening of state recreation areas beginning this week.

“We are pleased to reopen our research forests in a phased approach as we clearly recognize the important recreational, environmental and other benefits that these lands provide local residents,” said Anthony Davis, interim dean of the College of Forestry.

“We are aware that the six-week closure of these forests has been disruptive for some forest visitors, but it was an important and appropriate public health measure to take. Going forward, I ask all visitors to our forests to be good stewards of these lands and excellent collaborators in public health as the COVID-19 pandemic remains a significant community and personal risk.”

The McDonald and Dunn Research Forests will reopen for recreation with the following guidelines and policies in effect until further notice:

  • Forest access points will be available from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
  • Forest visitors must comply with the following requirements:
    • Practice social distancing measures by remaining at least six feet apart at all times.
    • Adhere to “Leave No Trace” measures by packing out trash and dog waste.
    • Keep dogs on a leash in forest parking lots, trailheads and when passing others on forest trails and roads.
    • Wear a face covering when encountering other users.
    • Forest trash and restroom facilities will remain closed until further notice.
    • Research Forest greeters will be stationed at research forests entry points that attract high volume visitor counts. Greeters will welcome visitors and remind forest-users of policies and guidelines.
  • Staff from the university, the College of Forestry and the research forests will continue to monitor forest usage and visitor compliance with reopening restrictions.
  • The Research Forests may be closed again if federal and state guidelines change or if visitor non-compliance occurs.

According to a recent study, the McDonald and Dunn Research Forests receive over 155,000 user visits, and just over 17,000 individual visitors each year. 

For more information about the OSU Research Forests, or for recreation status updates, visit the Research Forests website.

College of Forestry

About the OSU College of Forestry: For a century, the College of Forestry has been a world class center of teaching, learning and research. It offers graduate and undergraduate degree programs in sustaining ecosystems, managing forests and manufacturing wood products; conducts basic and applied research on the nature and use of forests; and operates more than 15,000 acres of college forests.

Story By: 

Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, [email protected]


Steve Clark, 541-737-3808, [email protected]


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