(Photo | Courtesy of Oregon State Parks)
The logging museum at Collier Memorial State Park partially opened on Saturday October 3 after a nearly four-week closure from the Two Four Two fire. The 146-acre outdoor museum contains one of the largest collections of antique logging equipment in the country.
The park campground and Williamson Day-use Area, including access to Spring Creek, will remain closed through at least part of 2021 while park staff clear trees that were damaged or knocked down in the fire. Restrooms will be open at the logging museum for travelers on Highway 97.
The Two Four Two fire burned through the park the evening of September 7, forcing a speedy evacuation for those camping in the park. The fire left the campground largely unscathed, thanks to fire protection measures taken in recent years. But it damaged beyond recovery much of the 400 acres of old growth ponderosa pine forest that surrounds the campground. The fire also destroyed a few park buildings and vehicles.
Additionally, the fire burned through part of the logging museum, damaging two major pieces of historic logging equipment and one of the ten historic buildings on site. Many smaller items were also destroyed. Still, most of the museum’s 10,000 artifacts remain intact.
“The loss is tremendous because of how unique these items are, and how much they mean to the people of southern Oregon,” said Terra Kemper, museum curator and park ranger. “The items that were saved will continue to speak to the history of Oregon and to draw people into the museum.”
The museum is open 8am-4pm seven days a week. Park staff ask visitors to respect closed areas of the park, including the section of museum that remains closed while artifact restoration is in progress. There is no access to the Williamson River or Spring Creek from the park.