The National Museum of Forest Service History is a nonprofit organization independent of the USDA Forest Service. Our mission is to share the rich history and story of our country’s conservation legacy. It is a story full of successes and challenges that includes the history of wildland fire (like “The Big Burn” in 1910 in which 87 people, mostly firefighters, were killed, and more than 3 million acres burned in ID and western MT); the controversies around multiple use; wilderness; and recreation. Our 31-acre campus is just one mile west of the Missoula International Airport, 15 minutes from downtown and is open seasonally Memorial Day – Labor Day, seven days a week. On the campus is a historic Ranger's Bungalow Cabin that serves as Visitor's Center with exhibits and gift shop. Our Forest Discovery Trail winds through a Champion Grove of trees with beautiful interpretive signage on the history of conservation. A pack corral and knot-tying station are located by the Trail, and a replica of a "L-4" Fire Lookout, built for the Smithsonian Folklife Festival on the Washington, D.C. mall, is newly restored and on the campus. A beautiful timber-framed Pavilion sits on the south side, that hosts numerous well-attended public events. A Capital Campaign to build our flagship facility, the National Conservation Legacy Center is nearly complete, with construction to begin in 2023.The Center will offer exciting, interactive exhibits on conservation history. We are the only museum in the country solely dedicated to forest conservation.
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