USFS history museum to be built in Missoula

USFS fire lookouts
USFS photo

A non-profit group called National Museum of Forest Service History plans to raise $9 million in public and private funds in order to build a national museum to commemorate the 100+ year history of the U. S. Forest Service. The group expects to build a 30,000 square-foot building in Missoula, Montana, perhaps as early as 2012.  Their vision began in 1994 when they obtained 36 acres west of the airport and since then have built a road and a parking lot.

Two structures have already been erected on the site. One is a ranger station from the Clearwater National Forest in Idaho that was dismantled and reassembled piece by piece in 2000. The other is a replica of a 1930s era lookout which was built in 2005 on the National Mall in Washington for the 100th anniversary of the Forest Service, then disassembled, moved, and restored at the Missoula museum property.

The U. S. Forest Service has contributed $500,000 towards the museum as part of an agreement that the two organizations first signed in 2003.

The building will have room for more than 40,000 artifacts, with many of them coming from the USFS, including daily diaries of activities that were required for Forest Service employees until the 1960s.

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