| Museum | HistorySelf-guided Tour |

Siskiyou Smokejumper Base

Self Guided Tour

photo of the kiosk where the self guided tour of the historic siskiyou smokejumper base begins. Cave Junction, Oregon

Start the tour at the information kiosk.

It takes about 15 minutes to follow a wheelchair accessible loop route around the base and read waysides explaining the story of this historic aerial firefighter base.

You can take the tour anytime of the day during regular airport hours.

Start the tour at the information kiosk next to the entrance road (Smokejumper Way). Here you will find information about the tour and a dispenser with a guide you can take with you as you walk.

There is accessible parking next to the kiosk.

Photo tour of the base
Each display panel has historic photos and explanations of what is seen in different parts of the tour route. The images below provide some additional views of the base. 
Photo of smokejumper landing in the forest. Siskiyou Smokiejumper Base Museum, Cave Junction, Oregon. Photo by Doug Beck

Smokejumper parachuting into the forest. Doug Beck photo

Smokejumpers are firefighters who are trained to parachute into remote forested areas to combat wild fires. The aerial firefighter program was designed to get crews to fires quickly so the blaze could be put out when it was small and could be easily contained by one or two individuals using shovels. Despite the fact that this base provided fire coverage for much of the west coast it was so effective at combating fires that a small crew was all that was necessary to achieve the mission. This is why the base is relatively small.

Firefighters lived in the barracks and ate in the messhall. When the fire alarm sounded, they would run to the parachute loft, put on their jump suits, and get a safety check over by other crew members before boarding the plane. Under normal circumstances, the plane would be loaded and on the runway within five minutes after the alarm sounded. Fires in remote regions rarely had time to grow to any significant size because of this rapid response time.

The self guided tour takes you past the tarmac where the smokejumper planes were parked and through the administrative and crew residence areas of the base. It is recommended that you go around the loop in a clockwise direction starting with the smokejumper heritage tree.

Map showing the wheelchair accessible, self guided tour route at Siskiyou Smokejumper Museum, Cave Junction, Oregon

From the kiosk, walk toward the tarmac and follow the tour route in a clockwise direction.
Click image to see an enlargement of the map.

Photo of crew barracks constructed in 1948 at Siskiyou Smokejumper Base, Cave Junction, Oregon.

The first barracks at the base was constructed in 1948 and was located near the kiosk and beginning of the tour. Photo by Bob Nolan.

Photo from 1948 shows the Smokejumper Heritage Tree and mess hall at Siskiyou Smokejumper Base, Cave Junction, Oregon

The entrance to the original messhall installed at the base in 1948 would have been immediately to the right of the Smokejumper Heritage Tree. The new messhall, constructed in 1954, can be seen on the left. The barracks and original bath house can be seen in the background.

Photo taken in 1973 shows smokejumper aircraft on the tarmac at Siskiyou Smokejumper Base, Cave Junction, Oregon

The smokejumper base had several aircraft that were used to deliver smokejumpers to fires.

Photo showing three DC-3 aircraft on the tarmac during a fire bust (a time when a large number of fires start after a lightning storm). Siskiyou Smokejumper Museum, Cave Junction, Oregon

During times when there were a large number of fires after big lightning storms, aircraft and smokejumpers from other bases would fly in and provide support. This photo shows three DC-3 aircraft with one parked partially on the field to the left of the displays. Photo probably taken in the 1960s.

Photo of Stuart Roosa, Apollo 14 astronaut, being interviewed in 1976 after planting one of his moon trees at Siskiyou Smokejumper Museum, Cave Junction, Oregon

Stuart Roosa is interviewed in 1976 when he came to the base to plant one of his moon trees from the Apollo 14 mission to the moon. Siskiyou Smokejumper Museum, Cave Junction, Oregon

Aerial photo of Siskiyou Smokejumper Base taken in 1958. Cave Junction, southwest Oregon

Aerial view shows the base as it appeared in 1958. This was prior to the administration being moved to the base so all administration would have been done out of the parachute loft. The yellow line shows the approximate location of the tour route. Click image to see an enlargement.


Creating this tour route
Photo of farm tractor drilling a hole for exhibit stands at siskiyou smokejumper museum, cave junction, oregon

Holes for exhibit stands were drilled by a tractor from the Wes Nicholson farm.

The accessible tour route was created entirely by volunteers workers and donations from local residents and businesses.

The project started in 2010 by removing barriers to wheelchair traffic created by tree roots uplifting sections of the sidewalk. Some of these offsets were two to three inches high.  These sections were isolated with cuts by a diamond saw, jack hammered into small chunks, and removed by wheelbarrow.  The gaps were filled with concrete to create a smooth grade.

In 2011, a section of new sidewalk was constructed across a gravel driveway to create an accessible connection between two existing sidewalks. This connector was critical for creating the accessible loop route. One of the airport tenants used his backhoe to do the excavation work necessary to lower the sidewalk to the same level of the driveway. Volunteers set up forms and did the necessary finish work on the concrete.

photo of backhoe doing excavating for new accessible sidewalk, siskiyou smokejumper museum, cave junction, oregon

One of the airport tenants did excavation work necessary for the new sidewalk.

Work was also done on construction of accessible slabs for some of the exhibits and modifications on one of the building had to be done to create a wider opening for wheelchair access.

Holes for the exhibit stands were drilled by a tractor from a local farm and exhibits were installed. All exhibit stands were donated by the Forest Service. Exhibit panels were developed by a retired Park Service and produced through a grant from the Oregon Heritage Commission.

A concrete slab was poured to create a wheelchair accessible parking site in 2012.

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