In 1926, conservationist and East Coast lumberman Charles Lathrop Pack bequeathed a cash gift to the UW's College of Forest Resources (now the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences (SEFS), enabling the purchase of an initial 334 acres of forestland to be used for research and demonstration purposes. Today, Charles L. Pack Experimental Forest encompasses 4,300 acres of working forestland.
For more than 90 years, Pack Forest has provided a forested classroom for SEFS students, faculty and k-12 students from throughout Washington. For many years, forest management undergraduates at the college spent a quarter of their academic year in residency at Pack Forest. Here they received field training and invaluable skills. Although this requirement has been discontinued, lab exercises, case study classes and continuing education continue to use Pack Forest a day or more at a time. The forest resources provide a convenient yet isolated location for work and study with minimal interruption.
In May 2004 the dean of the College of Forest Resources announced the creation of the Center for Sustainable Forestry at Pack Forest (CSF-PF). The purpose of the center is to discover, teach and demonstrate the concepts of sustainable forestry, with special focus on advancing the strategic themes of the school. The center undertakes programs of research, continuing education/outreach, demonstration and service in fields of natural resource and environmental science and management providing programmatic substance to the strategic themes of the school. Our vision is that the center will provide internationally recognized leadership for sustainable forestland management through research, demonstration and technology transfer.
Our mission is to actively advance the concept and practice of sustainability, guided by the strategic themes of the school, and engage resource scientists, professionals, policymakers and communities. Expertise in the social, economic and ecological sciences will contribute to the success of the center.
The vision and mission embrace the historical purpose of Pack Forest originally defined 90 years ago. The term “conservation” was used then to describe the concept to be taught and demonstrated at Pack Forest. At that time, “conservation” meant keeping land financially productive, largely through reforestation. While the term conservation is still valid, the school has adopted a much broader vision and mission that focuses on the concept of “sustainability.”
International recognition for leadership in sustainable forestland management can only be achieved through partnering with others with expertise and a stake in the issues. We expect to work both with partners within the school as well as with external partners. The CSF-PF will develop its own programs in service of implementing the strategic themes of the school, in areas including: • Watershed and Community Development • Forestry Extension with focus on Sustainability (small landowner assistance) • Forest Certification Services • Landscape Management System • Public Participation in Resource Management • Forestry Forums
As per its original mandate, Pack Forest continues to be a working forest. The forest contains a diversity of forest types, sites, soils and operating features. Pack Forest staff members are responsible for maintaining the setting and forest diversity so that academic and research opportunities may continue and expand. Much of the current management direction for the forest stems from the Pack Forest Landscape Management Plan, as well as the Pack Forest Management Plan.
The Conference Center maintains housing for overnight and long-term visitors and is open to both UW and non-UW affiliated parties. In addition to the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, these facilities are extensively used by other University of Washington schools and colleges, other institutions, agencies and groups in accordance with University of Washington facilities use policy for conferences, short courses, internal training programs, and continuing education.
Pack Forest has also expanded its outreach efforts through the establishment of Mount Rainier Institute in 2014. Mount Rainier Institute provides outstanding nature-based education experiences that are rooted in science and nurture the next generation of environmental stewards and leaders. Mount Rainier Institute serves schools from throughout Washington and partners with Mount Rainier National park to host k-12 students for in-depth overnight programs that use Pack Forest and Mount Rainier National Park as a classroom.
9010 453rd St. E,
Eatonville, WA 98328
(253) 692 - 4160
Earth and Space Sciences
Quaternary Research Center
Washington NASA Space Grant
Program on the Environment
Washington Sea Grant
Climate Impacts Group