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Trains, timber, pioneers and more on Chiloquin trip

Editor's Note: Day Trippin' is a recurring feature that gives readers a chance to play tour guide and tell us about a nearby getaway.

As fans of old logging equipment and trains, we didn't think twice about taking the 86-mile drive from Talent to Collier Memorial State Park in Chiloquin.

The park features an outdoor museum of logging history that is considered the best in the state, as well as a relocated pioneer village. Some of the logging equipment dates to the 1880s, with early 20th century pieces, too.

Railroad buffs will particularly appreciate the collection of rolling stock, and visitors can learn the important role trains played in timber movement.

The exhibit includes steam-powered "donkey engines," and the most recent piece of equipment in the display is a Beloit tree harvester, a one-man machine.

A band saw used in the Edward Hines Lumber Co. mill is preserved, and there’s a nice collection of hand and chain saws of varying vintages. Especially impressive is a 16-foot cross-section of the largest Douglas fir ever cut.

The pioneer village provides a view into family life during those early days. A number of logging-camp structures were relocated to the museum, along with a dozen authentic homesteaders’ dwellings. A gift shop is housed in one of the cabins.

During the summer, the museum shows movies about old-time logging at 9 p.m. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The Williamson River, known for its trophy fish, converges with pristine Spring Creek in the park. Spring Creek flows dramatically from its source and meanders through the park, and is irresistible to teens and dogs seeking to cool off or splash about.

A park naturalist is usually on hand for short, interpretive hikes along the Williamson. Easy to moderate hikes are plentiful. The park also includes a horse corral and a hugely popular campground.

On the way home, we stopped by the Klamath Hatchery in Chiloquin. Managed by Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, the hatchery raises some 3 million rainbow, cutthroat, brook and brown trout each year that are released as far away as the Deschutes and Umpqua basin.

While October to May is the best time to visit, there are always fish in various stages of growth to view. The hatchery is located on Crooked Creek, eight miles from Highway 62.

We extended our day by an hour or so with a trip to Fort Klamath, 51400 Highway 62. Established in 1863, the fort provided support to settlers during skirmishes with Native Americans. The Army post once boasted more than 50 buildings, including a sawmill and a post office.

Bill Bartlett lives in Talent.

The logging museum at Collier Memorial State Park began in 1947 when brothers Alfred and Andrew Collier donated a collection of antique logging equipment to show the evolution of logging from the use of oxen and axes to trucks and chain saws. Photos by Bill Bartlett
'High wheels' are among the vintage logging equipment at Collier State Park.