Not every fledgling tree nursery gets the honor of turning into a premier destination for forestry education. But that’s the story of the Peavy Arboretum, which started its life as a 6-acre tree cultivation site called the Oregon Forest Nursery.
Back in 1926 the site was dedicated to George Peavy, the long-time former dean of forestry Oregon State University. Then in 1933 was taken over by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Those folks created Camp Arboretum and set about building trails, roads, and a lake in the area. Their intent was to use the forest for fire prevention and reforestation. However, in 1964 the Oregon State School of Forestry gained control of the arboretum, and eventually expanded it to the current size of 40 acres of protected woodlands.
The Peavy Arboretum is currently open to the public, and serves as a hub for Corvallis outdoor enthusiasts. Trails network the woods, and helpful signs and forestry booths point out the 100-plus native or rare trees, shrubs and flowers. The area is enlivened by Calloway Creek, which runs through the forest, as does the stunning Cronemiller Lake (which is regrettably closed to swimmers).
Some intrepid hikers use the Peavy Arboretum as a gateway to the deeper and wilder woods of McDonald Forest. But the 40 acres also serve to educate causal adventures and host visitors with a mix of interpretive signs, day use facilities, picnic spots, and self-guiding trails. Locals and visitors alike explore the acreage, and the three main trails are very popular with runners.
The Arboretum is free to visit, and is open most days of the year. As the area is biologically sensitive and used for research, visitors are asked to stay on the trails.
Call the Peavy Arboretum to confirm the site is open on holidays at (541) 737-6702.