Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Moon Tree

Cave Junction, Illinois Valley, Oregon

[Moon Tree clone at Siskiyou Smokejumpers Base] [Moon Tree sign at Siskiyou Smokejumpers Base]

A Douglas fir Moon Tree was planted circa 1976 at the Siskiyou Smokejumper Base in the Illinois Valley, south of Cave Junction, Oregon. Stuart Roosa was based here in 1953 when he worked as a smokejumper before becoming an astronaut. He had mentioned in a letter and an article his wish that a tree could be planted at the base. The base was closed in 1981/1982 and the original tree died. A second Moon Douglas fir, about 3 feet tall, was taken from the Institute of Forest Genetics in Placerville, California (the facility where all the Douglas fir Moon Trees were originally grown) and planted at the base in December 1985. The article below is from the December 15, 1985 issue of the "Olympian". The seedling was described as root bound and its condition as "precarious", and it did not survive.

[Siskiyou Tree Article]

A cutting from the Douglas fir Moon Tree at the Roseburg Veteran's Medical Center was successfully grafted onto a Douglas fir root stock. This tree was planted at the site of the original tree at the smokejumpers base on 6 October 2012 (the day of the 2012 Moon Tree Run) and is shown in the image at the top left of the page and below right when it was first planted. The sign at top right currently marks the tree.

[Siskiyou Brochure] [Siskiyou Map] [Moon Tree clone at Siskiyou Smokejumpers Base]

The smokejumpers barracks have been restored and it is now home to the Siskiyou Smokejumpers Museum. The picture below shows Stuart Roosa (back row, fourth from left) and the 1953 smokejumpers. He made at least four jumps into active fires in Oregon and California in the 1953 fire season.

[Smokejumpers w/Roosa, class of 1953] [Moon Tree Run page]

The Moon Tree Run was started in 1979, part of the race follows a course the smokejumpers used in their training. The original series of Moon Tree Runs ended in 1999 (see web page above), but have now been revived, as seen in the brochures at top.

The seeds for the Douglas firs that were taken on Apollo 14 were collected in Benton County, Oregon, and El Dorado County, California and sent to the U.S. Forest Service Institute of Forest Genetics (IFG) western station in Placerville, California. Unfortunately the seeds were mixed after the flight, so it is impossible to tell for any of the Douglas firs which lot they came from. The seedlings were grown in Placerville and sent to the Oregon State Forestry Department in early 1976. More detail on the history of the Douglas fir Moon Trees is available.

Seedling is located at roughly 42° 6.230' N, 123° 40.864' W.

History of the original Moon Tree Run (written 1999)

The Illinois Valley's (Oregon) annual Moon Tree Run began twenty years ago as little more than a gleam in Dale O'Keefe's eye. O'Keefe, postmaster in O'Brien, Oregon at the time, enjoyed running and decided the valley needed an event of its own. In 1979 he organized the run at the then fully active Siskiyou Smoke Jumpers Base just south of Cave Junction, Or. Part of the run, even today, follows the course used by the smoke jumpers in their daily training, and is mostly off the road, with a crossing of Rough and Ready Creek. The race was named for a Douglas fir seedling donated to the smoke jumper's base by astronaut Col. Stuart Roosa. The tree was grown from one of the several seeds carried around the moon in 1971 by Col. Roosa who was a former smoke jumper once based in the Illinois Valley. The Forest Service closed the base in 1982 and the original Moon Tree was an unintended casualty. It and a second Moon Tree, planted in 1985 both died. The trees, however, live on in memory and in the race, sponsored for the first eleven years by the Chamber of Commerce and since 1991 by the Illinois Valley Volunteer Firefighters Association. Below is a notice of the run from the 30 May 1993 issue of the Corvallis Gazette Times. The last Moon Tree Run was in 1999.

[Moon Tree Run Clipping]

The Moon Tree Race home page was at

(archived courtesy of the Internet Archive Wayback Machine - Oct 06, 2001)

Tree picture and sign picture at top courtesy Chris Conner.
Seedling picture, brochures, and information on current Moon Tree courtesy Kathy Lombardo.
Description of Moon Tree Run sent by Jerry Schaeffer.
"New Tree ..." article courtesy The Olympian,, and Fred Kelso.
"A Moment in Time" reprinted with permission, courtesy Jeff Williams.
Lower notice courtesy Corvallis Gazette Times.

 Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Museum
 Moon Tree Run - 2013 - Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Museum
 Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Moon Tree - Waymarking Geocache Site

 Moon Tree Run History - Highway 199
 Moon Tree and the Siskiyou base - Highway 199
 Houston, We Have Moon Trees - Forest History Society, 17 February 2011
 To The Moon! Former Jumper Made History Aboard Apollo 14 - Smokejumper Magazine, July 2005

 A Moment in Time: Fire Balloons, Smokejumpers and Moon Trees - Jeff Williams
 Cloning the Moon Tree - Kathy Lombardo

 History of the Moon Tree Douglas Firs
 Moon Tree Home Page

Dr. David R. Williams,
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771

NASA Official: Dave Williams,
Last Updated: 10 June 2024, DRW