Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Moon Tree
Cave Junction, Illinois Valley, Oregon
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. 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.
It was described as root bound and its condition as "precarious", and did not survive.
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.
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 top left.
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
Seedling is located at roughly 42.1038 deg. N, 123.6810 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. The last Moon Tree Run was in 1999.
The Moon Tree Race home page was at
(archived courtesy of the
Internet Archive Wayback Machine
- Oct 06, 2001)
Seedling picture, brochures, and information on current Moon Tree courtesy Kathy Lombardo.
Description of Moon Tree Run sent by Jerry Schaeffer.
"A Moment in Time" reprinted with permission, courtesy Jeff Williams.
Moon Tree Run History - Highway 199
Moon Tree and the Siskiyou base - Highway 199
Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Museum
Moon Tree Run - Siskiyou Smokejumper Base Museum
Houston, We Have Moon Trees - Forest History Society, 17 February 2011
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, firstname.lastname@example.org
NSSDCA, Mail Code 690.1
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771
NASA Official: Dr. David R. Williams, email@example.com
Last Updated: 27 April 2021, DRW