The Forest Smiles Back: Polk County’s Unique Tree Formation

Nature's Artistry: The Smiley Face of Trees in Polk County"

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Every fall, drivers traveling along Oregon 18, between the towns of Grand Ronde and Willamina, are greeted by an unusual sight: a giant smiley face formed by trees. This delightful natural artwork is located on Hampton Lumber land, south of Oregon 18 at roughly milepost 25.

The creation of this smiley face is a story of thoughtful design and reforestation. In 2011, Hampton Lumber, under the guidance of co-owner David Hampton and then-timberland manager Dennis Creel, embarked on a reforestation project. They planted a mix of Douglas fir and Larch trees, with the latter’s autumnal yellow needles forming the body of the face, while Douglas fir makes up the eyes and mouth.

The smiley face, approximately 300 feet in diameter, is a result of meticulous planning. Planting crews used ropes to plot the circle and triangulate the locations for the eyes and mouth. This charming forest feature is expected to delight passersby each fall for the next 30-50 years, until the trees are harvested for lumber.

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