Visitors will step back in time as they walk through a turn-of-the-century logging camp located in Grand Rapids. There they will find a camp blacksmith, saw filer, clerk, cook (often called a cookee) and lumberjacks at the state’s only authentic 1900s logging camp. During your visit, board the moored river “wanigan,” a floating cook shack used when the logs and men headed downstream to the mills. Or, take a seat on the porch of a 1930s Minnesota Forest Service patrolman’s cabin and hear about the ranger’s important work protecting woodland resources. The more adventurous may climb the state’s only 100-foot fire tower with a live interpretive center.

A one-hour guided tour starts at the interpretive building. Whether on the tour or just wandering throughout the camp on your own, interpretive guides dressed in period clothing will encourage you to ask questions of the company clerk, bull cook (camp janitor), saw filer, lumberjacks, barn boss (who cares for the draft horses), the blacksmith and “wood butcher” (carpenter).

The Forest History Center offers an interpretive building where exhibits, films and displays help set the stage for your journey through time and help you to understand the story of the people and forests of this area. Some of the new exhibits in the renovated visitor center include a state-of-the-art timber harvester simulator, a 30-seat theater with a multimedia show that demonstrates the force and power of forest fires, a full size all-terrain vehicle, a contemporary log — fun for children to crawl through — and more hands-on exhibits and displays. Take a walk on one of three self-guided forest trails for a view of the Mississippi River and the Northern Minnesota forestland. The trails, also open in the winter, are groomed and track-set for cross-country skiing.

From June 8 through Labor Day the living history features, interpretive building and trails are open Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and are closed on Sundays and Mondays. From September through May the visitor center and gift shop are open on weekdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The center is closed on winter holidays. Cross-country ski trails are open daily as snow conditions permit.

Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for senior citizens, and $5 for children ages 6-17. Free for children under age 6 and for MHS members. Different fees may apply for special events. Feel free to pack a picnic lunch and stay all day. The picnic pavilions are open to the public and available for events as well. For more information log on to the Forest History Center website, email foresthistory@mnhs.org or call 218-327-4482. The Forest History Center is located near US Highways 169 and 2 at 2609 County Road 76, Grand Rapids, Minnesota 55744.