Wind River Business Park • Carson, WA
The Wind River Business Park (WRBP) is located in the heart of Washington State's Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The site is a unique combination of open meadows and forested slopes. Its location is a ten minute drive from the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and about one hour from the Portland/Vancouver metropolitan area. The Business Park produced seedlings until 1997, when it was closed by the Forest Service.

Vision and Mission Statements
History of the Site
Facility and Economic Assessments
Buildings Summary
Buildings for Lease
Land for Lease
Potential Opportunities
Agricultural Assessment Summary
Master Planning
The Redevelopment Plan


The Wind River Business Park Vision and Mission Statements

The County's Vision Statement:
For the re-use of the Wind River Business Park, the focus is on utilization of the land for the benefit of Skamania County residents. The site will be sustained and enhanced to provide economic, cultural, and community benefits and resources for the citizens of Skam ania County.

The Mission Statement:
To create and promote diverse business operations at the Wind River Business Park which include research, educational and cultural components; promote tourism and recreation; showcase locally made products; provide a focal point for community activities; and provide local jobs, public revenues, and other benefits to Skamania County citizens.

(back to top)


History of the Site

The historic significance of the Wind River Business Park was directly related to its role in the development of the timber industry in the Pacific Northwest.
The site includes buildings and landscapes that represent the early history of the Forest Service, the architectural style of the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC); the first Arboretum in the Pacific Northwest; and one of the original Business Park fields. Early experimental work at the site aided the Forest Service in developing and refining timber practices; this tradition of experimentation and scientific exploration is still represented on the site today by the forest research done through the Pacific Northwest Research Station (PNWRS), the Wind River Experimental Forest, and the canopy crane operated by PNWRS and the University of Washington.

History One

Historically, the site was used for fishing, collection, foraging, and hunting by Klickitat and Yakama Indians. Non-native settlement of the area began in 1850. The primary land use was the harvest and transport of timber, which has been an important part of the regional economy and culture ever since. In 1903, a Business Park was established at the current Wind River Business Park to reforest areas of the region that had been badly damaged by fire.
It was at this time that forest managers realized that logged areas would also require reforestation, if timber was to succeed as a renewable resource.

(back to top)

Site, Facility, and Economic Assessments

The site is located in south central Skamania County's Wind River Valley, adjacent to the Wind River Experimental Forest, Government Mineral Springs, and the community of Stabler. It is outside the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and at the southern part of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest. A walk through the site is marked by the distinct contrast between the intimate, mystical enclosure of dark green trees, and bright sunlit openings and meadow vistas. These clearings provide distant views to the surrounding foothills, including an ancient volcano - Trout Creek Hill. Owing to the ancient lava flows, the valley bottom is unusually wide, providing level areas for a multitude of uses.

(back to top)

Buildings Summary

The WRBP existing buildings have the potential to provide diverse facilities indoors and out. The existing stock of CCC-era housing and structures, as well as the more modern nursery processing buildings, provide an opportunity to explore multiple options for adaptive reuse. The viability of agricultural uses, for example, may be enhanced if the buildings can be efficiently reused. The CCC structures along the big leaf maplelined boulevard provide a wonderful armature on which to build and expand research, education, recreation or tourism related uses.

Available Buildings by List

NFS Building Name SF Parcel Location

Residence (leased)
Residence (leased)
Residence (leased)
Residence (leased)
Mess Hall
Nursery Office
Seed Extr/Kilns (leased)
Processing Plant (leased)
Nursery Office/Packing
Field Lunch Room
Long Shed
Nursery Equip. Storage
Gas and Oil House
Vehicle/Equip Storage
Seed Cooler
Seed Strat Cooler
Seed Cooler/Freezer
Chemical Storage Bldg
Office Building
1,915 1,200 1,530 2,293 2,380 1,375 3,585
35,000 2,583
3,340 3,000
4,700 1,560 3,120 1,848
Parcel 1
Parcel 1
Parcel 1
Parcel 1
Parcel 1
Parcel 1
Parcel 2
Parcel 2
Parcel 1
Parcel 1
Parcel 1
Parcel 1
Parcel 1
Parcel 2
Parcel 1
Parcel 1
Parcel 1
Parcel 1

212 Chapman Ave
172 Chapman Ave
192 Chapman Ave
312 Chapman Ave
162 Chapman Ave
92 Chapaman Ave
1212 Hemlock Road
1111 Hemlock Road
132 Chapman Ave
144 Martha Creek Road
142 Martha Creek Road
61 Chapman Ave
11 Chapman Ave
1113 Hemlock Road
62 Chapman Ave
22 Chapman Loop Road
41 Chapman Loop Road
146 Martha Creek Road
1214 Hemlock Road

Available Facilities by Map

falility 2367 facility 1413 Office facility 2627 facility 2226

(back to buildings list) (back to top)

Available Land for Lease—Select Locations on Map

land map

Potential Opportunities

There are many opportunities for education programs, activities, and facilities that could attract visitors to the WRBP site. They include:

  • Inn or Retreat for small groups

  • Youth Education Programs

  • Research Facilities (especially linked with new and existing University programs)

  • Equestrian Center

  • Yurts and Tent Cabins

  • Festival Grounds

  • Canopy Crane for visitors

Potential opportunities for business development at the site include:

  • Call Centers

  • Computer Technology Businesses

  • Light Manufacturing

  • Value-added Wood Processing

  • Bio-remedial Businesses

  • Research and Development

  • Metal Fabrication

  • Micro-Brewery
(back to top)


field and building

aerial 2

Agricultural Assessment Summary

The Wind River Business Park has excellent agricultural production potential. The climate, soils, topography and buildings offer many advantages to agricultural operators to locate at the site. The site lies within the Western Washington climactic zone which experiences winter rain and a contrasting summer drought. Although the area receives about 100 inches of rainfall annually, one major limitation is irrigation water required in the summer months. This limitation can be addressed through the use of water-saving irrigation technology (such as drip irrigation) or selection of crops that require little or no summer irrigation.

There are many different agricultural and forest-related crops that can be produced at the site, which have strong market demand. They include:

  • Botanical plants

  • Business Park and native plants

  • Christmas trees and
    Christmas tree seedlings

  • Wetland plants

  • Mushrooms

  • Floral greenery

  • Bough orchards

  • Native Berries

  • Production or germplasm research for any of the above crops

Irrigation System
The present irrigation system includes a distribution system. The location of the water supply for the irrigation system is groundwater.

Roadway System
The main roads, parking lots, and access drives throughout the site are in fair condition.

(back to top)



Master Planning

The master planning process identified eleven programming areas for possible uses of the site as summarized below.
  • The Forest Reserve - Natural areas maintained, with some reforestation to provide a buffer for surrounding forest research areas.

  • Skamania Farms - Development of agricultural fields and production opportunities.

  • Wind River Institute - A coalition of researchers in forestry and agriculture, including universities, PNWRS, the Experimental Forest, and other public/private partnerships.

  • Cascadia Learning Center - Nature-based educational programs and facilities for children and adults.

  • Martha Creek Camp - Recreation and educational use, with cabins, bunkhouses, tent platforms, or yurts.

  • The Inn at Wind River - A rustic retreat lodge, conference center, and/or resort facility.

  • The Cascade Event Grounds - A community gathering space appropriate for arts, sports, or cultural events.

  • Community Social Services - Includes the possibility for vocational training, teen services, or rehabilitation facilities.

  • The Work Yard - County and community-based uses, including public programs, training, and storage.

  • The Hemlock Business Campus - Use of existing and new buildings for offices, agricultural processing, small business incubators, warehouse and storage.

  • Pacific Crest Estates - A housing program for single family residential use of the site.

  • (back to top)

Redevelopment Plan—Putting the Site Back to Work

The plan proposes three primary "zones" across the site corresponding to a range of development levels. These geographical areas address Skamania County's multi-faceted mission statement for the Wind River Business Park, and are described as follows:

  • Village at Martha Creek - As the redevelopment plan is implemented, Martha Creek Field will become the area of the highest development and activity. The uses proposed provide a mix of open space, re-use of existing buildings, and new construction. Program elements include the Wind River Institute, Martha Creek Camp, Cascadia Learning Center, the Inn at Wind River, and the Cascade Event Grounds.

  • Hemlock Business Campus - This zone, located in the eastern portion of Trout Creek Field and at the existing Processing Center, will incorporate agricultural processing, office space, new business space, and public services in new and existing buildings.

  • Wind River Fields - Skamania Farms, an Equestrian Center, the research outpost for the Wind River Institute, and the Forest Reserve buffer will all come together to make the fields of this site productive, usable, and valuable to the residents of the county.

Economic Implications
The Redevelopment Plan provides an opportunity for Skamania County to combine business, agriculture, research, education, and recreation activities. In the final phase, businesses and organizations will support over 250 full-time and seasonal jobs at the site. In addition, the Plan provides viable options to re-use many of the existing buildings and preserves the site's character for future generations.

A major component of the Redevelopment Plan is agricultural use of the fields. Because uses proposed to surround Martha Creek Field will attract people for educational pursuits, overnight stays, and public gatherings, the Plan recognizes that any agricultural use of this field will feature low-intensity crop production (minimal spraying and few requirements for disc, plow, or harvest operations by tractor or truck). Selected types of research can be conducted at Martha Creek Field along with production of Business Park plants, grass/pasture, and trees. Each of the other three fields is primarily devoted to the production of agricultural crops. Irrigation water will be needed for certain crops especially in the first and second years of establishment. It is likely that out of 200 acres, 25-50 acres will require irrigation.

Through the Redevelopment Plan, Skamania County will become a unique model for other Northwest communities that seek sustainable ventures and opportunities to combine viable business, agriculture, and natural resource uses with visitor, education, and research activities.

(back to top)