1700 AD 8.9 8.9 Earthquake off the Pacific Northwest coast results in last known significant tsunami to hit Oregon coast.

1800 – 1892 Native Americans living on and around Salmon River estuary are devastated by diseases introduced by white settlers, tribes forced onto reservations, most of their land eventually allotted to white settlers.

1848 The Nestucca Fire burns significant portions of the forests surrounding the Salmon River estuary, especially to the north.

1855 The Coast Reservation was established and Native Americans from diverse cultures and regions were relocated to a single reservation.

1887 Congress passed the General Allotment Act, allowing for white settlement on reservation lands deemed “surplus”. The act allotted 80 acres to individual Native American males, while white settlers were allowed to claim 160 acres for homesteading. Tribes resisted until 1894.

1890s White settlers begin farming and grazing animals on the Salmon River estuary.

1908 Siuslaw National Forest is established.

1934 Cascade Head Experimental Forest is established, representing typical Sitka spruce-western hemlock forests.


1954 The Termination Act officially severed Native American claims to reservation lands. For over 20 years tribal members struggled to regain recognition. The Siletz status was restored in 1977 and the Grande Ronde followed in 1983.

1962 The first dikes are built along Salmon River Estuary to better protect grazing lands.

1965 The portion of Highway 101 crossing the Salmon River estuary is completed, creating permanent dike.

1966 Nature Conservancy Cascade Head Preserve is established.

silver spot butterfly cascade head

8,000 BC Earliest unequivocal evidence of Native American occupation of the Oregon Coast.

1967 Cascade Head Ranch is established.

1970 Sitka Center for Art and Ecology is established.

1975 The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization designates Cascade Head Experimental Forest and Scenic Research Area as a Biosphere Reserve, making it a baseline or standard against which change can be measured and the performance of other ecosystems judged.

cascade head

1976 The long-term goal of restoring the estuary and its associated wetlands to a natural system, free from man’s developments was established and is ongoing.

1978-1996 Dikes along Salmon River Estuary are breached and removed.

estuary restoration pic

2011 Reflections Program begins at Sitka Center for Art and Ecology.