Inspired by America’s forests, a valuable recreational and economic resource throughout our history, and echoing the surrounding mountain landscape, the National Conservation Legacy Center will educate the public about the history and ongoing conservation work of the US Forest Service, which plays a critical role in keeping our forests—“the lungs of our planet”— healthy.
The Center structure itself serves as an exhibit, demonstrating the use of wood panels, glulam and LVL beams and columns, solid timber craft and joinery, and cross laminated timber (CLT). Its tree-like columns, each made of a single species of wood, showcase timber craft and joinery from sixteen representative national forest trees. Its unique two-way span capability of CLT is exhibited in a folded roof geometry over the south-facing portico and the main lobby. The largely wood Center represents a new focus on sustainable ways of building, with low embodied carbon, renewable materials, and carbon sequestration.
Visitors will experience the building, curated exhibits within it, and, via view portals, supplemental elements of the Center and site, such as repository processing, an archival Forest Service History library, a forested landscape with featured specimen trees to the north, and dramatic open vista and mountain views to the south. The south-facing portico incorporates passive cooling and heating systems that block hot summer sun while welcoming winter sun rays. A roof deck provides panoramic views of the site and access to a historic fire lookout tower.