Smiley Face Forest: Oregon’s Happy Hillside

The general consensus is that Disneyland is the happiest place on Earth. Or, maybe the happiest place on Earth is the country of Finland—which consistently ranks very high in all quality of life polls. Residents of Oregon know that the happiest place on Earth is in fact a green hillside visible from Route 18 near Willamina, Oregon which sports a yellow smiley face made entirely out of fir trees that is visible every fall.

smiley face oregon

In 2011, two Hampton Lumber employees decided to create an arboreal design that would evoke joy in every person who saw it. Dennis Creel and David Hampton designed a smiley face similar to an emoji that would greet motorists as they drove through rural Oregon. Creel and Hampton created the smiley face by planting a mixture of larch—which is a type of fir tree that turns yellow in the fall—and evergreen Douglas fir trees. Larch trees form a circular face, and Douglas fir trees form wide, happy eyes and a smiling mouth.

smiley face oregon

Planting fir trees in a circular design was no easy feat. After a decade in existence, the larch and Douglas fir tree smiley face is just now starting to slightly fade. Representatives at Hampton Lumber estimate that in 3-5 decades, all of the trees that form the smiley face will be harvested and converted into lumber which will be used to build houses and other building projects.

smiley face oregon

smiley face forest

Trees form a smiley face along Oregon's Highway 18

Countless weary motorists traveling Oregon’s Route 18 have spontaneously smiled as soon as they spotted a big bright smiley face made out of fir trees on the horizon. Many Willamina residents hope that once the celebrated fir tree smiley face is no more another circle of smiling fir trees will spring up in its place. Few things inspire more spontaneous glee than the sight of a ring of happy trees.

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