Arboretum/Wildlife Research Center planning forum

A visionary design session to develop the
WSU Arboretum and Wildlife Research Center master plan will be held the first week of February on the WSU Pullman campus. Designers from The Portico Group and Miller/Hull Partnership will be on campus to hold a three-day planning “charrette” with Arboretum and Wildlife Center committee members.

The first two days of the charrette will involve intense strategizing and development work. On day three, the designers will hold a public forum to solicit ideas from the campus community and to share thoughts about what they see as possible strategies for site organization. All members of the Pullman community are welcome to attend the forum and discuss their ideas with the consultants.

The open forum will be held on Wednesday, February 4th, in the Smith Center for Undergraduate Education (CUE) 512, from 4 – 6 pm.

Located on Airport Road, the 95-acre arboretum site has been under management of the USDA since the 1930’s – where it was used for plot research and kept in a naturalized state.  Adjacent to the arboretum site is the 68 acre Steffen Center – assigned to the Department of Natural Resource Sciences. The center includes a mule deer facility, pygmy rabbit cages, a native plant nursery and greenhouses. The master plan will investigate the opportunities for collaboration and partnership between these two sites. 

The WSU Grizzly Bear Research Center will also be included in the planning exercise.  In their current location, the bears roam on approximately 2.5 acres. Plans for the new facility could provide a roomier 15 acres for these large, lumbering animals. It is hoped that the replacement facility will become a National Bear Center that could accommodate a full spectrum of bear research activities. 

Other concepts to be considered during the session include a visitor center, a conservatory, display gardens, sustainability demonstration sites, a raptor recovery center, and a bear housing facility. 

It is anticipated that the master plan will be completed by May. The projects are currently unfunded.  One of the goals of the master planning process is to create a vision and images that will give definition to a fundraising strategy.

Questions about the forum can be addressed to:  Bobbie Ryder, Capital Planning & Development, 335-2192 or

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