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History among the towering trees

A tributary of Wheeler Creek flows under a bridge on Mt. Emily Road leading to the Bomb Site Trail. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
A tributary of Wheeler Creek flows under a bridge on Mt. Emily Road leading to the Bomb Site Trail. The Pilot/Jef Hatch
When nature and history interweave, many things can happen, sometimes good and sometimes bad. For residents of — and visitors to — Brookings the Bomb Site Trail is an example of something good resulting when nature and history collide.

The Bomb Site Trail is a trail that starts approximately 15 miles from Highway 101 off of Mt. Emily Road.

The site is famous because it is the first (and one of only two) location in mainland United States to ever be bombed by enemy aircraft.

Japanese bomber pilot Nobuo Fujita flew a modified float plane off of a submarine and over the forests drop an incendiary bomb that was intended to start a major forest fire and draw Americans away from the fighting force intent on retaliating against Japan.

The fire was extinguished and in the following years the trail and the site have been cleared, interpretive signs and benches put in place and Fujita returned to Brookings to bestow his family sword on the community as a gesture of goodwill.

The trail itself is 1.5 miles long and while it is steep at times is easy enough that a 2-year-old can accomplish the hike with a little help from parents.

There are places where the footing is a little treacherous, but with care the trail can be navigated in a pair of tennis shoes.

The interpretive signs placed at strategic places along the trail offer information and insight into the reasoning behind the attack as well as a depiction of the historical significance.

Getting to the trailhead takes approximately 45 minutes and is mostly on a gravel road.

The signs leading to the trailhead have been damaged or mostly removed so care must be paid when trying to find the site.

Getting there:

Take South Bank Chetco River Road approximately 5 miles east to Mt. Emily Road. At the fork in the road stay right and proceed close to 2 miles before a sign resting on the ground points to the left.

A little over nine miles after turning left is the trailhead and the first of many interpretive signs. Park in the turn-out and follow the road for 300 feet before turning right onto the trail.

Mosquitoes are prevalent, so bug spray is suggested.

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