CREATED SPRING 2017
** NW Stories University of Oregon Spring 2017
[Read More about The Enchanted Forest:]
Nestled in the forest, just off the shoulder of the I-5 in Turner, Oregon, a hand-made themepark, befittingly named Enchanted Forest, awaits amidst the woods. In 1964, a man named Roger Tofte bought these 20 acres of land with the dream of one day opening a theme park in Oregon.
Tofte, 87, created the Enchanted Forest Theme Park after noticing a lack of similar entertainment in Oregon. What started as a creative outlet and artistic project done on the side, while working in jobs like watchmaking and for the highway, became a legacy over three generations of the Tofte family.
Today, Tofte rides his moped around the park, fighting against his growing age, to continue to uphold and upgrade his vision of a storybook escape. Tofte has worked nearly every day since the park went into construction in 1964. Seven years later, the park opened in 1971, but the work is never truly complete. Tofte is always working to improve the park, expanding and creating new experiences for its visitors.
Thankfully, Tofte isn’t in it alone. Over the lifespan of Enchanted Forest, Tofte has had the help and support of his wife, daughters, sons, granddaughters, etc. The Enchanted Forest is truly a family affair. One of Tofte’s eldest daughters, Morris, runs the daily operation of the park, while another daughter, Mary, contributes by handling all the paperwork and office work. His third daughter, Susan, writes and records all the music for the park and directs the musical and theatre productions put on by the park and his son handles some of the technology in the park, such as the animatronics.
Overall, Tofte is a positive, energetic spirit who is truly young-at-heart and doesn’t let the difficult times get him down. Whether it be his wife’s struggle with breast cancer in the park’s early period or his co-workers’ teasing and disbelief in the park’s success–Tofte didn’t let anything get in the way of his dream to build the Enchanted Forest.