Cranberry Lake Forest Education & Research Center

Copy of History

Cranberry Lake Forest Education & Research Center


The Cranberry Lake Forest Education and Research Center is located on a square mile of native forest with streams and wetlands surrounding Cranberry Lake in Mason County.

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Ken and Kitty Frank

Ken and Kitty Frank

The Research Center, today conserved for the education and research of forest and aquatic habitat, is a six hundred forty acre working forest located in Mason County, Washington.  It was set aside by land owner Kenneth “Kenny” Frank prior to his death in 2005. Kenny was an acclaimed tree farmer that owned and managed various local forest lands for sixty five years.

Kenny was originally from Iowa. During the depression years he worked mostly as a cook and baker. He served in the Navy during World War II then returned to his culinary carrier. While working at Mount Rainier he became acquainted with William G. Reed, the owner of Simpson Timber Company. He was subsequently hired by Reed to manage the company’s Colonial House in Shelton.

It was the influence of Bill Reed that convinced Kenny to buy land and farm trees. While Kenny managed the Colonial House he also was busy acquiring land, often purchasing cut over land, on which he planted trees. He was one of the first to cultivate Christmas trees. He became well known to the foresters at Simpson and was always welcome to avail himself of free advice and guidance. Kenny met and married Kitty Hauger from Wilmington, Delaware when she came to Shelton to visit her sister in the early 1950’s. Kitty fell in love with Cranberry lake, one hundred acres of pristine undeveloped lake that she believed should never be developed. Ken and Kitty decided to make sure the forest and lake were conserved forever. The result is Cranberry Lake Forest Education and Research Center set aside as an operating foundation managed by a local board of directors.  

The Cranberry Lake Forest Education and Research Center continually is developing new facilities and educational resources to support student learning while maintaining the working tree farm and watershed. Currently, the center has a large shelter, tables, toilet facilities, and bus parking available.