Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Siskiyou Rocket and Bombing Range

History (2006) by Daniel M. Sebby, Military Historian, California Military Department

The former Siskiyou Rocket and Bombing Range (also known as Macdoel Practice Gunnery Range, Rocket Range Siskiyou National Forest, and Practice Rocket Range Naval Air Station [NAS] Klamath Falls) was created due to the U.S. Navy's desire to field aerial rockets during World War II. The U.S. Navy Department, Bureau of Aeronautics, sought acquisition of a leasehold estate in 7,040 acres of land, more or less, in Siskiyou County, California, for use in connection with NAS Klamath Falls because the intended "tactical warfare training eliminate[d] the joint use of an area for strafing and dive bombing" associated with other bombing ranges in the area. The Siskiyou Rocket and Bombing Range was developed by the U.S. Navy to provide an aerial gunnery range east of the Cascade Mountains in the winter, when other stations were inhibited by poor weather conditions.

Jurisdiction over the Site transitioned to the Naval Air Bases, 13th Naval District headquartered at NAS Seattle and was established under the operational control of NAS Klamath Falls. The U.S. Navy had gained use of the area by May 1945 for air-to-ground firing, high and low level bombing and strafing. During this period, the Navy began using Sub-Caliber Aerial Rockets and anticipated using "actual combat type rockets" in the future but WWII ended before they were used on the Siskiyou Rocket and Bombing Range. NAS Klamath Falls was placed in an inactive status on 10 October 1945 and the Interdepartmental Air Traffic Control Board cancelled the Danger Areas designated for NAS Klamath Falls ranges, including the Siskiyou Rocket and Bombing Range, by memorandum dated 8 October 1945. NAS Klamath Falls was declared surplus on 1 November 1945 and the 13th Naval District terminated the leases and permits for the Siskiyou Rocket and Bombing Range in January and February 1946.

The former Siskiyou Rocket and Bombing Range is located primarily on lands within the Butte Valley Region of the Klamath National Forest in Siskiyou County, California, and is currently managed by agencies of the Federal and State governments. These agencies have been identified as the USDA, Forest Service and the State of California, Department of Fish and Game. Within the confines of the Klamath National Forest are the Butte Valley Region and the Butte Valley National Grassland, which are managed by the Goosenest Ranger District, and the Meiss Lake-Butte Valley Basin Wildlife Area, which is managed by the State of California, Department of Fish and Game.


Undated US Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District History

The 7,040-acre property is currently a part of the Goosenest Ranger District in the Klamath National Forest, 43 miles northwest of Weed, California. The former site is in the Klamath National Forest and has been a part of the National Grasslands Project since 1991. The property floods in the winter and is used for grazing cattle during the rest of the year. The property is fenced and not generally used by the public. Much of the nearby area is part of a wetlands reclamation project and has been flooded. Due to the historic nature of the site, there are currently no plans to make this site a part of the wetlands area. This property is known or suspected to contain military munitions and explosives of concern (e.g., unexploded ordnance) and therefore may present an explosive hazard.

The U.S. bought the property from the Irrigation District in the mid-1940s. The site was used as a bombing target and rocket range. The property was part of the Soil Conservation Service from 1944 until 1950 when it was transferred to the Forest Service as part of the Land Utilization Project.

Source: US Army Corps of Engineers Public FUDS GIS System

Addition Online Histories:
US Army Corps of Engineers St. Louis District Archive Search Reports
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Updated 8 February 2016