On a summer Sunday afternoon, the Forks Timber Museum is
closed—not that anyone other than a few older men peering in at some of the
vintage logging equipment have noticed. All the action is next door at the
Forks Visitor Information Center where throngs—mainly teenage girls trailed by
their parents—are collecting maps, brochures and information about Twilight.
Forks didn’t do anything to get itself included in the Twilight universe of books and movies about teen vampires and
werewolves. Author Stephenie Meyer didn’t visit Forks before writing her first
book, instead choosing it for its rainy climate.
But Forks is making the most of it. Parked in front of the
visitor center is an old red pickup similar to the truck Bella drives in the
books. Maps guide visitors to the high school and other sites. The town even
moved the “Welcome to Forks” sign from an embankment to a more accessible
Diane Schostak, executive director of the Olympic Peninsula
Visitor Bureau, says businesses learned to put at least a sign for Twilight in the window, lest they run the risk of having
visitors pass by.
“It’s pennies from heaven right now,” says Schostak.
But for how long? Schostak says tourism officials are
already planning for the post-Twilight
It’s not as though the region didn’t have any attractions
before, starting with the more than 900,000 acres of Olympic National Park, the
rugged coastline and the rainforest.
The hope is that many of those teens visiting because of Twilight will want to return to the region because of the
Making that transition will be merely the latest chapter for
a former timber economy.
Says Schostak, “We all [once] talked timber, but now we talk