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If you drive down Oregon’s Route 18 in the fall you’ll be treated to picturesque views of foliage, sweeping mountains, and a massive smiley face beaming down at you. No, it is not some bizarre accident of nature. This mountain-sized smiley face is the work of some lumber company loggers who wanted to spread a bit of joy.

The Hampton Lumber company owns the stretch of land between Grand Ronde and Willamina in Polk County, Oregon. Last time it logged the land, it realized one slope had an uninterrupted view of the road. That gave them the idea to share a smile with drivers below.

So how do you “plant” a smiley face? With deep knowledge of tree species.

A hillside planted with a "smiley face" shape of yellow trees.
Smiley face trees | Hampton Lumber Company

Hampton Lumber spokesperson Kristin Rasmussen said, “After every harvest, our foresters start planning the reforestation process…They typically plant a variety of native species depending on the elevation and soil conditions, including Douglas fir, western hemlock, noble fir and western red cedar.”

But on this one mountainside, they “branched out.” They planted a huge circle of Larch trees, save for eyes and a mouth made of their regular lumber mix.

“Larch is a conifer with needles that turn yellow and drop off in the fall, which is why the smiley face is best visible this time of year.”

But you don’t need to race to Oregon to see the cheerful mountain this year. Hampton Lumber will continue monitoring this forest’s growth and harvest it sometime in the next 30-50 years. So what’s next for this hillside above Route 18? Hampton Lumber muses that it might attempt a different emoji. I wonder if they’re taking suggestions.

Next, read about the village that planted wildflowers to solve a speeding problem.