Coram was established in 1933 on the Flathead National Forest in northwest Montana as an area representative of the western larch (Larix occidentalis Nutt.) forest cover type distributed within the upper Columbia River basin. Western larch is a tree species that regenerates well in the exposed soil and sunny conditions that are typical after a fire or similar disturbance. Diverse and productive, the importance of this forest type to management priorities of federal land managers cannot be overstated. In the autumn, the foliage turns golden before falling, providing an opportunity for recreational viewing.
The Coram Experimental Forest represents western larch-mixed conifer forests of the Northern Rockies. Western larch research was centered at Coram Experimental Forest (CEF) to provide a scientific basis to regenerate and grow this important and valuable species. For example, the long-term silvicultural studies installed at CEF are allowing researchers and managers to understand the effects of multiple entries into stands on soil and forest productivity, as well as the potential of various silvicultural approaches to designing restoration of wildlife habitat. Climate and hydrological stations record variability in longterm weather and runoff. The Coram Research Natural Area contains old, large forest used as a reference site for comparison to managed areas. Coram Experimental Forest also offers educational opportunities in the award-winning Walk With Larch Trail, which demonstrates the long-term effects of numerous silvicultural choices. At the headquarters on the Hungry Horse District Ranger Station, the International Larix Arboretumcontains specimens of many larch trees of the world.