Smokey Bear Art Coming to Forest Heritage Center Museum

In celebration of Smokey Bear’s 80th Birthday, The Forest Heritage Center Museum at Beavers Bend State Park will be hosting 19 legendary Smokey Bear painting reproductions later this month. These iconic images will be on display and open to the public.

On loan from the USDA National Agricultural Library, the paintings are replicas of those completed from 1977 through 1995 by artist Rudy Wendelin. He worked for the Forest Service as an illustrator beginning in 1933 and was the mastermind behind Smokey’s human-like appearance in his signature ranger hat and blue jeans. Thanks to Wendelin’s art, Smokey’s message “Only YOU can prevent wildfires” has prevailed through the generations. The images that will be on display remain the most famous depictions of Smokey Bear.

“We hope this exhibit will spread further awareness of Smokey Bear and his vital message of caring for forests through wildfire prevention,” said Forest Heritage Center Museum Director Shalee Buzan. “We are looking forward to showing off these iconic works of art to our summertime audiences that visit the museum from around the nation and around the world.”

Oklahoma Forestry Services, USDA Forest Service, and the National Association of State Foresters are collaborating on the exhibit at the museum which runs from July 22 – to August 2. The Forest Heritage Center Museum is open daily from 8 am to 4 pm and admission is always free. Questions about the exhibit should be directed to museum staff at 580.494.6497 or For information about the Forest Heritage Center Museum, visit the website at

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