The official home page of the Cispus Learning Center



The Cispus Learning Center is a 68-acre campus, located in the Gifford Pinchot National Forest that provides a unique northwest outdoor learning environment for students. It is open 364 days a year to elementary, middle school and high school students for environmental and leadership education, for at-risk students using our challenge (ropes) course, and for any adult group supporting educational objectives.

The purpose of Cispus Learning Center is to support improvement of the K-12 educational programs for the students in the schools of the State of Washington. In 2017 we hosted over 12,500 visitors for over 42,000 days of use. We look forward to welcome your group to our center. 


The Cispus Learning Center will furnish functional, esthetically sound facilities and curricular resources for supporting outdoor education and leadership training to young people. In addition, Cispus will provide facilities and outdoor education learning opportunities to various adult and student groups which are deemed compatible with the Cispus setting. 


The Cispus Learning Center is one of two sites of the AWSP Outdoor Learning Centers, a division of the Washington School Principals Education Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit program of the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP). What does that long list of titles mean for you? As an education-focused, non-profit organization, we are committed to providing affordable retreat opportunities for all audiences.


The current site of the Cispus Learning Center was first constructed as a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp in the early 1930's. While much has changed since the construction of this "New Deal" project, the chimney and building shell of the Sasquatch Lounge are still standing and in use today. In 1966 the camp was remodeled and transformed into a Job Corps training site in a joint venture with the US Forest Service.

Three years later, however, funding shortfalls jeopardized the program and the future of Cispus. Louis Bruno, then Washington State Superintendent of Public Instruction, saw potential in the site as an environmental learning center, paving the way for the creation of the Cispus Environmental Education Center, which would go on to be administered by the Education Service District 113. In 1981, the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP) assumed leadership of the facility and through it's non-profit wing, the Washington School Principals' Education Foundation, has successfully managed the facility ever since under a lease-agreement with the US Forest Service.

Today, Cispus is also home to the Association of Washington Student Leaders (AWSL), and several programs, camps, and retreats that annually bring thousands of students from all around Washington to its campus. 

The Cispus Learning Center is operated in partnership with the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.