The Rural Stories Project is a platform documenting and exploring the culture and communities of rural California. Utilizing long form journalism, photography, and recorded conversations and interviews, this project will provide a window into rural life, shedding light on the history and forces defining these places.

Featured Community

The Rural Stories Project is documenting the stories of the people who lived in Hayfork, CA during the fall of the timber industry. Once a booming trade throughout the Pacific Northwest, timber industry in the region was stunted when the environmental movement took notice of the damage incurred by unchecked logging and successfully advocated for more stringent regulations. A small community of about 2500 in Trinity County, Hayfork is a former logging town that was thrown into economic and social turmoil following the collapse of the timber industry in the early 90s.

At the time Hayfork’s community, economy, and culture was tightly wed to logging; it was a place where the work was celebrated and people lived and logged alongside hundreds of other logging families.

What happens when your work is the fabric of your community, of your culture, of your life, and then you lose it? This is what happened to Hayfork when the environmental movement crushed the logging industry, taking away the livelihood of thousands of people for whom work and way of life were one and the same. It’s a story that is forgotten and also common: throughout the Pacific Northwest there are hundreds of former logging communities like Hayfork who lost their livelihoods in the wake of the environmental movement and were left behind in the upheaval of economic collapse.

Explore below to find conversations about what happened, what it was like, and what came next.

Hayfork, CA

Share your story with us

We want to hear the stories that matter to you. Utilizing the Storycorps platform, this project will collect stories from rural communities across California, providing context and history, and helping to create a window into rural places. Interviews will be housed on the Rural Stories Project website, and will also be shared on Storycorps, providing access to a broader audience, and offering an interface for rural residents anywhere to share their stories and build their own community archives. We are excited to hear your stories about rural life and culture.

Find featured communities on Storycorps by clicking a link below:

Hayfork, CA

Schedule or submit an interview:

Invite someone who has shared something meaningful with you, has an interesting story to tell, or has a special story or insight about rural life, and interview them about their experiences, then share your interview with the Rural Stories Project. You can also set up a time to be interviewed by the project director, or submit an interview by messaging the project director.

Record an interview and share it with the Rural Stories Project on Storycorps:

You can also upload existing interviews to the Rural Stories Project Storycorps community. All uploads will be approved by the Rural Stories Project before they are shared.

Download the Storycorps recording app to your phone to record an interview:

The Storycorps recording app is free and allows you to record interviews on your phone. All interviews submitted to the Rural Stories Project will become part of the website as well as the Rural Stories Project Archive, and they will also be shared with the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress.

What to talk about?

The Rural Stories Project would love your stories and insight about anything related to rural life and culture, including your personal story as someone who is part of a rural community.

Browse great interview questions, and find information about drafting your own, on the Storycorps website.

Browse ready-made questions about rural life.