John Porritt

John Porritt was born in England and moved to Trinity County in 1974. He’s been a logger for three decades. He began learning the trade back in England when he was a kid, taught by his father who was a timber faller during the second World War.

In Hayfork people still refer to him as “English John,” a name given because of his English roots and his accent. At 72, Porritt is retired and does part time arborist work for additional dispensable income.

Porritt, who also commuted for work for periods of time as the industry declined, thinks that necessary and positive results came from regulation, but also says that force and complications of the environmental movement left timber workers feeling pushed out.

“There was so little use and such a lot of waste before, a lot of the new restrictions have been good, but what was happening was the environmentalists would want something and we would take a step back and say okay, and then they would step forward and want something more, and we’d do it,” he says, “And there was no end to it. After awhile you got to see that until logging stopped completely, for some people it was never going to be enough.”

John Porritt

Porritt says that many loggers and timber workers who were good at their work were able to survive and weather the uncertainty. But he says too that the collapse took a toll, and notes that the industry was vilified and that eventually it added to the extreme contention that took place at the time.

Porritt On Backlash Against Loggers