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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