It was a culture, a way of life, a definer of identity. It was logging, and the people of Hayfork lived and breathed it. Hayfork is a town whose history, economy, and culture was singly tied to logging, a place where the work was celebrated and cherished, where people lived and logged alongside hundreds of other logging families. And then in the 90s, the timber industry collapsed.
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 overlooked 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, mired in the trauma of economic collapse. This is the story of the economic struggle and the collapse of this community, told by the people who lived it.