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X. THE LUMBER INDUSTRY—1850-1953 (continued)


The logging story is vital and will have great interest to the Visitor. Here the Service will interpret the history of logging on the Humboldt Coast, from its beginning in 1851 until today. In the beginning, the logs and mills were small, the trees handled were small and comparatively light, while they were either floated to the mill or moved by oxen or bobsleds. Soon, heavy trucks pulled along wooden tramways by ox- or horse-teams, replaced the bobsleds. Logging railroads made their appearance in the 1870s, while in 1882 the Dolbeer donkey was introduced. Ten years later, the bull donkey appeared, to be followed in the 1920s and 40s by caterpillars, trucks, and trailers. Life in the logging camps during the 19th and early 20th centuries, along with logging practices and techniques of that period, will have tremendous appeal to the millions of visitors to the area.

Certain key sites and structures associated with the logging industry of 50 years ago are located within the proposed boundary of Redwood National Park, and these should be designated Class VI Land. These are: the sites of Hobbs, Wall Camps 11 and 12-1; the roadbed and inclines of the Del Norte & Southern Railroad; and the skid roads on upper Mill Creek and Howland Hill. The trestles of the Del Norte & Southern will be entered on the list of Classified Structures.

Because of the excellent existing remains (the roadbed and trestles) the Service should retain possession of the land in Section 1 Township 15 North, Range 1 West, surrounding the Rellim Redwood Company's Demonstration Forest.

Experience has demonstrated that Living History is popular and educational. Thought should be given to the possibility of instituting such a program near Redwood National Park. Perhaps the Service, in cooperation with local lumber interests, railroad and logging buffs, and the counties of Del Norte and Humboldt, on a limited scale, might conduct logging operations of the period, circa 1890. Such a program would have to be subsidized, but its visitor interest would be tremendous.

In connection with this proposal, to avoid congestion on the Park roads, it might be feasible to rebuild the Del Norte & Southern Railroad. Trains could then be used to shuttle visitors from Crescent City into the Mill Creek watershed.

The Service in its interpretive program should concentrate on the story of logging on the Humboldt Coast from 1851 to 1939. This will make it possible to avoid competition with the interpretive programs of the Federal, State, County, and Forestry Industries at the same time avoiding costly duplications that tax the visitor's patience and interest.

Because of the time factor, it was not possible to make a study in depth of Hobbs, Wall operations. As this company dominated the Del Norte logging industry from 1871 to 1939, its role deserves additional study. It is therefore recommended that, in the near future, a Historical Resource Study be undertaken, by the Division of History, of Hobbs, Wall & Co.

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Last Updated: 15-Jan-2004