Until the mid-to-late 1800’s, diverse and multicultural Native American societies flourished in high populations along the Pacific Northwest, descending from ancient ancestral arrivals more than 15,000 years ago. The Wiyot, Yurok, Hupa, Karok, Chilula, Whilkut, and the southern Athabascans, including the Mattole and Nongatl, were among the complex native communities living amongst the ancient virgin forests and untouched interior mountains. Spanish colonialists discovered the North Coast Of Humboldt, arriving into Trinidad Bay in 1775, with the first men touching down on land just south into Humboldt Bay in 1806. Humboldt County’s future would be marked economically, as an epicenter for an immense natural resource extraction.

Once European settlements began to establish themselves in the native territories, the era of gold mining would usher in the eminent destruction of the virgin forests. The population in San Francisco rose from 2,000 in 1849 to 59,000 in 1855, creating an incredible new demand for timber. From residential to commercial use in and beyond the city, a booming industry was born as many immigrant populations, including Portuguese, Croatian, Chinese as well as other European and Scandinavian nations, came to partake in the economic opportunities.

The Homestead Act of 1862 and Timber and Stone Act of 1878 solidified the downfall of the untouched northern region. The United States Congress agreed to sell land “unfit for farming” (much of it occupied by native populations) at the staggering price of $2.50 an acre, to be used for timber and mining production. The act was set to limit land purchases to only 160 acres but the large timber companies circumvented the law by using individuals to act as buyers for a small fee. Then, consolidating these land titles into their possession, they eventually occupied huge shares of land.

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Later, laws would be completely amended to accommodate 20,000 acre parcels to be controlled by timber companies as well. Over just a 30-year period, the timber industry grew from a handful of companies and mills to more than 400+ across the PNW.

The old-growth coastal redwoods and ancient forests of the region became the center of major controversy after the turn of the 20th century. As the knowledge of their existence spread across the United States, three conservationists were sent by President Theodore Roosevelt to investigate the region. Humbled and awed by what they had encountered, these three men would eventually establish the first non-profit organization to counter the devastation that was taking place via the “Save the Redwoods League“ in 1918, which still exists today.

Fisheries were built at the basins of rivers, harvesting millions of wild salmon, furthering the impact on the area. This sudden upset in the balance between nature and humanity would be repeated continuously over the next century and a half, forever changing the landscape of the region. This ignited a long and enduring environmental struggle to save and preserve the remaining ancient giants known only to Northern California. (40% of the remaining virgin redwoods are in Humboldt County.

In the coming decades, the rise of homesteaders, travelers, environmentalists, conservationists and the cannabis movement would eventually occupy and inhabit the region. This would alter the political landscape and community dynamic, making Humboldt County one of the most socially-liberal, environmentally-conscious and protected areas worldwide.

The struggles today still revolve around re-establishing and protecting these endangered species as less than 3% of the virgin coastal redwoods still remain, along with countless other species unique only to the Humboldt region. Repairing our watersheds, springs, creeks and rivers, which feed our oceans, lands and forests as well as restoring wild salmon populations, we can hopefully return and preserve these treasures for future generations we may never meet. These are now the priorities.

The battles between environmental groups and timber companies ensued quite heavily through the turn of the 21st century. This assisted in creating many non-profit organizations designed to stand up and fight against the few big money interests of the area. Over the course of the last 50 years, the people of Humboldt County have endured many environmental changes, as now the struggle continues in the form of cannabis farms.

With over 4,500 active outdoor gardens and a rich history of indoor cultivation, Humboldt County has become the epicenter of one of the most cutting-edge and controversial groups of cannabis cultivators on the planet. This unique consensus, collectively, has been pushing the boundaries of natural and organic forms of cultivation, creating some of the best medical cannabis strains in California for more than 40 years.

The next chapters to be told in Humboldt County are now in the hands of the cannabis community. Through good land stewardship practices, Humboldt County can and will emerge as a transformative and exemplary eco-conscious community, built on strong environmental values and business ethics.

With Love From California,

Humboldt Seed Organization

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