Mystery cabin being cleared out

The cabin last Thursday, Aug. 13. KLH | Union

The cabin last Thursday, Aug. 13. KLH | Union

Update, April 8, 2016: Those intrigued by this cabin may be interested in the discovery of a second cabin, possibly created by the same individual. Read about it here. – Ed.

Kevin L. Hoover
Mad River Union

ARCATA COMMUNITY FOREST – From the outside, the mysterious cabin in the woods looks much the same as it did last month, except for the Notice of Nuisance affixed to the front door.

If anything’s changed, it’s that the approaches to the tiny house nestled deep in the forest now show a little bit more use, with faint corridors visible through the dense foliage.

That may be because someone has been moving out. The cabin’s interior furnishings have mostly been removed – the rocking chair, stove and flue, books, typewriter and most of the food and sundry supplies.

Wall decor, including the occupant’s mini-manifesto and art print, is gone. An open bag of marshmallows and other items are strewn across the padded bench, while candles randomly rest on the kitchenette counter.


The inside is messy, as homes usually are during a move-out. KLH | Union

All in all, the uncharacteristically messy interior gives the definite impression of a move-out in progress. How, though, and by whom remains a mystery. Nor is it  clear by what means the cabin is being evacuated of heavy, unwieldy objects like the stove and chair, and other supplies that would require packing up. One possibility is with use of a bicycle trailer.

Arcata Police Chief Tom Chapman said while Forest Ranger Heidi Groszmann has been monitoring the location, the city has had no contact with the cabin’s builder. He is taking a hands-off approach and is satisfied with the pace of the resident’s departure.


This wood stove rests outside the front door. KLH | Union

Some trees in the area are tagged for removal as part of this year’s timber harvest, which is scheduled to begin as early as this week. Environmental Services Director Mark Andre said there is no danger of any trees falling on the cabin. Still, timber harvest areas are off-limits to the public during logging, and being an illegal structure on public land, the cabin will have to be dismantled and removed.

If the occupant doesn’t tear down the structure, the city will have to do so after the logging, during post-harvest clean-up. At that point, the logging crews will have finished and city workers will be dicing up slash and redistributing it to condition the area for future regrowth.cabin notice

Last week’s Union visit took place in the afternoon, with the sun over the horizon and only pale light filtering down through the trees to reach the bleak, shadowy structure. That and the disheveled interior offered a sense of abandonment, if not vague danger, quite unlike the initial visit, when morning sun lit the area.

Andre said that he was in the area of the cabin last week, doing further preparation for the harvest. He too noted a distinct Blair Witch Project vibe to the area, one not lessened by the unknown but large-sounding presence crashing about nearby as he worked. On hearing sounds of possible footsteps crushing foliage, Andre made a loud noise, and the sound stopped, then resumed a short time later.

Was it the cabin resident, or something... else?

“I’m pretty sure it was a bear,” Andre said, as if trying to convince himself of the prosaic explanation. “It was a bear.”


Related posts


  1. Pingback: PICS: Forest Ranger Spots Hidden Cabin In Woods, Finds Creepy Mystery Inside

  2. Pingback: Yak tracks lead to new cabin revelations, concealed bunker | Mad River Union

  3. Kevin Hoover said:

    There are myriad ethical and practical issues surrounding individuals claiming public land as their own. Particularly in a recovering watershed. And then there is the huge legal issue of precedents.
    Further, building, fire and sanitation codes came about for very solid reasons which the romance of a rugged individualist, appealing as this one is, doesn’t overcome.

  4. alfalfa31 said:

    You said yourself that this person did no damage. This person left the area better than it was when residence there was taken up. That being the case, from what were the people who did the evicting protecting the land?

    When a man does no harm to anyone or anything, telling him his actions are not allowed is immoral.

  5. Kevin Hoover said:

    I haven’t been presented with any serious argument that protecting public forestlands from private development is immoral. If there is one, let’s hear it.

    Police do use discretion, and of course that’s what we want rather than rigid enforcement at all times.

    However, turning a blind eye to multiple land use, public safety, health and building code violations all embodied in one illegal structure is too much.

  6. alfalfa31 said:

    What makes you think the law in question is moral in the first place? What makes you think that any supposed ‘authority’ is valid?

    Also you’re horribly naive if you think police don’t already decide arbitrarily, which laws to enforce and which to ignore.

  7. Kevin Hoover said:

    I’m just wondering who in the government has the authority to grant exemptions to the law for selected individuals, or whether we want them to have that power.

    Do I understand correctly that under the scheme you’re proposing, police should be able to pick and choose which laws to enforce and against whom, based on what that they think is moral?

  8. alfalfa31 said:

    You falsely conflate legality with morality. Just because a law exists (and in this case, we’re not talking about laws, but regulations), does not make it a moral law. A person bothering no one, and causing no harm is no business of other people. You mistakenly believe that the law is a thing that should be universally respected. It is not. It’s a collection of rules made by one group and forced upon another.

  9. Kevin Hoover said:

    It’s true, this person is, in refreshing contrast to the usual slob campers, extraordinarily scrupulous and environmentally responsible. That man-bites-dog element is part of what made it news.

    But there’s no guarantee, that the next campers would be as ethical. If the rest of the camps in the Community Forest are any indication, they wouldn’t be.

    Arcata’s forest harvests are literally world-renowned for their sensitivity and environmental sustainability. Here we have a model for environmentally responsible forestry that brings foresters from around the world to tour it and understand our sustainability model. Only the equivalent of one-tenth of new growth is harvested in any given year, and the revenue goes to further improving and expanding the forest.

    I presume we can all agree on two things. That the law applies equally to all, and that law enforcement ought not be allowed to pick and choose which laws it wan’t to enforce against selected special people. There is no provision in the law that states that you can build a house in a city park as long as you don’t trash the place. Maybe we could pass such a law; we haven’t yet.

    The reason this forest resource exists is that it is managed for recreation, education, science and sustainable resource extraction. Part of that is keeping people from subdividing this public land for private housing.

  10. alfalfa31 said:

    Apparently you don’t understand that your argument works against itself. The person in question left no trace they were ever there, but you keep bringing up the ‘protection of the environment’ angle. Sounds to me like the person you folks kicked out was protecting the environment more than the person marking trees for harvesting.

  11. Kevin Hoover said:

    Well, I guess I don’t agree that it’s immoral to protect natural areas from unregulated development. These laws were developed and passed by our citizens. Concern about precedents is something decision makers would be irresponsible to ignore.
    Flies with machine guns are unlikely; illegal encampments and environmental destruction have been serious problems here. Stewarding these resources is what has given us a safe and healthy forest for all to enjoy.

  12. alfalfa31 said:

    When laws cease to be moral, they cease to be useful. This person was clearly not a threat to the environment, nor was this person a nuisance by any sense of the word.

    As for the slippery slope argument you presented, it amounts to a ‘what if’ question. What if flies had machine guns? Then I suppose frogs wouldn’t bother them.

  13. Kevin Hoover said:

    How could we not evict this person? The city personnel are sworn to uphold the laws protecting this natural area from development. These are guided by a 1979 citizen initiative the voters came up with and passed. The Forest Managaement Committee, all citizens, meets monthly in public meetings which anyone can attend. No one has objected to the policy toward illegal camps.

    Beyond that, how would we deal with the precedent? You’d have to let the next guy do the same, then the next dozen and hundred. Then you’d have an unregulated subdivision with no sanitation system, drainage, circulation, fire or other public safety plan inhabiting a forest watershed.

  14. alfalfa31 said:

    Why on earth would the authorities concern themselves with such a person? Our society is so hung up on rules that they would make a homeless person out of a person who sought to live simply, out of everyone else’s way.

    Everyone involved in this ‘eviction’ should be ashamed of themselves.

  15. Thinker398 said:

    Was the occupation of this abode connected to the “suicide” victim found in the forest on September 10th 2015, female as apparently the occupant was?

Comments are closed.