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.
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.
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.
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.”