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Northern California District
Release Date: 06/29/11
Contacts: Chris Heppe , (707) 825-2300 or  
  Jeff Fontana , (530) 252-5332  
News Release No. NC-11-62

Students Help BLM Build Replica Sand Shack at Headwaters Forest Reserve

A little more “life” has been breathed into the logging ghost town of Falk in the Headwaters Forest Reserve, thanks to months of work by students from Fortuna’s East High School.

Construction trades students earlier this month completed building a replica “sand shack” next to the Headwaters Education Center, which is a restored locomotive barn along the Elk River Trail east of Eureka.  The new addition to the Bureau of Land Management education center will help visitors more clearly imagine how the redwoods of Headwaters were once the lifeblood of a town that had its own lumber mill and railroad.

Both structures are a half mile from the Elk River Trailhead, which is open to the public all year.

The students have worked on the project since April.  Using as much lumber from the original building as they could, the students built components of the replica building at their school wood shop, and then assembled the structure on site with the help of staff from the BLM.

Students at Blue Ox Millworks in Eureka are now finishing the wood shingles to complete the roof.

“We deeply appreciate the time and effort that these students and their teacher, Dan Tangney, put into this project,” said Lynda Roush, manager of the BLM Arcata Field Office.  “The students used their considerable skills and energy to complete a project that will benefit the public for years to come.”

The original sand shack was a simple structure with an apparatus used to dry the sand that was spread on railroad tracks to increase the traction for locomotives hauling logs to the lumber mill at Falk.

The replica sand shack and engine barn help illustrate the story of Falk, a mill town that sprang to life in the 1880s.  At its peak about 400 people lived there,  harvesting giant redwoods, milling the trees in the town’s sawmill, and shipping the finished products to the docks at Bucksport, which is now the southern part of Eureka.

Today, interpretive signs at key points along the paved portion of the Elk River Trail point out vestiges of the town and tell the story of hard work and daily life in an early mill town.  The interpretive trail also features information about the redwoods and other natural resources of the Headwaters Forest Reserve.

More information about the Headwaters Forest Reserve is available by contacting the BLM’s Arcata Field Office at (707) 825-2300.


Northern California District   355 Hemsted Dr., Redding, CA 96002  

Last updated: 06-29-2011