Humboldt County is a county
in the U.S. state
. As of the 2010 census
, the population was 132,646.
The county seat
Humboldt County comprises the Eureka–Arcata
, California Micropolitan Statistical Area
. It is located on the far North Coast
, about north of San Francisco
Its primary population centers of Eureka, the site of College of the Redwoods
main campus, and the smaller college town of Arcata
, site of Humboldt State University
, are located adjacent to Humboldt Bay
, California's second largest natural bay. Area cities and towns are known for hundreds of ornate examples of Victorian architecture
Humboldt County is a densely forested mountainous and rural county with about of coastline (more than any other county in the state), situated along the Pacific
coast in Northern California
's rugged Coast (Mountain) Ranges
. With nearly of combined public and private forest in production, Humboldt County alone produces twenty percent of total volume and thirty percent of the total value of all forest product
s produced in California. The county contains over forty percent of all remaining old growth Coast Redwood
forests, the vast majority of which is protected or strictly conserved within dozens of national, state, and local forests and parks, totaling approximately .
The original inhabitants of the area now known as Humboldt County include the Wiyot
and the Eel River Athapaskan peoples
, including the Wailaki
[Van Kirk, Susie]
Humboldt County: A Briefest of Histories
, Humboldt County Historical Society, May 1999
Spanish traders made unintended visits to California with the Manila Galleons
on their return trips from the Philippines
beginning in 1565. Humboldt County was formed in 1853 from parts of Trinity County
. The first recorded entry by people of European origin was a landing by the Spanish in 1775 in Trinidad
The first recorded entry of Humboldt Bay
by non-natives was an 1806 visit from a sea otter
hunting party from Sitka
employed by the Russian American Company
The hunting party included Captain Jonathan Winship
, an American
, and some Aleut
[Humboldt County State Designated Historical Landmarks](_blank)
. - California Historical Landmarks
The bay was not visited again by people of European origin until 1849 when Josiah Gregg's party visited.
In 1850, Douglas Ottinger and Hans Buhne entered the bay, naming it Humboldt in honor of the great naturalist and world explorer, Alexander von Humboldt
, and the name was later applied to the county as a whole.
The area around Humboldt Bay
was once solely inhabited by the Wiyot Indian
tribe. One of the largest Wiyot villages, Tolowot
, was located on Indian Island
in Humboldt Bay
. Founded around 900 BC, it contains a shell midden
in size and deep. It was the site of the February 26, 1860 massacre
of the Wiyot people that was recorded by Bret Harte
, then living in Union, now called Arcata
. Between 60 and 200 Wiyot men, women, and children were murdered that night in the midst of religious ceremony. Tolowot is now a restricted site and a National Historic Landmark
In 2019, the island was restored to the Wiyot tribe, and is now known as Tuluwat or Duluwat island.
State historic landmarks in Humboldt County include Arcata and Mad River Railroad
, California's First Drilled Oil Wells
in Petrolia, Camp Curtis
, Centerville Beach Cross
, the city of Eureka
, the town of Ferndale
, Fort Humboldt
, Humboldt Harbor Historical District
, the Jacoby Building
, The Old Arrow Tree
, Old Indian Village of Tsurai
, the Town of Trinidad
, and Trinidad Head
On February 5 and 6, 1885, Eureka's entire Chinese
population of 300 men and 20 women were expelled after a gunfight between rival Chinese gangs (tongs) resulted in the wounding of a 12-year-old boy and the death of 56-year-old David Kendall, a Eureka City Councilman. After the shooting, an angry mob
of 600 Eureka residents met and informed the Chinese that they were no longer wanted in Eureka and would be hanged
if they were to stay in town longer than 3 p.m. the next day. They were put on two steamships and shipped to San Francisco
. No one was killed in the expulsion. Another Chinese expulsion occurred during 1906 in a cannery on the Eel River
, in which 23 Chinese cannery workers were expelled after objections to their presence. However, some Chinese remained in the Orleans
area, where some white landowners sheltered and purchased food for the Chinese mineworkers until after racial tension passed. Chinese did not return to the coastal cities until the 1950s.
According to the United States Census Bureau
, Humboldt County encompasses 4,052 square miles, 3,568 square miles of which is land and 484 square miles is water.
is the westernmost point in California (longitude
124 degrees, 24 minutes, 30 seconds). Humboldt Bay
, the only deep water port between San Francisco and Coos Bay, Oregon
, is located on the coast at the midpoint of the county.
Humboldt County contains a diversity of plant and animal species, with significant forest and coastal habitats. In coastal areas there are extensive amounts of redwood
forests. A prominent understory shrub is the toyon
, whose northern range limit is in Humboldt County.
on the Pacific Coast.
, the largest remaining old growth Redwood
forest on earth, is located within Humboldt Redwoods State Park
Humboldt County's major rivers include (in order of flow-cubic meters per second-from largest to smallest):
* Klamath River
* Eel River
* Trinity River
* Mad River
The smaller rivers include Redwood Creek, significant due to amount of its flow; the Van Duzen
; the Eel River syncline group composed of the South Fork
, the North Fork
, and the Salt River
; the Mattole
, Salmon, Elk, Bear, and Little
Historically, Humboldt County and the entire far north coast have had many earthquakes over 6.0 magnitude.
The 1992 Cape Mendocino earthquakes
were a series of three major earthquakes that occurred off the coast of Cape Mendocino, California on April 25 and 26, 1992, the largest being a 7.2. Ninety-five people were injured and property in the county sustained considerable damage.
In 2010 a 6.5 magnitude earthquake
struck offshore, west of Eureka
, resulting in only minor injuries and some structural damage to houses and utilities, and no fatalities reported.
The town of Arcata is built on top of an accretionary wedge
. This was formed by the subduction of the Gorda plate underneath the North American plate.
The coastal zone of the county experiences very wet, cool winters and dry, mild foggy summers. In the winter, temperatures range from highs of to lows of . Coastal summers are cool to mild, with average highs of and frequent fogs. Coastal summer temperatures range from highs of to lows of . In the populated areas and cities near the coast, the highest temperatures tend to occur at locations just a few miles inland from Eureka and Arcata, in towns like Fortuna, Rio Dell, and smaller unincorporated communities located somewhat further away from Humboldt Bay. In these locations summer highs are . The coastal zone experiences a number of frosty nights in winter and early spring, though snowfall and hard freezes are rare. Coastal winters are cool and wet. Winter rainstorms are frequent, with averages from to a year varying with elevation.
Inland areas of the county also experience wet, cool winters. Snowfall is common at elevations over throughout the winter months, and is even deep enough at higher elevations to have inspired the opening (now defunct) of a small ski lift operation on Horse Mountain, near Willow Creek
, for several decades in the late 1900s. Summer displays the sharpest difference between the coastal and inland climates. Inland regions of Humboldt County experience highs of depending on the elevation and distance from the ocean. Occasional summer highs of are common in eastern and southern parts of the county including Orleans, Hoopa, Willow Creek, Garberville, Honeydew, and inland river valleys.
As of the 2000 census
, the population of Humboldt County was 126,518. As of that census, there were 51,238 households
in Humboldt County, and the population density
was 35 people per square mile (14/km2
). By 2006, the population was projected to have increased to 131,361 by the California Department of Finance. There were 55,912 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile (6/km2
). The racial makeup of the county was 84.7% White
, 0.9% Black
or African American
, 5.7% Native American
, 1.7% Asian
, 0.2% Pacific Islander
, 2.5% from other races
, and 4.4% from two or more races. In 2017, 11.7% of the population were Hispanic
according to the United States Census Bureau. 13.3% were of German
, 10.7% Irish
, 10.3% English
, 7.4% American
and 5.7% Italian
ancestry according to Census 2000
. 92.1% spoke English
and 4.6% Spanish
as their first language.
There were 51,238 households, out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples
living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.2% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the county, the population was spread out, with 23.2% under the age of 18, 12.4% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 97.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.6 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $31,226, and the median income for a family was $39,370. Males had a median income of $32,210 versus $23,942 for females. The per capita income
for the county was $17,203. About 12.9% of families and 19.5% of the population were below the poverty line
, including 22.5% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.
The 2010 United States Census
reported that Humboldt County had a population of 134,623. The racial makeup of Humboldt County was 109,920 (81.7%) White
, 1,505 (1.1%) African American
, 7,726 (5.7%) Native American
, 2,944 (2.2%) Asian
, 352 (0.3%) Pacific Islander
, 5,003 (3.7%) from other races
, and 7,173 (5.3%) from two or more races. Hispanic
of any race were 13,211 persons (9.8%).
Places by population, race, and income
Humboldt County children are at greater risk of dangerously elevated blood lead levels
than Flint, Michigan
's - and almost double that of any other California county measured.
The cases are concentrated in Eureka's Old Town and downtown areas.
Humboldt County is known for its impressive redwood trees, and many acres of private redwood timberland make Humboldt the top timber producer in California. The lush river bottoms adjacent to the ocean are for producing rich, high-quality dairy products. Somewhat more inland the warmer valleys have historically produced abundant apples and other fruit. More recently vineyards have been planted in the Trinity, Klamath, Mattole and upper Eel river.
Locally based companies
Humboldt County is known for its quality family operated dairy
farms. The Humboldt Creamery
, a significant producer of high grade ice cream
and other dairy products
, still operates from the original headquarters located at Fernbridge
adjacent to the Eel River
As part of the Emerald Triangle
, Humboldt County is known for its cultivation of Cannabis
, estimated to be worth billions of dollars. Proposition 215
allows patients and caregivers who are given a doctor's recommendation to legally (State level only) grow up to 99 plants in Humboldt County.
[Samuels, David. - A Reporter at Large]
"Dr. Kush: How medical marijuana is transforming the weed industry"
''The New Yorker'', July 28, 2008.
However, in the years before Prop 215 (early 1970s – late 1980s), Humboldt County saw a large migration of the Bay Area counter-culture
to the region. Many came looking to purchase cheap land, and ended-up growing marijuana to pay for their land. Especially around Garberville and Redway, the rural culture and hippie scene eventually collaborated to create a rural hippie community in which marijuana became the center of the economy and the culture. Many people prospered by producing marijuana for California and other states because of its reputation for quality.
A Redway radio station, KMUD, in the past has issued warnings and alerts to the region with information on whereabouts of law enforcement on their way to raid marijuana gardens.
The Campaign Against Marijuana Planting
is the multi-agency law enforcement task force managed by the California Department of Justice, formed with the prime purpose of eradicating illegal cannabis production in California. The operations began in the late 70s, but the name CAMP became used after its official establishment in 1983. While the influence of CAMP in Humboldt County has waned with decriminalization of marijuana, there is a renewed interest at the state level regarding valid growing permits and environmental concerns. As a result, CAMP is today still utilized as a policing body, in accordance with the DEA.
Yearly CAMP reports, published by the California Department of Justice, Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement
(BNE) are available online through Humboldt State University's Special Collections. Starting in 1983, the annual reports detail the organizational structure and names of individual participants, a summary of the season's activities, tactics, and mention of special successes, trends and hazards.
County officials and the industry have encountered challenges in the transition from an illegal, underground economy to legal recreational cannabis sales that began in California in 2018.
Parks and recreation
National protected areas
* Redwood National and State Parks
– National Park Service
* King Range National Conservation Area
and The Lost Coast
– Bureau of Land Management
* Samoa Dunes Recreation Area
– Bureau of Land Management
* Headwaters Forest Reserve
– Bureau of Land Management
* Six Rivers National Forest
– U.S. Forest Service
* Trinity National Forest
– U.S. Forest Service
* Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge
– Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
State protected areas
* Little River State Beach
* Trinidad State Beach
* Fort Humboldt State Historic Park
* Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park
* Humboldt Lagoons State Park
* Humboldt Redwoods State Park
* Patrick's Point State Park
* Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park
* Richardson Grove State Park
* Sinkyone Wilderness State Park
* Patrick's Point State Park
* Moonstone Beach
* Indian Beach (also known as Old Home Beach
* Benbow Lake State Recreation Area
* Harry A. Merlo State Recreation Area
* Azalea State Reserve
* John B. Dewitt Redwoods State Reserve
* A. W. Way
* Big Lagoon County Park
* Centerville Beach
* Clam Beach
* Crab Park
* Freshwater County Park
* Hammond Trail
* Luffenholtz Beach
* Mad River, California
* Margarite Lockwood
* Moonstone Beach
* Van Duzen Pamplin Grove
Arts and culture
* The Sequoia Park Zoo
is the oldest zoo in California operating on a facility operated by the City of Eureka in Sequoia Park.
* The Clarke Historical Museum
in Eureka, displays North Coast regional and cultural history in the repurposed Historic Register Bank of Eureka building.
* The Morris Graves Museum of Art
conserves and displays the works of local artists in a restored Carnegie Library
* The Ferndale Repertory Theatre is the county's oldest theater company; it has been in operation since 1972 at the Hart Theater building in Ferndale.
* The Humboldt Crabs
, founded in 1945, are the oldest continuously-operated summer collegiate, wood-bat baseball team in the country.
* ''See also the List of museums in the North Coast (California)
Humboldt County is in .
In the state legislature
, Humboldt is part of , and .
in the county since 2008 have used a distinctive system which has not spread elsewhere. They scan all ballots and release a file of the images with a digital signature, so candidates and the public can recount by hand or electronically to find if the official totals are correct. The first time they did this they found the official software omitted 200 ballots.
Cities by population and voter registration
From 1920 to 1984, the county voted for the national winner of each Presidential election held within these years. Since 1988, Humboldt has been a Democratic
county in Presidential
elections. The last Republican presidential candidate to win a majority in the county was Ronald Reagan
, a Californian, in 1984
[United States Historical Election Returns Series](_blank)
, University of Michigan, 2013
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Humboldt also had a substantial number of people affiliated with the Green Party
, but that number has declined in recent years; however, the Green Party
has had its best performance by presidential and gubernatorial candidates of any county in the United States in Humboldt County, with Jill Stein
gaining her largest county-level number of votes in Humboldt in 2016.
Humboldt County is known for an unusual number of missing person cases. It was highlighted as part of the 2018 Netflix documentary ''Murder Mountain
The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.
Cities by population and crime rates
The List of schools in Humboldt County, California
shows the many school districts, including charter and private schools, at the elementary and high school level. Post-secondary education is offered locally at the College of the Redwoods
and Humboldt State University
. Blue Lake's Dell'Arte International School of Physical Theatre
offers accredited three-year Masters of Fine Arts in Ensemble Based Physical Theatre.
'' is the only daily newspaper in the region; in continuous publication since 1854, and owned by Media News Group
[Honoring the 150th Anniversary of the Times-Standard](_blank)
''Congressional Record'', November 18, 2004
they also print three weeklies: the ''Redwood Times'', the ''Tri-City Weekly'', and ''Northcoast 101''. Other local publications include ''The Independent'', the ''North Coast Journal
'', the ''Ferndale Enterprise'', the ''Two Rivers Tribune'', the ''Isis Scrolls'', and ''The Lumberjack
''. The ''Arcata Eye
'' and the ''McKinleyville Press'' merged in August 2013 to form the ''Mad River Union''.
Humboldt County's locally produced television stations, NBC station KIEM
and PBS station KEET
, are based in Eureka. KIEM produces the only local TV newscast and KEET is the only PBS station in the region. Since 2017, CBS affiliate KVIQ
has been a low-powered
station operated as part of a duopoly
with KIEM, sharing the same studios.
Fox affiliate KBVU
, a semi-satellite
, is based in Chico and ABC affiliate KAEF
, a semi-satellite of KRCR-TV
, is based in Redding. In previous decades all major networks had production capacity in Eureka.
Local internet media
Locally internet based media include:
*Lost Coast Outpost
*Red Headed Black Belt
Community broadband networks and public, educational, and government access
(PEG) cable tv
channels provide air time for local voices on Access Humboldt
. Cable TV channels are carried by Suddenlink Communications
and local programs are provided online through the Community Media Archive. The Digital Redwoods initiative of Access Humboldt is developing local networks to meet comprehensive community needs, including public, education and government purposes.
(1911) on the "Road to Ferndale" - California State Route 211
* U.S. Route 101 in California|U.S. Route 101
* State Route 36
* State Route 96
* State Route 169
* State Route 200
* State Route 211
* State Route 254
- Avenue of the Giants
* State Route 255
* State Route 271
* State Route 283
* State Route 299
* Humboldt Transit Authority
operates two fixed route transit bus
** Redwood Transit System
service to and within communities between Trinidad and Garberville, including Manila, King Salmon, Field's Landing, Loleta, Fernbridge and Fortuna. HTA also offers service between McKinleyville or Arcata and Willow Creek and an express bus
between Arcata and College of the Redwoods when classes are in session.
** Eureka Transit Service
, operated in the City of Eureka, provides local service on four scheduled routes (one hour headway
) in Eureka and its adjacent unincorporated communities. Connections can be made to the Redwood Transit System at several places in Eureka.
* Arcata and Mad River Transit System
, operated by the City of Arcata with funding from Humboldt State University. A&MRTS provides fixed route local bus service on two scheduled routes (one hour headway) in Arcata and an additional route between the Valley West Neighborhood and the university when classes are in session.
* The city of Blue Lake
and the Blue Lake Rancheria
operates the Blue Lake Rancheria Transit Authority. This provides fixed route intercity transit bus service (one hour headway) between Arcata and the Blue Lake Rancheria Indian Reservation
and local service within the city of Blue Lake.
* Del Norte County
's Redwood Coast Transit
operates fixed route intercity transit bus service between Arcata and Crescent City
or Smith River
* Amtrak Thruway bus has stops in many towns in the region, including Eureka, Arcata, and Fortuna. These stops are not managed by Amtrak and therefore have no services beyond serving passengers. Full service is only provided at the train station in Martinez
, near San Francisco.
is located in McKinleyville (north of Arcata). Commercial flights are available. Other general aviation airports are located at Dinsmore, Garberville, Kneeland, Murray Field (Eureka), Samoa Field and Rohnerville (Fortuna).
Port of Humboldt Bay
is on Humboldt Bay, California's second largest natural bay.
In popular culture
''Return of the Jedi
'', ''The Lost World: Jurassic Park
'', ''After Earth
'', ''The Tree of Life
'', ''Swiss Army Man
'', ''The Majestic
'', ''Halloween III: Season of the Witch
'', ''A Wrinkle in Time
'', ''The Call of the Wild
'', ''Salem's Lot
'', ''Almost Heroes
'', ''Jennifer 8
'', ''The Love Witch
'', ''Willow Creek
'', ''An Evening with Beverly Luff Linn
'', ''Humboldt County
'', ''The Gnome-Mobile
'', ''Gun Glory
'', ''A Death in Canaan
'', ''The Enchanted Forest
'', ''Valley of the Giants
'', ''The Valley of the Giants (1919 film)
'', ''The Valley of the Giants (1927 film)
'', ''The Immigrants
'', ''A Lass in the Lumberlands'', ''Jezebel's Kiss'', ''Bigfoot: The Lost Coast Tapes'', ''She's in Portland'', and more.
Much of The WB
's ''Hyperion Bay
'' and the CBS
show ''Blue Skies
'' as well as an episode of ''Moonlighting
'' were filmed in Humboldt County. The infamous ''Patterson-Gimlin film
'' was filmed on Bluff Creek near Orleans, California
Humboldt County has also been the subject of multiple documentary miniseries including Discovery Channel
's ''Pot Cops'' and Netflix
's ''Murder Mountain
Humboldt County has also been featured in episodes of ''On the Case with Paula Zahn
'', ''The Profit
'', ''Hamilton's Pharmacopeia
'', ''Top Gear
'', ''The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
'', ''Diners, Drive-ins and Dives
'', ''Finding Bigfoot
'', ''Treehouse Masters
'', ''Rescue 911
'', ''Walking With Dinosaurs
'', ''Somebody's Gotta Do It
'', ''Monsters Resurrected
'', ''Dan Rather Reports
'', ''Monster Fish'', ''Beachfront Bargain Hunt'', and many more.
Humboldt County has also been the filming location for countless national television advertisements, including many major car commercials.
In the book ''Lolita'' by Vladimir Nabokov there is a possible pun using the county's name (Humboldt) in connection to the main character's name (Humbert Humbert). This appears on page 108: "With the help of a guidebook I located he Enchanted Hunters inn
in the secluded town of Briceland." This 'secluded town' could very well be a reference to the unincorporated Briceland of Humboldt County, making The Enchanted Hunters in 'Humboldt Land', continuing the novel's grotesque fairy-tale veneer.
300px|The Carson Mansion
* Blue Lake
* Rio Dell
* Big Lagoon
* Fields Landing
* Humboldt Hill
* Myers Flat
* Pine Hills
* Shelter Cove
* Willow Creek
Other unincorporated communities
* Cooks Valley
* Elk River
* Fort Seward
* Freshwater Corners
* King Salmon
* Maple Creek
* Patricks Point
* Pine Hill
* Port Kenyon
* Ridgewood Heights
* Riverside Park
* Sunny Brae
Humboldt County has eight Indian reservation
s lying within its borders. Only four other counties in the United States have more: San Diego County, California
; Sandoval County, New Mexico
; Riverside County, California
; and Mendocino County, California
. The Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation
is the largest in the state of California, a state that generally has very small reservations (although very numerous) relative to those in other states.
* Big Lagoon Rancheria
* Blue Lake Rancheria
* Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation
* Karuk Indian Reservation
(partly in Siskiyou County
* Rohnerville Rancheria
* Table Bluff Rancheria
* Cher-Ae Heights Indian Community of the Trinidad Rancheria
* Yurok Indian Reservation
(partly in Del Norte County
The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census
of Humboldt County.
† ''county seat''
* Sara Bareilles
* Lloyd Bridges
* Hobart Brown
* Wesley Chesbro
* David Cobb
* Alexander Cockburn
* Trevor Dunn
* Guy Fieri
* Michael John Fles
* Brendan Fraser
* Robert A. Gearheart
* James Gillett
* Ulysses S. Grant
* Steven Hackett
* Bret Harte
* Dan Hauser
* El Hefe
* Julia Butterfly Hill
* Christa Johnson
* Howard B. Keck
* Seth Kinman
* Naomi Lang
* Rey Maualuga
* Pamela McGee
* Tim McKay
* Mike Patton
* Maurice Purify
* Nate Quarry
* Eric Rofes
* Stephen W. Shaw
* Steve Sillett
* Trey Spruance
* Greg Stafford
* Robert M. Viale
* Don Van Vliet
* Stephen Girard WhippleCalifornia. Adjutant General's Office, Records of California men in the war of the rebellion 1861 to 1867, SACRAMENTO: State Office, J. D. Young, Supt. State Printing, 1890, pp. 11, 826-831
* Ned Yost
* Arcata and Eureka Community Recycling Centers
* Arcata - Jacoby Creek Community Forests
* Arcata Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary
* HSU First Street Gallery
* Humboldt Arts Council
* Humboldt County Historical Society
* Humboldt Crabs
* National Register of Historic Places listings in Humboldt County, California
* Operation Green Sweep
* Humboldt State University
* Lost Man Creek Dam
Humboldt Economic Index
All About Living in Humboldt County
General Guide to Humboldt County
Category:1853 establishments in California
Category:Alexander von Humboldt
Category:Populated places established in 1853