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Impacts On The Future Of The Skunk Train And Our Community



The Challenge. From 2002 through 2015, Fort Bragg and the Mendocino Railroad (MR aka the Skunk Train) were hit by a series of economic shocks which restructured our local economy:


  • In 2002 the Georgia-Pacific Mill Site (owned by Koch Industries) closed resulting in a total direct job loss of 2,000 in a city of 7,200 residents. The closure of the lumber mill impacted the MR, which had historically transported raw logs and finished lumber to and from the Mill.

  • In 2013 Tunnel 1 of MR was damaged by a rock slide. It was reopened again in 2014 and yet suffered a second more significant collapse in 2015, which eliminated freight service and significantly reduced the distance for train excursions. The loss of the skunk trail for rail transportation is a challenge for Fort Bragg, due to its relatively isolated location 45 miles from a major highway and the high cost of trucking.


Even with these economic challenges, Fort Bragg has worked hard to remake itself. We have fostered and encouraged small manufacturing and we are working with Georgia-Pacific to rezone the 400 acre Mill Site for a mix of industrial, manufacturing, retail and housing. The rehabilitation of the MR will assist with the redevelopment of this significant property.


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