Scotia (formerly, Forestville) is an unincorporated community in Humboldt County, California. It is located 8.5 miles (13.7 km) south-southeast of Fortuna, at an elevation of 194 feet (59 m). The ZIP Code is 95565.
Scotia is a company town, wholly owned by Pacific Lumber Company (PALCO), which is home to approximately 800 past or present mill employees and their dependents. Located in northwestern California's Humboldt County, its partially wooded hillside near the Eel River is highlighted by the sheer size of mammoth lumber mill buildings located between the town and the river. Via U.S. Route 101, the town is 28 miles (45 km) south of Eureka, California and 244 miles (393 km) north of San Francisco.
Scotia was founded in 1863 as Forestville and renamed 25 years later. At the time of its founding, Scotia was just one of many company towns across the Pacific Northwest, many of which closed down during the Great Depression. Scotia, however, was one of a relative handful of company towns to survive this period. Most of the existing homes were built between the 1920s and 1950s.
A large 1992 earthquake caused widespread regional damage. A fire broke out in Scotia's only shopping center, causing extensive damage. PALCO completely rebuilt the structure.
PALCO announced in 2006 a desire to sell the homes (to the employees and retirees who currently live there) and commercial property. The company suggested that Scotia become part of Rio Dell, which is a small neighboring city located directly across the Eel River. In 2007, the company filed for bankruptcy. Additionally the need for employees has reduced from over 1,000 to around 300 in part due to a lack of logs and also from automation.
Offerings includes the following: a movie theater, a museum and a hotel with the town's only bar and restaurant, a new shopping center, a school through eighth grade, a community recreation center, a baseball field and two churches. PALCO operates the town on a one million dollar annual budget. Available housing consists of 274 two-to-four-bedroom wood frame cottages. The 28 person volunteer fire department is fully funded by PALCO.
The Scotia Museum contains artifacts, photographs, and exhibits. The Fisheries Center allows visitors to view various types of the area's native fish and experience a setting that is remarkably similar to their natural environment.
In the state legislature Scotia is located in the 2nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Pat Wiggins, and in the 1st Assembly District, represented by Democrat Patty Berg. Federally, Scotia is located in California's 1st congressional district.