Fields Landing (formerly, South Bay, South Bay Station, and Adele) is an unincorporated community in Humboldt County, California. It is located on Humboldt Bay 6 miles (9.7 km) south-southwest of downtown Eureka, at an elevation of 13 feet (4 m). The ZIP Code is 95537.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, Fields Landing had a total population of 213 people. About 83.1% of the inhabitants were White, 1% African American, 4.2% Native American, 2.3% Asian, and 0.5% Pacific Islander. A total of 4.7% identified with some other race and 4.2% with two or more races. Another 15% of the population identified themselves as having Hispanic or Latino origins. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, zero Fields Landing residents were foreign-born.
In 2000, Fields Landing was composed of 53.1% males and 46.9% females. The median age of the community was 29.8 years in 2000 as compared to the national average of 35.3 for the same year. The 2000 U.S. Census reports that 16.9% of the population was between the ages of 18 and 24, compared to the national average of 9.6%. The 55 and older age group represented 14.6% of the total population in 2000, while the national average for this age group was 21.1% for the same year.
The 2000 U.S. Census stated that 50% of the population 18 years and older received a high school degree as their highest educational attainment compared to the national average of 28.6%. In the community, 78% received a high school degree or higher, while 10% received a bachelor’s degree or higher. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, zero residents of Fields Landing had received a graduate degree or higher compared to the national average of 7.8% for the same year.
Before the arrival of European settlers, the area now known as Humboldt County was occupied by several diverse nations. The Wiyot, Yurok, Hupa, Karuk, Chilula, Whilkut, and the southern Athabascans occupied specific territories, spoke individual languages, and shared similar, yet distinct cultural systems. Fields Landing is within the original territory of the Wiyot nation. Just as they continue to do today, the Wiyot people utilized the surrounding resources for food, medicine, and basketry, including wildlife, salmon, and roots. Across the Bay is Indian Island, "the center of the Wiyot People’s world" and home of the ancient village of Tuluwat. Beneath the village site is a large clamshell midden that is over 6 acres (2.4 ha) in size and estimated to be 1000 years old. It contains the remains of meals, tools, ceremonies, and burial sites. Today, many of the Wiyot people live on 88 acres called the Table Bluff Reservation, located 10 miles (16 km) south of Fields Landing.
The first recorded entrance into Humboldt Bay was in 1806 by employees of a Russian-American Company out of Sitka. The Gregg-Wood party arrived by land in 1849 and by 1850 the first ships came to the Bay bringing men looking for gold. As the Gold Rush subsided, the economy shifted to the use of the surrounding natural resources, mainly timber, salmon, and agricultural land. The area was a prime exporter of agricultural products from 1857 to 1900.
Development around the Bay led to the displacement of the Wiyot and increased tension between groups. During the 1860 World Renewal Ceremony on Indian Island, a group of armed settlers paddled to the Island during the night and killed the sleeping Wiyot. Two other village sites were raided that same night. The few remaining Wiyot people were moved to Fort Humboldt for their protection and then on to a series of reservations. The fort was built in 1853 to assist in resolving conflicts between Native Americans and settlers. An Indian Candlelight Vigil is held every February to remember the 200 lives lost in the massacre.
In the 1880s, docks were built in Fields Landing for shipping redwood and other timber. When the Northwestern Pacific Railroad was extended into the Bay area in 1900, it functioned as a dike and allowed the tidal marshes to be converted into agricultural lands. The construction of U.S. Route 101 in 1927 also created more fill, allowing most of the marshes to be drained and diked.
After World War II, a new Douglas fir and plywood industry brought in many out-of-state loggers and mill workers. From the 1940s to 1951, the last active whaling station in the Western United States on the Pacific Coast operated out of Fields Landing. However, the timber industry continued to dominate life in the community into the 1970s. The next era brought a fresh perspective on resource use, paving the way for a more diverse economy. New groups of people began to arrive, namely Hispanic workers and families and refugees from the Vietnam War.
Humboldt Bay is one of the largest bays on the West Coast. Diking, drainage, and filling reduced the historic 27,000 acres (110 km2) of Bay and wetlands to around 13,000 acres (53 km2). The Bay includes a variety of complex habitats that support 95 species of fish, at least 180 species of invertebrates, and thirty species of clams, oysters, and mussels. The economic health of Fields Landing continues to be "tied to the Bay, the resources it provides, and the natural resources around it.
The economic base of Fields Landing was originally founded on fishing and timber. The commercial fishing industry experienced a downsizing in recent years and, today, the major industries are tourism and timber. One of the main employers of the area is Humboldt Bay Forest Products, which owns one of the two shipping terminals in Fields Landing.
The 2000 U.S. Census indicates that 0% of the employed civilian population 16 years and over worked in the agriculture, forestry, fishing, and hunting industries. This percentage may not be indicative of the actual number of people in these professions as many are self-employed, especially in the fishing industry. A total of 7% worked in arts, entertainment, recreation, and accommodation and food services. Additionally, 8% worked in educational, health, and social services, while 9.9% were employed by the government. The 2000 U.S. Census states that the unemployment rate in 2000 was 22.6% (calculated by dividing the unemployed population by the labor force). For the population 16 years and older, 41.9% were not in the labor force, while 45% were employed.
According to the 2000 U.S. Census, in 1999 the median household income was $35,313 and the per capita income was $14,198. About 24.5% of the population was living below poverty level in 1999. Of the 95 housing units in 2000, 89.5% were occupied and 10.5% were vacant. Of the occupied housing units, 40% were owner occupied, while 60% were renter occupied.
Fields Landing is accessible by a number of transportation options. Amtrak and Greyhound provide rail and bus service respectively from nearby communities to greater metropolitan areas throughout the country. The major highway that intersects Fields Landing is U.S. Highway 101.
Students attend local elementary, middle, and high schools in the nearby community of Eureka. Electricity is provided to community residents by Pacific Gas and Electric. Water and sewer services are supplied by Cal-American Water Company. The Humboldt County Sheriff Department provides local law enforcement. The closest health care facility, St. Joseph Hospital, is located nearby in Eureka. Fields Landing accommodations include one motel however additional lodging is available in nearby communities.
Fields Landing is located within the Port of Humboldt Bay Harbor, Recreation and Conservation District and the Port of Humboldt. Two shipping terminals are based in Fields Landing. Humboldt Bay Forest Products Docks include one berth with a 600 feet (180 m) wooden dock with two approach ramps. Fields Landing Terminal includes one berth with a 900 feet (270 m) dock.
In 2000, of the 42 vessels that delivered landings to Fields Landing, all were commercially registered. The community had at least one processor plant in 2000. Landings in the community were included $182,000 of crab and over $1.5 miliion of groundfish.
Fields Landing residents owned eight vessels in 2000, all of which participated in the Federally Managed Groundfish fishery. Seven Federally Managed Groundfish fishery permits were held by three Fields Landing residents in 2000.