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Tim McKay Collection
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Collection Overview
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The Tim McKay Collection holds an excellent representation of the materials generated by environmental activists from the 1970s to 2006. McKay was employed by the Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC) in Arcata, California for 31 years, and was Executive Director for 30 of those years. In that position, Tim was at the center of a large network and information clearinghouse for issues of local, regional, state, national, and world wide concern. The collection is especially rich in information about north coast regional forest land management, ancient forests/old growth, the Klamath/Siskiyou area, the Gasquet Orleans Road (G-O Rd.), national forests, and endangered species. Other strengths include forest practices, wilderness, bioregionalism, and land use policies. The McKay Postcard Collection was donated at same time and is maintained as a separate collection, 2007.02.
Susie Van Kirk graciously wrote an essay based on her long friendship with Tim McKay and the materials in this collection. It begins with this overview of Tim and his life’s work: A life-long Californian, Tim McKay—naturalist, writer, scholar, historian, environmental advocate—was executive director of the Northcoast Environmental Center (NEC) in Arcata, California from 1976 until his death in 2006. Under his leadership, the NEC became an influential organization in regional campaigns for Wilderness, ancient forests, and salmon, and locally as the umbrella for every grassroots, “friends of” group that took up the gauntlet as advocates for their home watersheds. He was a man of persistence and unswerving dedication to the ecological complexities and beauties of the natural world. McKay was gifted and had an insatiable drive for knowledge and a mind to match, allowing him to absorb, retain, and use information to successfully advocate for wild places, functioning ecosystems, and their associated fauna and flora. His ability with words, his scholarship, his passion, and an uncanny political savvy transformed a fledgling group of the early environmental movement into a force to be reckoned with, and one that has left its mark across the regional landscape. Often under personal attack, including threatening phone calls, McKay responded as a man confident in his position on the issues, always following his favorite rule-to-live-by: “Endless pressure; Endlessly applied.”
60 cubic feet
Copyright has not been assigned to Humboldt State University and has been retained by Tim McKay’s children, Laurel McKay and Forrest McKay, and their heirs. To obtain permission to publish or reproduce in any format please contact the Special Collections Librarian.
Open for research by appointment.