Trinity River (California)
The Trinity River is a major river in northwestern California in the United States, is the principal tributary of the Klamath River. The Trinity flows for 165 miles through the Klamath Mountains and Coast Ranges, with a watershed area of nearly 3,000 square miles in Trinity and Humboldt Counties. Designated a National Wild and Scenic River, along most of its course the Trinity flows swiftly through tight canyons and mountain meadows; the river is known for its once prolific runs of anadromous fish, notably Chinook salmon and steelhead, which sustained Native American tribes for thousands of years. Due to its remoteness, the Trinity did not feature prominently in the early European colonization of California, but the gold rush in the mid-1800s brought thousands of gold seekers to the area; the river was named by Major Pierson B. Reading who, upon reaching the river in 1848, mistakenly believed it to flow into the Pacific Ocean at Trinidad Bay. During and after the gold rush, the influx of settlers and miners into the Trinity River country led to conflict with indigenous tribes, many of which saw severe depopulation due to fighting and foreign diseases.
In the following decades logging and ranching, combined with mining runoff changed the river's ecology and led to the decline of its fish populations. Today, the Trinity River is an important water source for irrigation and hydroelectricity generation, as well as a major center of recreational activities such as gold panning and whitewater rafting. Since 1964 the Trinity River has been dammed to create Trinity Lake, the third largest man-made lake in the state; as much as 90 percent of the upper Trinity River watershed was diverted for agriculture in the Central Valley. In 1991 environmental regulations were enacted, requiring a greater release of water to the Trinity River in order to protect fish. However, the use of Trinity River water remains a contentious issue in years of drought; the Trinity River begins deep in the Scott Mountains, in Trinity County, at the confluence of High Camp Creek and Chilcoot Creek. It flows south through a deep valley between the Trinity Mountains to the east and the Salmon Mountains/Trinity Alps to the west, picking up Coffee Creek, before entering Trinity Lake, a large reservoir created by the Trinity Dam.
The East Fork and Stuart Fork of the Trinity River flow into the reservoir. Just below Trinity Dam is the smaller Lewiston Dam, which diverts part of the Trinity River through a hydroelectric plant to the Sacramento River Basin as part of the Central Valley Project, providing irrigation water to California's Central Valley. Below Lewiston Dam the Trinity River passes the towns of Lewiston and Douglas City and turns west, passing within a few miles of Weaverville, the seat of Trinity County and the main population center of the area, it turns northwest, past Junction City, receives the North Fork Trinity River at Helena. Further west it passes the former mining settlement of Big Bar and enters a deep gorge, which provides the route for Highway 299, the principal road connecting Redding to the Humboldt Bay area. At Burnt Ranch it receives the New River from the north. At Salyer the South Fork, its main tributary, enters from the south, nearly doubling the flow. At the confluence of the South Fork, the Trinity River turns north, entering Humboldt County.
It flows through the wider steep-sided namesake valley of the Hoopa Valley Reservation, past the towns of Willow Creek and Hoopa. It joins the Klamath River at Weitchpec, 44 miles above the mouth of the larger river on the Pacific Ocean; the confluence marks the point where the Klamath turns from its southwesterly course to flow north towards the sea. As the crow flies, Weitchpec is situated about 30 miles northeast of Eureka; the Trinity River is a predominantly rain-fed river, with the highest flows occurring between December and April and the lowest from August through October. The water level can rise in the winter when large Pacific storms strike California's north coast. No precipitation occurs in summer, when the primary source of flow is snowmelt from the higher elevations of the Klamath Mountains and groundwater base flow. In addition, diversion of water to the Central Valley has reduced the total flow of the river since the 1960s, though conversely, a required minimum dam release for protection of migrating salmon results in a flow rate during the dry season, higher than it would be.
The United States Geological Survey operates eight real-time stream gages on the Trinity River. The lowermost gage, located at Hoopa, measures runoff from 2,853 square miles, or 97 percent of the Trinity River watershed; the annual discharge, averaged over the 1964–2013 period, was 4,849 cubic feet per second. The average discharge between 1912–1960, prior to construction of Trinity and Lewiston Dams, was 5,618 cubic feet per second; the maximum flow was 231,000 cubic feet per second on December 22, 1964 during the Christmas flood of 1964, the lowest was 162 cubic feet per second on October 4, 1931. The peak flow in 1964 was attenuated by the Trinity Dam which had just started reservoir filling at the time by as much as 100,000 cubic feet per second. However, the record-breaking rains of that winter swelled tributaries below the dam and contributed to a crest 20 feet higher than the second highest peak, recorded in December 1955. Trinity River monthly mean discharge at Hoopa The other USGS gages are located at Coffee Creek, below Lewiston Dam and below Douglas City, at Junction City, at He
Humboldt County, California
Humboldt County is a county in the U. S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 132,646; the county seat is Eureka. Humboldt County comprises CA Micropolitan Statistical Area, it is located on the far North Coast, about 270 miles north of San Francisco. Its primary population centers of Eureka, the site of College of the Redwoods main campus, 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 110 miles of coastline, situated along the Pacific coast in Northern California's rugged Coast Ranges. With nearly 1,500,000 acres 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 products produced in California.
The county contains over forty percent of all remaining old growth Coast Redwood forests, the vast majority of, protected or conserved within dozens of national and local forests and parks, totaling 680,000 acres. The original inhabitants of the area now known as Humboldt County include the Wiyot, Hupa, Chilula and the Eel River Athapaskan peoples, including the Wailaki and Nongatl. Andrés de Urdaneta found the coast near Cape Mendocino followed the coast south to Acapulco in 1565. 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, some Aleut hunters.
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, the name was applied to the county as a whole; the area around Humboldt Bay was once inhabited by the Wiyot Indian tribe. One of the largest Wiyot villages, was located on Indian Island in Humboldt Bay. Founded around 900 BC, it contains a shell midden 6 acres in size and 14 feet deep, it was the site of the February 26, 1860 massacre of the Wiyot people, recorded by Bret Harte living in Union, now called Arcata. Between 60 and 200 Wiyot men and children were murdered that night. Tolowot is now a National Historic Landmark. 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, 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 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 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; the coastal zone of the county experiences wet, cool winters and dry, mild foggy summers.
In the winter, temperatures range from highs of 40–59 °F to lows of 32–49 °F. Coastal summers are cool to mild, with average highs of 60 -- frequent fogs. Coastal summer temperatures range from highs of 64–70 °F to lows of 46–55 °F. 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, smaller unincorporated communities located somewhat further away from Humboldt Bay. In these locations summer highs are 70–75 °F; the coastal zone experiences a number of frosty nights in winter and early spring, though snowfall and hard freezes are rare. Coastal winters are wet. Winter rainstorms are frequent, with averages from 30 inches to 100 inches a year varying with elevation. Inland areas of the county experience wet, cool winters. Snowfall is common at elevations over 3,000 ft throughout the winter months, is deep enough at higher elevations to have inspired the opening 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 inland climates. Inland regions of Humboldt County experience highs of 80–99 °F depending on
The Klamath Project is a water-management project developed by the United States Bureau of Reclamation to supply farmers with irrigation water and farmland in the Klamath Basin. The project supplies water to the Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge, the Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuge; the project was one of the first to be developed by the Reclamation Service, which became the Bureau of Reclamation. The two main sources supply water for the project are the Klamath River; the main bodies of water in the Klamath Project are Clear Lake Reservoir, Klamath River, Link River, Lost River, Lower Klamath Lake, Tule Lake, Upper Klamath Lake. The project fills these reservoirs from the spring runoff, peaking in March and April, keeps the runoff from flooding the historical marshes that are a large portion of the present farmland. There are many minor streams in the area. Lost River drained into Tule Lake, an endorheic lake; the project now diverts excess Lost River water to the Klamath River, allowing portions of Tule Lake to be reclaimed.
Some 225,000 acres of rangeland have been transformed into active farmland through the Klamath Project. Of that total, 80,000 acres were recovered by draining a portion of Lower Klamath Lake, a shallow marsh straddling the Oregon-California border between the California towns of Dorris and Tulelake. Tule Lake was reduced in size by diverting water from Lost River to the Klamath River. Farmers in the project raise barley, alfalfa hay, other hay, oats and wheat; the Klamath Basin is on the Pacific Flyway and the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuges Complex is visited by migratory game birds every year. The project should not be confused with the Klamath River Hydroelectric Project, a set of hydro dams on the mainstem of the Klamath operated by for-profit energy company PacifiCorp; the Link River Dam belongs to both. Construction began on the project in 1906 with the building of the main "A" Canal. Water was first made available May 22, 1907; the Clear Lake Dam was completed in 1910, the Lost River Diversion Dam and many of the distribution structures in 1912, the Anderson-Rose Diversion Dam in 1921.
The Malone Diversion Dam on Lost River was built in 1923 to divert water to Langell Valley. A contract executed February 24, 1917, between the California-Oregon Power Company and the United States authorized the company to construct the Link River Dam for the benefit of the project and for the company's use, in particular extended to the water users of the Klamath Project certain preferential power rates; the dam was completed in 1921. In more recent times, the Klamath Project has been the focus of nationwide controversy; the Lost River and Shortnose suckers were listed as endangered in 1988. This, as well as concerns for salmon runs, led to a cutoff of irrigation water to local farmers on April 6, 2001. After many protests by farmers and concerned citizens alike, the decision was reversed the next year; the impact of the salmon kill was detailed in the book. A 2002 report by the National Research Council however, determined that the decision to stop delivery of irrigation water in 2001 was not scientifically justified and that the 2002 fish kill was caused by a combination of natural factors.
A massive die off of salmon occurred in 2002 due to low water and high temperatures in the lower reaches of the river during the salmon migration. Studies showed that drought conditions and low flow from the entire drainage were among the factors that caused a unique mix of conditions to allow a gill rot disease to attack the salmon population; the conflict in balancing the economic and ecological concerns of the region was the focus of the 2006 book River of Renewal: Myth and History in the Klamath Basin. Today, there is still much antagonism between opposing sides on this issue; the Klamath Project contains all of them on tributaries of the Klamath River itself. In chronological order of completion, they are: the Clear Lake Dam, completed in 1910, replaced 2002, for flood control and water storage, it impounds Lost River to form Clear Lake Reservoir the Lost River Diversion Dam, completed in 1912, diverts the waters of the Lost River into the Klamath, thereby controlling flow into the adjacent Tule Lake National Wildlife Refuge and reclaimed parts of the Tule Lake bed the Link River Dam, completed in 1921 for flood control, water storage, hydro power.
It impounds Link River to form Upper Klamath Lake the Anderson-Rose Diversion Dam, completed in 1921 as a diversion dam, on the Lost River close to Merrill, Oregon the Malone Diversion Dam, finished in 1923, on the upper Lost River the Miller Diversion Dam, completed in 1924, on Miller Creek, 8 miles below Gerber Dam the Gerber Dam, completed in 1925 for water storage, impounding Miller Creek to form Gerber Reservoir There are over 717 miles of canals and diversion channels in the Klamath Project. The canals transport irrigation water from Klamath Lake and the Klamath River, Clear Lake and the Lost River, Tule Lake. There are two tunnels: the "A" Canal has an underground section as it flows through Klamath Falls, the Tule Lake Tunnel. There are 728 miles of drainage canals in the Klamath Project which allow land that would otherwise be wetlands to be farmed; the Lower Klamath Lake was 80,000 acres before it was drained and would evaporate about 240,000 acre feet each summer. This is equivalent to the annual delivery of the A canal.
There are 28 pumping stations in the Klamath Project. These pumps have a total output of over 1937 ft
Sprague River (Oregon)
The Sprague River is a tributary of the Williamson River 75 miles long, in southwestern Oregon in the United States. It drains an arid volcanic plateau region east of the Cascade Range in the watershed of the Klamath River, it is formed by the confluence of its north and south forks in eastern Klamath County 35 miles east-northeast of Klamath Falls at 42.437650°N 121.109435°W / 42.437650. The North Fork Sprague River, 30 miles, rises in southwestern Lake County in the Fremont National Forest near Gearhart Mountain at 42.5287618°N 120.8183115°W / 42.5287618. The South Fork Sprague River, 30 miles, rises northeast of Quartz Mountain Pass at 42.4815400°N 120.7869201°W / 42.4815400. The combined stream flows west through the broad Sprague Valley, past the small communities of Bly and Sprague River, it joins the Williamson from the east at Chiloquin, about 10 miles north of the mouth of the Williamson on Upper Klamath Lake at 42.5712475°N 121.8744593°W / 42.5712475. It receives the Sycan River from the north at Beatty.
Superb trout fishing exists in its tributaries. List of rivers of Oregon List of longest streams of Oregon
Bureau of Land Management
The Bureau of Land Management is an agency within the United States Department of the Interior that administers more than 247.3 million acres of public lands in the United States which constitutes one eighth of the landmass of the country. President Harry S. Truman created the BLM in 1946 by combining two existing agencies: the General Land Office and the Grazing Service; the agency manages the federal government's nearly 700 million acres of subsurface mineral estate located beneath federal and private lands severed from their surface rights by the Homestead Act of 1862. Most BLM public lands are located in these 12 western states: Alaska, California, Idaho, Nevada, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming; the mission of the BLM is "to sustain the health and productivity of the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations." BLM holdings were described as "land nobody wanted" because homesteaders had passed them by. All the same, ranchers hold nearly 18,000 permits and leases for livestock grazing on 155 million acres of BLM public lands.
The agency manages 221 wilderness areas, 27 national monuments and some 636 other protected areas as part of the National Conservation Lands, totaling about 36 million acres. In addition the National Conservation Lands include nearly 2,400 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers, nearly 6,000 miles of National Scenic and Historic Trails. There are more than 63,000 gas wells on BLM public lands. Total energy leases generated $5.4 billion in 2013, an amount divided among the Treasury, the states, Native American groups. The BLM's roots go back to the Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787; these laws provided for the survey and settlement of the lands that the original 13 colonies ceded to the federal government after the American Revolution. As additional lands were acquired by the United States from Spain and other countries, the United States Congress directed that they be explored and made available for settlement. During the Revolutionary War, military bounty land was promised to soldiers who fought for the colonies.
After the war, the Treaty of Paris of 1783, signed by the United States, England and Spain, ceded territory to the United States. In the 1780s, other states relinquished their own claims to land in modern-day Ohio. By this time, the United States needed revenue to function. Land was sold. In order to sell the land, surveys needed to be conducted; the Land Ordinance of 1785 instructed a geographer to oversee this work as undertaken by a group of surveyors. The first years of surveying were completed by error. In 1812, Congress established the General Land Office as part of the Department of the Treasury to oversee the disposition of these federal lands. By the early 1800s, promised bounty land claims were fulfilled. Over the years, other bounty land and homestead laws were enacted to dispose of federal land. Several different types of patents existed; these include cash entry, homestead, military warrants, mineral certificates, private land claims, state selections, town sites, town lots. A system of local land offices spread throughout the territories, patenting land, surveyed via the corresponding Office of the Surveyor General of a particular territory.
This pattern spread across the entire United States. The laws that spurred this system with the exception of the General Mining Law of 1872 and the Desert Land Act of 1877 have since been repealed or superseded. In the early 20th century, Congress took additional steps toward recognizing the value of the assets on public lands and directed the Executive Branch to manage activities on the remaining public lands; the Mineral Leasing Act of 1920 allowed leasing and production of selected commodities, such as coal, oil and sodium to take place on public lands. The Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 established the United States Grazing Service to manage the public rangelands by establishment of advisory boards that set grazing fees; the Oregon and California Revested Lands Sustained Yield Management Act of 1937 referred as the O&C Act, required sustained yield management of the timberlands in western Oregon. In 1946, the Grazing Service was merged with the General Land Office to form the Bureau of Land Management within the Department of the Interior.
It took several years for this new agency to reorganize. In the end, the Bureau of Land Management became less focused on land disposal and more focused on the long term management and preservation of the land; the agency achieved its current form by combining offices in the western states and creating a corresponding office for lands both east of and alongside the Mississippi River. As a matter of course, the BLM's emphasis fell on activities in the western states as most of the mining, land sales, federally owned areas are located west of the Mississippi. BLM personnel on the ground have been oriented toward local interests, while bureau management in Washington are led by presidential guidance. By means of the Federal Land Policy and Management Act of 1976, Congress created a more unified bureau mission and recognized the value of the remaining public lands by declaring that these lands would remain in public ownership; the law directed that these lands be managed with a view toward "multiple use" defined as "management of the public lands and their various resource values so that th
Yreka is the county seat of Siskiyou County, United States, located near the Shasta River at 2,500 feet above sea level and covering about 10.1 sq mi area, of which most is land. As of the 2010 United States Census, the population was 7,765, reflecting an increase of 475 from the 7,290 counted in the 2000 Census. Yreka is home to the College of the Siskiyous, Klamath National Forest Interpretive Museum and the Siskiyou County Museum, its gold mining heritage is commemorated by the high school team which uses a gold miner as their name and mascot. In March 1851, Abraham Thompson, a mule train packer, discovered gold near Rocky Gulch while traveling along the Siskiyou Trail from southern Oregon. By April 1851, 2,000 miners had arrived in "Thompson's Dry Diggings" to test their luck, by June 1851, a gold rush "boomtown" of tents, a few rough cabins had sprung up. Several name changes occurred; the name comes from the Shasta language /wáik'a/, for which Mount Shasta is named. The word means "north mountain" or "white mountain".
Mark Twain tells a different story: Harte had arrived in California in the fifties, twenty-three or twenty-four years old, had wandered up into the surface diggings of the camp at Yreka, a place which had acquired its mysterious name — when in its first days it much needed a name — through an accident. There was a bakeshop with a canvas sign which had not yet been put up but had been painted and stretched to dry in such a way that the word BAKERY, all but the B, showed through and was reversed. A stranger read it wrong end first, YREKA, supposed that, the name of the camp; the campers adopted it. Poet Joaquin Miller described Yreka during 1853–1854 as a bustling place with "... a tide of people up and down and across other streets, as strong as if a city on the East Coast". Incorporation proceedings were completed on April 21, 1857. There have been two documented lynchings in the town of Yreka; the first took place on August 26, 1895, when four men – William Null, Garland Stemler, Luis Moreno, Lawrence Johnson – awaiting trial for various charges of murder and robbery, were hanged by a lynch mob from a railroad tie suspended from two adjacent trees.
The second lynching occurred about 40 years on July 28, 1935. Clyde Johnson and Robert Miller Barr robbed a local business and its patrons in Castella, California; the pair stole a car from a patron and drove north to Dunsmuir, where they planned to abandon the automobile and make a getaway by train. Soon after they abandoned the car north of Dunsmuir, the pair was stopped by California Highway Patrolman George “Molly” Malone and Dunsmuir titular Chief of Police, 38-year-old Frank R. "Jack" Daw. Johnson wounded both policemen. Malone recovered. Clyde Johnson was caught a few hours by a dragnet and was taken into custody. Barr, holding the $35 that they got from the robbery, panicked during the shootout and ran off into the woods escaped on a freight train. Jack Daw was a beloved figure in Dunsmuir, his title of Chief of Police was honorary, given to him because of his cool head and experience as a World War I veteran. The night of Daw's funeral a dozen cars from Dunsmuir, carrying 50 masked men, drove north to Yreka to lynch Johnson.
On August 3, 1935 at 1:30am, the vigilante mob reached the Yreka jail and knocked on the door. Deputy Marin Lange, the only guard on duty at the jail, opened the door and was overtaken, he was driven nine miles east of Yreka. The mob proceeded to search the jail, found Johnson, drove him away in one of the cars and hanged him from a pine tree. Barr was arrested over a year on September 4, 1936, in Los Angeles on a burglary charge. During his time on the lam, he got a part as an extra in the Nelson Eddy/Jeanette MacDonald film, Rose Marie, scenes of which were filmed near Lake Tahoe, he is credited in the film under his real name. Yreka is located at 2,500 feet above sea level in the Shasta Valley, south of the Siskiyou Mountains and north of Mount Shasta, a 14,000 ft dormant volcano which towers over the valley. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 10.1 sq mi, of which 10.0 square miles is land and 0.1 square miles is water. The official city flower of Yreka is the Yreka phlox.
The only known specimen of Calochortus monanthus, the single-flowered mariposa lily, was collected near Yreka along the banks of the Shasta River by botanist Edward Lee Greene, in June 1876. Nearby places include: Montague: 6.4 miles east Grenada: 11.5 miles southeast Fort Jones: 17.2 miles southwest Klamath River: 24.3 miles northwest Hornbrook: 15.1 miles north According to the Köppen climate classification system, Yreka qualifies as having a hot-summer Mediterranean climate, but qualifies as having a warm-summer Mediterrean climate. The 2010 United States Census reported that Yreka had a population of 7,765; the population density was 772.5 people per square mile. The racial makeup of Yreka was 6,495 White, 57 African American, 491 Native American, 94 Asian, 9 Pacific Islander, 168 from other races, 451 from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 753 persons; the Census reported that 7,718 people lived in households, 33 lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, 14 were institutionalized.
There were 3,394 households, out of which 983 (29.0%
Modoc County, California
Modoc County is a county in the far northeast corner of the U. S. state of California. As of the 2010 census, the population was 9,686. Making it the third-least populous county in California; the county seat and only incorporated city is Alturas. Previous county seats include Lake Centerville; the county borders Oregon. A large portion of Modoc County is federal land. Several federal agencies, including the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, have employees assigned to the area, their operations are a significant part of the area's economy and services; the county's official slogans include "The last best place" and "Where the West still lives". Prior to the arrival of Europeans in the region, varying cultures of Native Americans inhabited the county for thousands of years. At the time of European encounter, the Modoc people lived in what is now northern California, near Lost River and Tule Lake.
The county was named after them. The Achumawi, the Paiute lived in the area. To the north were the Klamath in present-day Oregon; the first European explorers to visit Modoc County were the American John C. Frémont and his traveling party in 1846, who had departed from Sutter's Fort near the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers; the northern boundary of California, Modoc County, had been established as the 42nd parallel since the time of Mexican possession. In the absence of a reliable survey of the 120th meridian, the eastern boundary of northern California was a subject of contention before Modoc County formed; the Territory of Utah requested jurisdiction to the summit of the Sierra Nevada. At the time, the Warner Mountains were believed to be a part of the Sierra Nevada, so this would have included Surprise Valley, but California denied the request. In 1856, the residents of Honey Lake Valley reckoned the 120th meridian to be west of their valley, placing them in Utah territory, attempted to secede and form a territory they called Nataqua.
Nataqua would have included Modoc County. In 1858, the Territory of Nevada, with its capital now in Carson City seceded from Utah, assumed jurisdiction to the summit of the Sierra Nevada until the 120th meridian was surveyed in 1863. After Nevada was granted statehood in 1864, the region of current Modoc County was placed within jurisdiction of Shasta County and Siskiyou County was, in turn, generated from Shasta County in 1852. Increasing traffic on the emigrant trail, unprovoked militia raids on innocent Modoc, a cycle of retaliatory raids increased a cycle of violence between settlers and the tribes in the area. In 1864, the Klamath and Yahooskin band of the Shoshone signed a treaty ceding lands in both Oregon and California, the tribes were colocated on the Klamath Reservation. Harassed by the Klamath, traditional competitors, a band of Modoc led by Captain Jack returned to California and the Tule Lake area; the Modoc War of 1872-73 brought nationwide attention to the Modoc during the protracted battles.
From strong defensive positions in the lava tubes, 52 Modoc warriors held off hundreds of US Army forces, who called in artillery to help. Peace talks in 1873 stalled. Warriors urged killing the peace commissioners, thinking that the Americans would leave, Captain Jack and others shot and killed General Edward Canby and Rev. Eleazer Thomas, wounded others. More Army troops were called in to lay siege to Captain Jack's Stronghold. Dissension arose, some Modoc surrendered. Most were captured, those responsible for the assassinations were tried and executed. More than 150 Modoc were transported to Indian Territory as prisoners of war; the area has since been designated the Lava Beds National Monument. Settlement of the county began in earnest in the 1870s, with the timber, gold and railroad industries bringing most of the settlers into the area; the county was a crossroads for the Lassen Applegate Trail, which brought settlers north from Nevada to the Oregon Trail and south to trails leading into California's central valley.
Early settlers included the Dorris, Essex, Trumbo, Polander and Campbell families. Modoc County was formed when Governor Newton Booth signed an Act of the California Legislature on February 17, 1874 after residents of the Surprise Valley region lobbied for the creation of a new county from eastern Siskiyou County land; the county residents considered naming the newly formed county after General Edward Canby, killed the year before at peace talks in an ambush by Modoc. The idea of naming the county "Summit" was considered, but the populace settled on "Modoc"; the Dorris Bridge post office opened in 1871, was renamed Dorrisville in 1874. In 1876, it was renamed Alturas; the census of 1880 showed a population of 148. Settlement continued over the next two decades, until the city was incorporated on September 16, 1901. During World War II, the US government developed several thousand acres just south of Newell as a Japanese American internment camp. Tule Lake War Relocation Center was the site of temporary exile for thousands of Japa