Fortuna Forest Reserve
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Humboldt County is a county in the U.S. state of California, located on the far North Coast 200 miles north of San Francisco. According to 2010 Census Data, the county’s population was 134,623. Its primary population centers of Eureka, the county seat and site of College of the Redwoods main campus, and 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 (more than any other county in the state) situated along the Pacific coast in Northern California's rugged Coast (Mountain) Ranges. With nearly 1,500,000 acres (6,100 km2) 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 which is protected or strictly conserved within dozens of national, state, and local forests and parks, totaling approximately 680,000 acres (over 1,000 square miles).
The original inhabitants of the area now known as Humboldt County include the Wiyot, Yurok, Hupa, Karuk, Chilula, Whilkut, and the Eel River Athapaskan peoples, including the Wailaki, Mattole and Nongatl.Andrés de Urdaneta found the coast near Cape Mendocino then 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 county derived its name from Humboldt Bay, which in turn is named after Alexander von Humboldt, a famous German naturalist. 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, and 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, Baron Alexander von Humboldt.
The area around Humboldt Bay was once solely inhabited by the Wiyot Indian tribe. One of the largest Wiyot villages, Tolowot, was located on Indian Island in Humboldt Bay. Founded around 900 BCE, it contains a shell midden 6 acres (2.4 ha) in size and 14 feet (4.3 m) deep. It was the site of the February 26, 1860 massacre of the Wiyot people that was recorded by Bret Harte, then living in Union, now called Arcata. Between 60 and 200 Wiyot men, women, and children were murdered that night. In 1998, musician Frank Black wrote and recorded a song about this event, called "Humboldt County Massacre." Tolowot is now an restricted site and 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, Old Town 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, and Trinidad Head.
On February 5 and February 6, 1885, Eureka's entire Chinese population of 300 men and 20 women were expelled after a gunfight between rival Chinese gangs (tongs) 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 put on two steamships and 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, highs range from the low 40's to high 50's (5 to 15°C), with lows in the 30's and 40's (0 to 9°C). Coastal summers are cool to mild, with average highs in the 60's (16 to 21°C) and frequent fogs. Moving 20 miles (32 km) inland one can find abundant sunshine and warmth, a welcome change from the coast's foggy climes. For this very reason coastal residents sometimes prefer to head inland in the summer to take brief respite from the perennial fog which is trapped by the bordering redwood forest as it moves inland. Coastal summer highs range from the mid-60s to 70's (18 to 21°C), with lows from the upper 40's to mid 50's (8 to 13°C). 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, and smaller unincorporated communities located somewhat further away from Humboldt Bay. In these locations summer highs measure in the low to mid 70's (21 to 24°C). The coastal zone experiences a number of frosty nights in winter and early spring, though snowfall and hard freezes are rare. Coastal winters are cool and wet. Winter rainstorms are frequent, with averages from 30 inches (760 mm) to 100 inches (2,500 mm) a year varying with elevation.
Inland areas of the county also experience wet, cool winters. Snowfall is common at elevations over 3,000 ft (910 m) throughout the winter months. Summer displays the sharpest difference between the coastal and inland climates. Inland regions of Humboldt County experience highs from the 80's to the 90's (27 to 37°C) depending on the elevation and distance from the ocean. Occasional summer highs of 100 degrees (38°C) are common in eastern and southern parts of the county including Orleans, Hoopa, Willow Creek, Garberville, Honeydew, and inland river valleys.
Historically, Humboldt County and the entire far north coast have had many earthquakes over 6.0 magnitude.
The 1992 Cape Mendocino earthquakes were a series of three major earthquakes that occurred off the coast of Cape Mendocino, California on April 25 and 26, 1992, the biggest being a 7.2. Ninety-five people were injured and property in the county sustained considerable damage.
In 2010 a 6.5 magnitude earthquake struck offshore, 33 mi. (53 km) west of Eureka, resulting in only minor injuries and some structural damage to houses and utilities, and no fatalities reported.
According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 4,052.22 square miles (10,495.2 km2), of which 3,572.49 square miles (9,252.7 km2) (or 88.16%) is land and 479.74 square miles (1,242.5 km2) (or 11.84%) is water.
Located inside Humboldt County is Cape Mendocino, the westernmost point in California (longitude124 degrees, 24 minutes, 30 seconds).
Humboldt Bay, the only deep water port between San Francisco and Coos Bay, Oregon, is located on the coast at the midpoint of the county.
Humboldt County's major rivers include (in order of flow-cubic meters per second-from largest to smallest):
The list of other smaller rivers and at least one large creek include the following: Van Duzen, South Fork Eel River (in both Humboldt and Mendocino counties), North Fork Eel River, Mattole, Salmon, Elk, Bear, and Little rivers, and Redwood Creek (significant due to amount of its flow).
The majority of residents live in the Eureka-Arcata-Fortuna micropolitan area, located on a coastal plain adjacent to Humboldt Bay.
Humboldt County has seven incorporated cities. Cities are listed by population size, from largest to smallest.
The largest unincorporated community is McKinleyville. With a population of more than 15,000, it is much larger than five of the cities listed above.
Unincorporated communities are listed alphabetically.
Humboldt County has eight Indian reservations lying within its borders. Only four other counties in the United States have more: San Diego County, California; Sandoval County, New Mexico; Riverside County, California; and Mendocino County, California. The Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation is the largest in the state of California, a state that generally has very small reservations (although very numerous) relative to those in other states.
Arcata-Eureka Airport is located in McKinleyville (north of Arcata). Commercial flights are available. Other (general aviation) airports are located at Dinsmore, Garberville, Kneeland, Murray Field (Eureka) and Rohnerville (Fortuna).
Port of Humboldt Bay - on Humboldt Bay, California's second largest natural bay.
Humboldt County is known for its impressive redwood trees, and many acres of private redwood timberland make Humboldt the top timber producer in California. The lush river bottoms adjacent to the ocean are renowned for producing rich, high-quality dairy products. Somewhat more inland the warmer valleys have historically produced abundant apples and other fruit. More recently vineyards have been planted in the Trinity, Klamath, Mattole and upper Eel river valleys.
Humboldt County is known for its quality family operated dairy farms. The Humboldt Creamery, a significant producer of high grade ice cream and other dairy products, still operates from the original headquarters located at Fernbridge adjacent to the Eel River.
Humboldt County is known for its cultural attributes associated with the cultivation and proliferation of marijuana.Proposition 215 allows patients and caregivers who are given a doctor's recommendation to legally (State level only) grow up to 99 plants in Humboldt County.David Samuels of The New Yorker describes the county as "the heartland of high-grade marijuana farming in California." However, in the years before Prop 215 (early 1970s-late 1980s), Humboldt County saw a large migration of the Bay Area counter-culture to its region. Many came looking to purchase cheap land, and ended up growing marijuana to pay for their land payments to eventually become owners of the land. Especially around Garberville and Redway, the rural culture and hippie scene eventually collaborated to create a "hippy-billy" community in which marijuana became the center of the economy. Many people prospered by exporting their marijuana down the California coast and to Midwestern states because of its reputation for quality. A Garberville radio station, KMUD, in the past has issued warnings and alerts to the region with information on whereabouts of law enforcement on their way to raid marijuana gardens. The 2008 independent film Humboldt County centers on the county's marijuana cultivation subculture.
From 1920 to 1984, the county voted for the national winner of each Presidential election held within these years. Since 1988, Humboldt has been a Democratic county in Presidential and congressional elections. The last Republican presidential candidate to win a majority in the county was Ronald Reagan, a Californian, in 1984.
Humboldt County is in California's 2nd congressional district, represented by Democrat Jared Huffman.
In the state legislature, Humboldt is part of the 2nd Senate District, represented by Democrat Noreen Evans, and the 2nd Assembly District, represented by Democrat Wesley Chesbro.
The 2010 United States Census reported that Humboldt County had a population of 134,623. The racial makeup of Humboldt County was 109,920 (81.7%) White, 1,505 (1.1%) African American, 7,726 (5.7%) Native American, 2,944 (2.2%) Asian, 352 (0.3%) Pacific Islander, 5,003 (3.7%) from other races, and 7,173 (5.3%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13,211 persons (9.8%).
As of the 2000 census, the population of Humboldt County was 126,518. As of that census, there were 51,238 households in Humboldt County, and the population density was 35 people per square mile (14/km²). By 2006, the population was projected to have increased to 131,361 by the California Department of Finance. There were 55,912 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile (6/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 84.7% White, 0.9% Black or African American, 5.7% Native American, 1.7% Asian, 0.2% Pacific Islander, 2.5% from other races, and 4.4% from two or more races. 6.5% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 13.3% were of German, 10.7% Irish, 10.3% English, 7.4% American and 5.7% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 92.1% spoke English and 4.6% Spanish as their first language.
There were 51,238 households out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.1% were married couples living together, 11.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 40.2% were non-families. 28.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 9.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.39 and the average family size was 2.95.
In the county the population was spread out with 23.2% under the age of 18, 12.4% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 97.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.6 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $31,226, and the median income for a family was $39,370. Males had a median income of $32,210 versus $23,942 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,203. About 12.9% of families and 19.5% of the population were below the poverty line, including 22.5% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.
The county is served by many school districts, including charter and private schools. All school districts are listed in a separate article.
Humboldt County contains a diversity of plant and animal species, with significant forest and coastal habitats. In coastal areas there are extensive amounts of redwood forests. A prominent understory shrub is the toyon, whose northern range limit is in Humboldt County.
The Times-Standard is the only daily newspaper in the region; in continuous publication since 1854, and owned by Media News Group since 1996, they also print three weeklies: the Redwood Times, the Tri-City Weekly, and Northcoast 101. Other local publications include the North Coast Journal, the Ferndale Enterprise, the McKinleyville Press, the Arcata Eye, the Two Rivers Tribune, the Isis Scrolls, and The Lumberjack. The Arcata Eye and the McKinleyville Press will soon (August 2013) merge.
Humboldt County's locally produced television stations, KIEM and KEET, are based in Eureka. KIEM produces the only local TV newscast for Humboldt County, while KEET is the only PBS station in the region. CBS and Fox affiliates KVIQ and KBVU, the latter a semi-satellite of KCVU, are based in Chico and ABC affiliate KAEF, a semi-satellite of KRCR-TV, is based in Redding. In previous decades all major networks had production capacity in Eureka.
For-profit stations include KFMI, KRED, KXGO, KHUM, KSLG, KWPT and KATA. Non-profit stations include the Hoopa Tribe's KIDE, Redway's KMUD, Humboldt State University-based KHSU and KRFH and Jefferson Public Radio's KNHM and KNHT.
Community broadband networks and Public, educational, and government access (PEG) cable tv channels are provided by Access Humboldt with digital production, archiving and distribution for local voices. Cable TV channels are carried by Suddenlink and local programs are provided online through the Community Media Archive. The Digital Redwoods initiative of Access Humboldt is developing local networks to meet comprehensive community needs, including public, education and government purposes.
Coordinates: 40°48′N 123°48′W / 40.8°N 123.8°W / 40.8; -123.8
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