Plumas County, California
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Plumas County () is a
county A county is a geographic region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...
in the
Sierra Nevada The Sierra Nevada () is a mountain range in the Western United States, between the Central Valley (California), Central Valley of California and the Great Basin. The vast majority of the range lies in the state of California, although the Cars ...
of the U.S. state of
California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, located along the West Coast of the United States, Pacific Coast. With nearly 39.2million residents across a total area of approximately , it is the List of states and territori ...
. As of the 2020 census, the population was 19,790. The
county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is in use in Canada, China, Hungary, Romania, Taiwan, and the United States. The equivalent te ...
is Quincy, and the only incorporated city is Portola. The largest community in the county is East Quincy. The county was named for the
Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Cana ...
''Río de las Plumas'' (the
Feather River The Feather River is the principal tributary of the Sacramento River, in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California. The river's main stem is about long. Its length to its most distant headwater tributary is just over . The main stem Feather R ...
), which flows through it. The county itself is also the namesake of a native moth species, '' Hadena plumasata''.


History

Before the
California Gold Rush The California Gold Rush (1848–1855) was a gold rush that began on January 24, 1848, when gold was found by James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill in Coloma, California. The news of gold brought approximately 300,000 people to California ...
of 1849, the indigenous Mountain Maidu were the primary inhabitants of the area now known as Plumas County. The Maidu lived in small settlements along the edges of valleys, subsisting on roots, acorns, grasses, seeds, and occasionally fish and big game. They were decentralized and had no tribal leadership; most bands lived along waterways in and around their own valleys. Areas with high snowfall, including the Mohawk and Sierra valleys, were hunting grounds for game in the warmer months. In 1848, European Americans discovered gold in the Sierra foothills. Miners were attracted to Plumas County in particular, largely due to the tales of Thomas Stoddard, who claimed to have discovered a lake lined with gold nuggets while lost in the wilderness. Gold-hungry prospectors flooded the area. Though hopeful miners scoured the glacial lakes (now designated as the Lakes Basin Recreation Area) for months, they did not find the purported lake of gold. But some had success panning for gold in the rivers and creeks in the area, and created squatters' villages, the first non-Native American settlements. Rough shanty towns quickly sprang up around successful mining areas, including Rich Bar, Indian Bar, and Rabbit Creek (now La Porte). Many were developed adjacent to the
Feather River The Feather River is the principal tributary of the Sacramento River, in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California. The river's main stem is about long. Its length to its most distant headwater tributary is just over . The main stem Feather R ...
, named ''Río de las Plumas'' by Spanish explorer Captain Luis Arguello in 1820. In 1850, African-American frontiersman James Beckwourth discovered the lowest pass through the Sierras, which became known as Beckwourth Pass. Using the pass, he blazed a trail from Western Nevada through much of Plumas County, eventually terminating in the Sacramento Valley. Many erstwhile miners followed this trail into Plumas County. Beckwourth also set up a trading post in the western Sierra Valley that still stands today. Though the Beckwourth Trail was longer than the original emigrant trail that ran south of Plumas County, its lower elevations extended its seasonal use when the higher trail was snowbound and impassable. Between 1851 and 1854, the Beckwourth Trail was frequently traveled, but in 1854, use dropped sharply when it became a toll road. The toll to move a ton of freight from Bidwell Bar to Quincy was about $18. This made using the Beckwourth Road an expensive enterprise and use of the Beckwourth Trail declined. Plumas County was formed in 1854 during a meeting of three commissioners at the American Ranch in Quincy. It was carved from the eastern portion of Butte County. Quincy, originally a mining town, was chosen as the county seat after an early settler donated a plot of land there to establish the seat. Once it became the seat, nearby Elizabethtown faded and ultimately became defunct. In 1864, the state legislature took a large portion of Plumas County to organize Lassen County because of increasing population. Shortly afterward, Plumas County annexed part of Sierra County, including the prosperous mining town of La Porte. Over the next decades, different industries drove the growth of the various settlements that sprung up around the county. Greenville began as a mining and farming community in Indian Valley in the late 1850s.
Chester Chester is a cathedral city and the county town of Cheshire, England. It is located on the River Dee, Wales, River Dee, close to the England–Wales border, English–Welsh border. With a population of 79,645 in 2011,"2011 Census results: Peop ...
was formed near the area that is now Lake Almanor, as a result of cattle ranching and the timber industry. When the
Western Pacific Railroad The Western Pacific Railroad was a Class I railroad in the United States. It was formed in 1903 as an attempt to break the near-monopoly the Southern Pacific Railroad had on rail service into northern California. WP's Feather River Route dire ...
was constructed in 1910, Portola developed as an important railroad stop. Thanks to the railroad, Plumas County could export its lumber beyond the local area, and the timber industry became dominant in the county's economy for decades. As the railroad route extended up the Feather River Canyon, it was also used by the area's first tourists and sightseers. When the Feather River Highway was completed in 1937 with federal investment in infrastructure by President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the
Great Depression The Great Depression (19291939) was an economic shock that impacted most countries across the world. It was a period of economic depression that became evident after a major fall in stock prices in the United States. The Financial contagion, ...
, Plumas County became linked to the Sacramento Valley year-round thanks to the route's low elevation.


Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has an area of , of which is land and (2.3%) is water. Plumas County is in the far northern end of the Sierra Nevada range. The area's rugged terrain marks the transition point between the northern Sierra Nevada and the southern end of the Cascade Range.
Lassen Peak Lassen Peak ( ), commonly referred to as Mount Lassen, is a lava dome volcano and the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Range of the Western United States. Located in the Shasta Cascade region of Northern California, it is part of the ...
, the southernmost volcanic peak in the
Cascade Range The Cascade Range or Cascades is a major mountain range of western North America, extending from southern British Columbia through Washington and Oregon to Northern California. It includes both non-volcanic mountains, such as the North Cascades, ...
, is just north of Plumas County's border, and part of Lassen Volcanic National Park extends into the county's northwest corner. Plumas National Forest's offer a wide variety of outdoor recreation opportunities, including hiking, camping, kayaking, swimming, mountain biking, hunting and fishing. The area has more than 100 natural and artificial lakes. Many of the natural lakes are glacial in origin and can be found in and around Lakes Basin Recreation Area. The artificial lakes include Lake Almanor, Lake Davis, Frenchman Lake, Little Grass Valley Reservoir, Antelope Lake, and Buck's Lake. Plumas County also has more than of rivers and streams. All three forks of the Feather River run through the area.


Designated areas

* Butterfly Valley Botanical Area * Elephants Playground * Happy Valley * Little Last Chance Canyon Special Interest Area * North Valley * Valley Creek Special Interest Area


Water areas

* Antelope Lake * Belden Forebay * Bucks Lake * Butt Valley Reservoir * Doyle Reservoir * Eureka Lake * Faggs Debris Dam * Faggs Reservoir * Fowler Lake * Frenchman Lake * Grizzly Forebay * Grizzly Ice Pond * Juniper Lake * Lake Almanor * Lake Davis * Little Grass Valley Reservoir * Lower Bucks Lake * Murphy Lake * Onion Valley Reservoir * Rock Creek Reservoir * Round Valley Reservoir * Silver Lake * Slate Creek Reservoir * Smith Lake * Three Lakes * Walker Mine Tailings Reservoir


Adjacent counties

* Sierra County - south * Yuba County - southwest * Butte County - west * Tehama County - northwest * Shasta County - northwest * Lassen County - northeast


National protected areas

* Lassen National Forest (part) * Lassen Volcanic National Park (part) * Plumas National Forest (part) * Tahoe National Forest (part)


Demographics


2011


Places by population, race, and income


2010

The
2010 United States Census The United States census of 2010 was the twenty-third United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in N ...
reported that Plumas County had a population of 20,007. The racial makeup of Plumas County was 17,797 (89.0%)
White White is the lightest color Color (American English) or colour (British English) is the visual perception, visual perceptual Physical property, property deriving from the spectrum of light interacting with the photoreceptor cells of th ...
, 192 (1.0%)
African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans and Afro-Americans) are an Race and ethnicity in the United States, ethnic group consisting of Americans with partial or total ancestry from sub-Saharan Africa. The term "African American ...
, 539 (2.7%) Native American, 134 (0.7%) Asian, 18 (0.1%)
Pacific Islander Pacific Islanders, Pasifika, Pasefika, or rarely Pacificers are the peoples of the list of islands in the Pacific Ocean, Pacific Islands. As an ethnic group, ethnic/race (human categorization), racial term, it is used to describe the original p ...
, 603 (3.0%) from other races, and 724 (3.6%) from two or more races.
Hispanic The term ''Hispanic'' ( es, hispano) refers to people, Spanish culture, cultures, or countries related to Spain, the Spanish language, or Hispanidad. The term commonly applies to countries with a cultural and historical link to Spain and to Vic ...
or Latino of any race were 1,605 persons (8.0%).


2000

As of the
census A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring, recording and calculating information about the members of a given population Population typically refers to the number of people in a single area, whether it be a city A city is a ...
of 2000, there were 20,824 people, 9,000 households, and 6,047 families residing in the county. The
population density Population density (in agriculture: Stock (disambiguation), standing stock or plant density) is a measurement of population per unit land area. It is mostly applied to humans, but sometimes to other living organisms too. It is a key geographical ...
was 8 people per square mile (3/km2). There were 13,386 housing units at an average density of 5 per square mile (2/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 91.8%
White White is the lightest color Color (American English) or colour (British English) is the visual perception, visual perceptual Physical property, property deriving from the spectrum of light interacting with the photoreceptor cells of th ...
, 0.6%
Black Black is a color which results from the absence or complete Absorption (electromagnetic radiation), absorption of visible spectrum, visible light. It is an achromatic color, without hue, like white and grey. It is often used symbolically or fi ...
or
African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans and Afro-Americans) are an Race and ethnicity in the United States, ethnic group consisting of Americans with partial or total ancestry from sub-Saharan Africa. The term "African American ...
, 2.6% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.1%
Pacific Islander Pacific Islanders, Pasifika, Pasefika, or rarely Pacificers are the peoples of the list of islands in the Pacific Ocean, Pacific Islands. As an ethnic group, ethnic/race (human categorization), racial term, it is used to describe the original p ...
, 1.8% from other races, and 2.6% from two or more races. 5.7% of the population were
Hispanic The term ''Hispanic'' ( es, hispano) refers to people, Spanish culture, cultures, or countries related to Spain, the Spanish language, or Hispanidad. The term commonly applies to countries with a cultural and historical link to Spain and to Vic ...
or Latino of any race. 16.1% were of German, 15.0% English, 10.1% Irish and 8.0% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 95.4% spoke English and 3.6%
Spanish Spanish might refer to: * Items from or related to Spain: **Spaniards are a nation and ethnic group indigenous to Spain **Spanish language, spoken in Spain and many Latin American countries **Spanish cuisine Other places * Spanish, Ontario, Cana ...
as their first language. There were 9,000 households, out of which 26.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.4% were married couples living together, 8.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 32.8% were non-families. 27.5% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.77. In the county, the population was spread out, with 22.7% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 22.6% from 25 to 44, 30.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 44 years. For every 100 females there were 99.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.9 males. The median income for a household in the county was $36,351, and the median income for a family was $46,119. Males had a median income of $38,742 versus $25,734 for females. The
per capita income Per capita income (PCI) or total income measures the average income earned per person in a given area (city, region, country, etc.) in a specified year. It is calculated by dividing the area's total income by its total population. Per capita i ...
for the county was $19,391. About 9.0% of families and 13.1% of the population were below the
poverty line The poverty threshold, poverty limit, poverty line or breadline is the minimum level of income deemed adequate in a particular country. The poverty line is usually calculated by estimating the total cost of one year's worth of necessities for t ...
, including 16.7% of those under age 18 and 6.4% of those age 65 or over.


Law and government

Plumas County has five elected Supervisors, each elected within their own district. The Board of Supervisors oversees the management of county government and members serve four-year terms. The Clerk of the Board of Supervisors provides support to the Board of Supervisors and information to the public. The County Administrative Office's purpose is to facilitate the delivery of cost-effective county services in accordance with the vision and policies outlined by the Board of Supervisors. Its responsibilities include monitoring legislative affairs, preparing the county's annual budget, and undertaking studies and investigations for the Board of Supervisors. The sheriff is the chief law enforcement officer of the county. The sheriff's jurisdiction extends throughout the county, including federal and state lands. The county sheriff is elected to the nonpartisan office for a four-year term and is charged with preserving the peace, enforcing criminal statutes, and investigating known or suspected criminal activity. More than three-quarters of Plumas County's is
National Forest Service The United States Forest Service (USFS) is an agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture that administers the nation's 154 national forests and 20 national grasslands. The Forest Service manages of land. Major divisions of the agency in ...
land. The management of Plumas National Forest is overseen by three districts: Beckwourth Ranger District, Mt. Hough Ranger District, and Feather River Ranger District.


Politics


Voter registration


Cities by population and voter registration


Overview

In its early history, Plumas was a reliable Republican county, voting for that party in every election from 1864 to 1908. It then became one of the most reliably Democratic counties in California, voting for the Democratic nominee for president in 13 straight elections from 1928 to 1976. The county has voted Republican in every presidential election since 1980, except for 1992, when
Bill Clinton William Jefferson Clinton (Birth name, né Blythe III; born August 19, 1946) is an American politician who served as the 42nd president of the United States from 1993 to 2001. He previously served as governor of Arkansas from 1979 to 1981 ...
won a small plurality. Plumas County is in . At the state level, Plumas is in the 1st
Senate A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house An upper house is one of two Debate chamber, chambers of a bicameralism, bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the lower house.''Bicameralism'' (1997) by George Tseb ...
District, represented by Republican Ted Gaines, and .


Crime

The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.


Culture

* The town of Portola is home to the Western Pacific Railroad Museum, one of the largest railroad museums in North America. It is one of the county's major tourist attractions. * The town of
Chester Chester is a cathedral city and the county town of Cheshire, England. It is located on the River Dee, Wales, River Dee, close to the England–Wales border, English–Welsh border. With a population of 79,645 in 2011,"2011 Census results: Peop ...
is home to the Collins Pine Museum, completed in 2007 and dedicated to educating the public about the history of the Collins Pine Company's (a division of The Collins Companies) logging operations in the Chester region. * The Plumas County Museum in Quincy is notable for exhibits on the Maidu people, the California Gold Rush, logging, and the Variel House. It also hosts contemporary art exhibits.


Media

The primary local news source since 1866 is Feather Publishing Co., Inc. Until 2020, four Plumas County newspapers were published every Wednesday, except for certain holidays; all content is now available online instead a
plumasnews.com
Plumas County is in the Sacramento television market, and thus receives Sacramento media. Sacramento stations
KXTV KXTV (channel 10) is a television station in Sacramento, California, United States, affiliated with American Broadcasting Company, ABC. Owned by Tegna Inc., the station maintains studios on Broadway, just south of U.S. Route 50 in California, US ...
and KCRA regularly cover major news events in Plumas County.


Education

* Feather River College


Transportation


Major highways

* State Route 36 * State Route 49 * State Route 70 * State Route 89 * State Route 284


Scenic byways

The Feather River National Scenic Byway follows the Middle and North Forks of the Feather River, traversing steep canyon walls and high mountain valleys. The route features grasslands, oak woodlands, mixed conifer, and high desert chaparral. It begins in the Sacramento Valley, following the Feather River Canyon and entering Plumas County just west of Storrie. As it gains elevation, it climbs over the crest of the Sierra and passes through Quincy and Portola, eventually reaching the Middle Fork of the Feather River and following it to its headwaters in
Sierra Valley Sierra Valley is a large mountain valley located west of the crest of California's Sierra Nevada (U.S.), Sierra Nevada mountain range in Plumas County, California, Plumas and Sierra County, California, Sierra Counties, north of Interstate 80 (Calif ...
. After going through Beckwourth Pass, the route terminates at Hallelujah Junction on Highway 395. The southernmost point of the Volcanic Legacy Scenic Byway, Lake Almanor, is in Plumas County. The route spans 500 miles between California and Oregon and has views of dramatic volcanic landscapes, including nearby
Lassen Peak Lassen Peak ( ), commonly referred to as Mount Lassen, is a lava dome volcano and the southernmost active volcano in the Cascade Range of the Western United States. Located in the Shasta Cascade region of Northern California, it is part of the ...
. The Scenic Byway Link is the section of Highway 89 that connects the Volcanic Legacy and Feather River Scenic Byways. Featuring the alpine meadows of Indian Valley, the rushing waters of Indian Creek, and views of Mt. Hough and the surrounding mountains, the route is about 18 miles long.


Public transit

Plumas Transit Systems, operated by the county, provides local service in Quincy and routes to Chester and Portola.


Airports

Gansner Field is a general aviation airport near Quincy. Rogers Field is near Chester; in addition to its civil-aviation role it also serves as the Chester Air Attack Base, a logistical and coordination facility for the California Department of Forestry's
aerial firefighting Aerial firefighting is the use of aircraft and other aerial resources to Wildfire suppression, combat wildfires. The types of aircraft used include fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters. Smokejumpers and rappellers are also classified as aerial f ...
(both fixed-wing and helicopter). Resources include fueling, retardant loading, communications, and some quartering for aircrew and ground firefighting teams. Nervino Airport is in Beckwourth, east of Portola.


Communities


City

* Portola


Census-designated places

* Beckwourth * Belden * Blairsden * Bucks Lake * Canyondam *
Caribou Reindeer (in North American English, known as caribou if wild and ''reindeer'' if domesticated) are deer in the genus ''Rangifer''. For the last few decades, reindeer were assigned to one species, ''Rangifer tarandus'', with about 10 subspe ...
*
Chester Chester is a cathedral city and the county town of Cheshire, England. It is located on the River Dee, Wales, River Dee, close to the England–Wales border, English–Welsh border. With a population of 79,645 in 2011,"2011 Census results: Peop ...
* Chilcoot-Vinton *
Clio In Greek mythology, Clio ( , ; el, Κλειώ), also spelled Kleio, is the muse of history, or in a few mythological accounts, the muse of lyre playing. Etymology Clio's name is etymologically derived from the Greek root κλέω/κλεί ...
* Crescent Mills * C-Road * Cromberg * Delleker * East Quincy * East Shore * Gold Mountain * Graeagle * Greenhorn * Greenville * Hamilton Branch * Indian Falls * Iron Horse * Johnsville * Keddie * La Porte * Lake Almanor Country Club * Lake Almanor Peninsula * Lake Almanor West * Lake Davis * Little Grass Valley * Mabie * Meadow Valley * Mohawk Vista * Paxton * Plumas Eureka * Prattville * Quincy (county seat) * Spring Garden * Storrie * Taylorsville * Tobin * Twain * Valley Ranch * Warner Valley * Whitehawk


Unincorporated communities

* American House * Buckeye *
Cascade Cascade, Cascades or Cascading may refer to: Science and technology Science *Cascade waterfalls, or series of waterfalls * Cascade, the CRISPR-associated complex for antiviral defense (a protein complex) * Cascade (grape), a type of fruit * Bioch ...
* Drakesbad * Feather River Park * Gate Place * Genesee * Longville * Massack * Palmetto * Prospect * Rock Creek * Seneca * Sloat * Spanish Ranch


Ghost towns

* Almanor


Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Plumas County. † ''county seat''


See also

* List of school districts in Plumas County, California * National Register of Historic Places listings in Plumas County, California * Western Pacific Railroad Museum


Notes


References


External links

*
Plumas County NewsDiscover Plumas CountyPlumas political entitiesPlumas County, California

Fariss and Smith's History of Plumas, Lassen & Sierra Counties California, 1882
{{authority control California counties Shasta Cascade Populated places established in 1854 1854 establishments in California