Happy Camp Is Like A Fish Bowl

A View From My Hill

Wild flowers at Wingate River Access

Happy Camp Is Like A Fish Bowl

By Linda Martin

Happy Camp is a small town and there’s no bad side of town. Every side is just about like any other. And this causes some people discomfort.

You see, if you’re used to being able to live on the good side of town in a larger community, it is a step down to come to a place like Happy Camp where we’re all together – the good, the imperfect, and whoever comes to live with us.

We’re deep inside the Klamath National Forest – a group of less than 1500 souls. Some were born here. Some have had family here for many centuries and others for more than one century. But many of us have no idea where our ancestors came from. We were born in this country which is not our ancestors’ native land, and we struggle to find a place we can call home. We’ve been drawn to this remote mountain community either by the hand of fate or the will of God, where we learn that Happy Campers are all like one big extended family. We’re together here, deep in the most remote part of the forest, trying to make the best of it.

So if you’re reading this website thinking you might want to move here as many have done before you, consider this. In Happy Camp we’re not just talking about the unity of mankind. We’re living it. There are no bad people here, but there are plenty of imperfect ones and if we’re going to be honest we’ll admit that everyone is imperfect. There are those who let it show and those who try to hide their imperfections, but in general we’re all pretty much alike.

Though there are no bad people here, there are bad drugs that cause some of our citizens to act in ways others consider to be irresponsible and immature. And in a larger town most of those people would be living on ‘the other side of town’ – forced by economic necessity to rent places that we can not see or be bothered by because we never go there.

Well in Happy Camp, we don’t have that type of luxury. There’s no bad neighborhood. All neighborhoods are pretty much alike with both good and troubled people in them. And though we may complain about our neighbors, they are still like our cousins, brothers and sisters, and they’re probably not going away any time soon. So like any big family there are sometimes petty arguments, then we usually get over them because that’s what people in families do.

So if you’re used to luxury living, it is possible Happy Camp isn’t the place for you. True, you could buy a home outside of town and only drive into town to get your mail and groceries, but then you’d miss the true beauty of Happy Camp. By true beauty I mean the friendships and comaraderie you find by associating with all classes of people here. Yet this apparently is not for everyone.

As editor of this news site I have met people who learned about the town from this site and came here to buy property. Please consider this your warning. Though Happy Camp is a beautiful and isolated community in the middle of a gorgeous national forest, we’re not all upscale and if you find that bothersome, you may want to look for other lodging.

However if you love humanity, care about people, and want to join together with all classes to help and find new kinds of friends, this is a great fishbowl to be in.

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Linda Martin is the editor and publisher of Happy Camp News. She writes novels in her spare time. Her writing website is at http://www.lindajomartin.com.

Courteous, Concerned Community Dialogue Furthers Happy Camp Progress

by Judy Bushy

In my column in the “Pioneer Press”  last week, I said that the present Happy Camp Health Services Board, considering comments from the majority of voting members, chose not to give the building to another organization and that  “The Karuk Tribe has already put a new building for these services on their property between Second Avenue and the Highway.”

I was mistaken that the new modular was for the doctor’s offices and services that are presently in the Happy Camp Health Services Building. The modular moved unto the property will house program staff moved from the building next to the Administration Building; information technology and self-governance. The building next to the Administration Building was originally designed for a Medical and Dental Clinic and that is the area being remodeled, at considerable cost, for the medical services. The former Council Chambers will be the medical reception, medical records and nurses station. That wing is being remodeled for examination rooms. 

That is why the Karuk Tribe of California notified the Happy Camp Health Services that they were NOT interested in buying or leasing the Happy Camp Health Services building and said they planned to be moved out by end of September.To hold a NEW board of VOLUNTEERS responsible for past years isn’t really fair since they coveyed their desire to listen and learn what needed to be improved.

Even though I usually ask readers to respond and share with me, I don’t get large volumes of mail in response! Last week was an exception; I received quite a few calls about the column.  A caller might have given me information on corrections,. since she said I was ignorant, and was writing illegal slander, but never gave me a speck of information on what might need correcting. I did ask, but the phone slammed down! I’m still of the same mind, that Happy Camp needs mental health and similar services which are not adequately available, and that a community group, everyone working together, like the Happy Camp Health Services has always been, could help in this regard. I’m a good listener, but after calling names, no one gave me any specifics. We just don’t need more vacant unused buildings sitting around for years when there are nearly a dozen organizations that need places to meet. We can help each other when we can work together more effectively. I’m happy to listen to anyone’s views, but a few pertinent facts might be more effective than bluster and name calling.. I listened quietly to the name calling but got hung up on when I asked for help in understanding their point of view.  

 

The speaker who rudely accused John Godwin of the Happy Camp Health Services of rudeness when he is the quietest, kindest and a hard working volunteer who called the meeting to hear all views, made me wince. That is why Leon Hillman’s comments to friends and neighbors that whatever the disagreement, we will go on being friends and neighbors was so moving. Sharing viewpoints helps us all learn, when it is done in that frame of reference.

We respect the fact that Tribal members families and also many other members of the community and their families were also active in building the clinic building. The land, milled lumber, and many hours of labor were donated by the mill and citizens of the community. Wasn’t it a wonderful accomplishment they achieved together! It reminds me of the Memorial Log Building which was built with community working together, to provide education for our children, also, (although that was before my time!)

 We need more mental health services in Happy Camp and lease of the building to an organization working with Behavioral Health, is one way that it could be provided. Also, I see some value in some organization that could be the whole community working together, not exclusively for any particular group to the exclusion of others. Amazing things can be accomplished when we work together!

Give me a call, I’ll be happy to hear your views. If I’m busy at the moment, I’ll be happy to call you back. Also appreciate your telling me of any news and announcements that you have to share. That is why living along the wild beautiful Klamath River in the midst of the green forest, with blue skies above is so wonderful. We have great neighbors, mostly courteous and concerned about the community.

Is This Sign Obsolete?

Happy Camp City Limit Sign

Happy Camp is still here and the elevation hasn’t changed, but how about that population figure? Didn’t the recent year-2000 census change that at all?

The US Census Bureau lists Happy Camp in their American Fact Finder section. It is easy to see they have counted 2182 people in this area now… which sounds like a remarkable increase! But look at this carefully. It doesn’t really say there’s 2182 people in Happy Camp – what it says is there’s that number of people in “Happy Camp Census County Division” and that happens to be a large slice of western Siskiyou County, from the county line – east all the way to Scott River. As we know, most of that area is completely unpopulated, but it does include Seiad Valley and Somes Bar.

Not only that, but the number 2182 doesn’t represent an increase at all. Comparing with the year-1990 census population number of 2876, there’s been a decrease in population. This is more what we would expect to find, for as we all know, hundreds of people left Happy Camp when the lumber industry was devastated during the last decade.

Where then, did the 1,110 number come from, and how many people are really living in Happy Camp today? While doing this demograpic study, we discovered the source of the 1,110 number is the 1980 census, twenty-two years out of date! This figure can be found on a xls format spreadsheet file found at the California Dept. of Finance website. Whether that number counted only people living in Happy Camp, or in the entire Happy Camp Census County Division, we don’t know.

Conclusion
To find the number actually living in the area of Happy Camp today, we discovered we can request statistics for the 96039 zip code area. In this area, 1277 people were counted during the year 2000 census, and this is the number that we think should be on the Happy Camp sign. As for how many were here in 1990 – that number could not be found.

How Happy Camp Got Its Name

To: Linda Martin
Editor,

Thank you for your new e-publishing venture with Happy Camp focus!

I had to miss the Bigfoot Byway Dedication due to driving a car full of teenagers to San Francisco for Acquire the Fire at the Cow Palace. I was very glad to read Debbie’s remarks.

The only problem with John Titus’ account of how Happy Camp got its name is that our town was called Happy Camp over a decade before the incident in John Titus’ story. No doubt the name Happy Camp intrigued the Camp brothers (John and Heil) to come here and they did build the brick building for their business in partnership with John Titus.

Before the prospectors that settled the town renamed it Happy Camp in July of 1851 it was called “Murderer’s Bar.” So glad they changed it!

Looking forward to seeing more of your Happy Camp News!

Sincerely,
Judy Bushy

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