Bigfoot Jamboree 2004 & the New Visitors Center

Bigfoot Jamboree Theme

There are lots of summer days before Bigfoot Jamboree. But no matter how full of sun and fun, Bigfoot Jamboree will be here before you know it! The theme for this year’s Sunday Jamboree Parade is “Silver Streams & Golden Dreams.” Put on your thinking cap and think of applications of this theme to your float in the parade. Be creative! It will be fun to see the resulting floats on September 5th.

New Visitors Center

Saturday was a wonderful day! Many out of town visitors were here for the grand opening of the Visitor Information Center at the Forest Service office.. Peg Boland, Supervisor for the Klamath National Forest, Cheryl Wainwright for the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce, and Tom Waddell filling in for the Karuk Tribe of California representative, cut the ribbon and invited the crowd of eager people in to see the new Visitor Information Center. It is beautiful!! There is a large wrap around desk where the receptionist and those who will be helping the visitors with questions can sit ready. Valerie has been doing that. With her move to another position, Veronica Salvage will be the smiling face greeting visitors now. An oak display rack holds a wealth of information on the area, wildlife, natural resources and businesses in the area from the Chamber of Commerce. More will be added.

There are areas where the youngest visitors can sit at a table and see an animal skull or feel the difference in vegetation that is used in basketry. The Karuk basket collection of Ruth Baker, which has been administered by Hazel Joyner, is on display so you can see the Karuk’s world-renowned basket skills. The most striking item is a manikin with the traditional regalia dress of the Karuk.

The mining history of the area is also apparent with the display of how a mine worked in the old days. Local artists have brought in their paintings and other artwork to display, which adds color and the proper setting for the displays. Alan Crockett teaches art classes, some of which will be going into the Marble Mountains for on the scene painting experiences. They brought art to bring these views to the visitor who stops by the center. Klamath Knot Arts Council is also involved in this part of the project. Photos and poetry as well as the actual “hands on” exhibits make this a wonderful slice of the resources of the area. Colleen Hall and Dan Huddleston are also thanked for their participation. Animals that had previously been on display in the forest service office are there to see, along with fascinating additions.

From the beginning of the idea of a Visitor Center, which Tom Waddell mentioned in the Action committee many times, to the fruition of the plan, it has taken a few years. It seems like all of the parts of the local community have been involved. Don Hall in Yreka as well as Valerie and Gay Baxter spent busy days helping the Chamber with memorandums, applications with necessary paperwork. That was back when Eddie Davenport was the president. Louis Tiraterra Sr. Louis Tiraterra Jr., and Dennis Day were working on drawings.

Fred Newoshi, Verna Reece, Alta Harper, Hazel Joyner as well as Arch Super and the Karuk Tribe of California provided support and assistance to the displays. People’s Center and the Visitor’s Center will be sharing displays and sending out visitors to each other for further information for years to come.

Nothing would have gotten accomplished without the help of the RAC, Sheryl Crawford, and Eddie Davenport; they provided the initial funding of $38,000 for the remodeling. It has turned out a very beautiful project. Information and assistance for visitors to enjoy our area more will be available. More exhibits and possibilities are anticipated. It will be a “work in progress” as more variety and presentations will vary with the seasons. You just need to stop by and see the displays. You’ll enjoy it. It is a perfect place for a visitor to our area to find out about recreational opportunities and get questions answered to make their stay more enjoyable!

Hope you didn’t miss the last meeting of the Children and youth Alcohol and other Drug Prevention Coalition. I was very sad to hear that Dr. Steven Burns has stepped down from the leadership of that group. De. Steve has done a wonderful job in founding this organization with a most important goal for our community to prevent alcohol and other drug abuse among our children and youth. Dr. Steve sent an email to let everyone know that he will not be able to continue actively working on the coalition project. Since moving his family to Happy Camp, he has become four times busier than he was in San Diego. He will be refocusing his time on his family and church activities as well as his many ongoing responsibilities as the town doctor. We thank Dr. Steve for getting the ball rolling on this alcohol and other drug prevention efforts in our community. Karen and Nadine are excited about the impact the Coalition can have on our river communities for our children.

Last day of school came and went for Happy Camp Elementary kids. Some of the boys and girls enjoyed their last day of school up at Slater Butte Look out!

I did attend the open meeting of the Chamber of Commerce last Tuesday. The Chamber, under Cheryl Wainwright has gone “high tech” and stepped into the modern world, as they say. The minutes are now usually sent by e-mail, saving both paper and postage.and membership is not a requirement. The first Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. is the regular monthly evening meeting so you can usually count on there being a meeting then unless informed otherwise even if an agenda is not received. By then the ‘Rollin on the River Bike Rally of July 2-4 will be history for the 4th year and there will be more time to take care of pressing Chamber needs. There is a big band coming to the Bike Rally and “Genuine Draft” will also play at the pavilion before the other band. There will be admission to the dance available to locals for those who don’t get the entire package. If you’d like more information on the event, having a booth for your organization or to register to attend the bike rally talk to John Gould who is in charge of the event and would be happy to help you.

The same weekend, there will be the second annual quilt show!! It was great to see all the wonderful quilts and crafts last year at Evans and the Old Town Park and it promises to be better than ever this year!!

June being for weddings, last week when electricity went out in Scott Valley, I’d wished HAPPY ANNIVERSARY to Ronald and Glenda Hockaday, Rick and Leslie Huston and Stan and Virginia Poeschel who are celebrating wedding anniversaries. I hope you all had as good a time as Dan and I did. Thursday night we celebrated out 38th wedding anniversary with a dinner out. “Happy Birthday”s also went to Bill Taylor and Silas, Alverna Bresette, Randy McLane. Jay Clark and Amy Lantz. Hope it was happy even though I am belated due to electrical outage!! Congratulations to all the graduates. Twenty young persons graduated from Happy Camp High School on Friday and others program marked the milestone in Mt. Shasta. May the Lord bless you as you face the future and assume the responsibilities of mature adults.

We hope to visit the Wild West Café in Seiad right next to the Seiad Store one day soon. They are open now Monday through Thursday from 7 am to 4 pm and Friday, Saturday and Sunday until 7 pm. Lisa West has done some remodeling and redesigning and had a chef’s salad and special Saturday of French dip and French fries. Saves a long drive to Yreka or Medford to save a night in the kitchen!! Looking forward to their milk shake.

Last Saturday was a really busy day for oodles and oodles of children of all sizes and shapes! It was the Outreach America in town with games and fun for the children. The kids got bicycles and all sorts of prizes and seemed to be enthusiastic about the event when I was able to find it at the high school football field. The Happy Camp Assembly of God was instrumental in bringing a team from Little Country Church to town for this special event for the kids.

That was the news on June 14th, 2004 for Happy Campers along the wild and scenic Klamath River at the top of California.

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.

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.

“From Hardship to Gold” reprinted by permission os Jim Part II

The second party of prospectors braving the wild country and tough Indians kept to the west and north sides of the Klamath River. Their travels took them along steep ridges and into scores of forested tributary watersheds of the Klamath River. (It must be understood that the forest was much more open then than now. White people the began suppressing wildfires in the early decades of this century. The Karuk people allowed forest fires to burn, even setting fire to areas that were getting too brushy. This burning allowed new sprouts of grasses and shrubs to grow, made travel better, made hunting easier and made spotting an enemy before he got too close more probable.)

This second party was headed for the Scott River. However, they must have traveled either through Seiad Low Gap into Horse Creek or went up Johnny O’Neil Ridge and down Hamburg Gulch. They missed the mouth of the Scott River. They traveled up the Klamath River as far as the mouth of the Shasta River, in Shasta Indian territory. It is believed that they wintered in the area soon to be called Thompson’s Dry Diggin’s; now known as Yreka. [Later research also told that this group was the combined groups of J. M. C. Jones & Ed Bean group that was joined by the Rufus Johnson group who also came up the Klamath River; and this combined group met up with Oregon Territorial Governor Joe Lane’s group in the Sacramento River canyon and wintered in the Redding area called Blue Tent Creek Camp.] Gold was found there, but the land was dry; a high desert land. In the early spring of the next year, gold was found in the ancient mixed soils of the valley bottom, including in the roots of the bunch grass.

The third party searching for gold in these mountains in 1850 included the man now known to have made the biggest gold discovery in the Klamath Mountain Province, John Scott. It is still uncertain exactly what route they took before finally ending up at Scott’s discovery site of nuggets at Scott Bar. (The largest nugget found in later years, found by Wade & Lindsey, was “…five inches long, three inches wide and weighed 16 pounds!”) It has been reported that his band of miners came inland from the port town of Trinidad in California. In the next several years, we know that supplies were brought to Scott’s Bar by way of Trinidad, Blackburn’s Ferry (Cappell Creek), and the wind-swept summits of the Marble Mountains. Later supplies were brought by pack trail (named the Kelsey Trail after the original trail builder W. R. Kelsey; mule packer) from Crescent City over the mountains of the South Fork of the Smith River, Bear Peak and the northern Marble Mountains to Scott Valley.

In 1851, the prospectors who had wintered near the Forks of Salmon, at Brizille Flat, lived through the winter pretty well. However, in the early months of spring they were surprised to see other eager and gold-hungry miners scurry into the Salmon River country. The new group crossed the Salmon Mountains before winter was really over. Spring snowstorms made life miserable for these hasty prospectors! As they waited for warm weather, they ended up eating all the stores of the miners already there. This was called “Starvation Times” in the Salmon River.

By July of 1851, the group of prospectors that had retreated from Wingate Bar, now being led by Captains McDermitt and Thompkins, (owners of Blackburn’s Ferry), moved from the Salmon River back up the Klamath River. They found very large amounts of gold in the gravel at the mouth of Indian Creek. They had survived the mountainous trails, the river fordings, battles with the Karuk Indians and some survived the “Starvation Times.” Now they had good food, warm weather and lots of gold nuggets! This gold-rich location, and its easy living circumstance, was named “Happy Camp!”

Addendum: at right is one of Jim Waddell’s aerial photos of the little town in the narrow and timbered valley of the Klamath River, c. 1991. The Klamath River is seen at the very bottom, Indian Creek heads into the river from the north at top; Indian Creek road is on the right side of Indian Creek and Buckhorn Road is on the left side of the creek.

Happy Camp aerial photo Northern California
Happy Camp aerial photo Northern California

New Pavilion for Bigfoot Jamboree 1997

Howard Garthwait was the President of the Happy Camp Coordinating Council which is the organizing body of tghe Bigfoot Jamboree.

In the front of the Blue Bigfoot Jamboree booklet a letter from Howard saying,
“It’s that time of year when the residnts of Happy Camp and the surrounding communities join in to recognize and honor BIGFOOT!

“This year’s activities are once again being held at the Happy Camp River Parfk where during the summer, the Happy Camp Community Services District has constructed a Paviliion is much needed and welcome addition to the park.
Among the usual Jambroee activities, such as live entertainment, concessions, …..

Winners in the 29th Annual Bigfoot Jamboree

As the President of the 1996 Bigfoot Jamboree, Rick Huston said that the Bigfoot Jamboree was a sucess because of the many volunteers who helped work and plan the annual Happy Camp event. Rick announced that volunteers are welcome to help prepare for next years Bigfoot Jamboree in Happy Camp.

Since the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce Show and Shine was rained out in May, that event was postponed to the Bigfoot Jamboree. Seventeen cars and trucks were parked on the shady lawn of the River Park for the enjoyment of on-lookers. First Prize went to Billy Hibberts’ Transam. First place for the trucks was owned by Don Alexander of Yreka. There were also some motorcycles entered in the event.

Steve Zefault, Ivan Hude, Janeen Snopl and Rick Huston of the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce were in charge of the Show & Shine and did a good job getting cars in the parade on Sunday also.

The Grand Prize in the Bigfoot Jamboree Parade was a group of active kids tumbling around, Tumbletown Tots. McCulley Logging celebrated 50 years logging and won first place in the commercial category, followed by Larry’s Market (2nd) and the Bigfoot that kept escaping and had gone to the forest before collecting his third place ribbon. Thanks Lance!

Howard Garthwait, Chairman of the parade said it was one of the bigger parades in recent years. Mike Polluck, Rusty Crocker, Dave Rasmussen and Ryan Rasmussen were the jusdges.

The Lioness Club in their poodle skirts and life size display picture of Elvis won first place in the nonprofit organizatgions. The Cub Scout Color Guard followed, in second, with the tallest Uncle Sam thanks to Jay Clark, postmaster. The Happy Camp Grange won third place.

Larry Wright Jr. flew the Red Baron plane for first place in individual entries. Second place was by the Happy Camp High School Class Reunion of the Class of “76.” Karuk drummers were drumming to keep the parade marching on and won third place.

American Legion Auxiliary No 530 ladies, in large hats with colorful ducks on them, were selling tickets. Sales were brisk in the sale of tickets to enter a colorful little “duck” in the Duck Race. First place winner of the $200 cash prize was Shirley Willis, second place was Dorothy Pence and third place was Alecia Derry. The last little duck across the finish line brought Edward Peters $20. Kim Seago won the beautiful necklace of locally mined gold from the Independence Mine area.

K.D. Peabody won fresh strawberries and jelly jars from Larry’s Market. Pauline Stacy won battery cables from Rick’s Auto Supply. Antoine won bait and tackle from Ron’s Bait and Tackle. Robert Spence won a wooden model duck from the Siskiyou House. Linda Kufner won a hibachi from the Karuk Building Supply

Preston Wilson and Ron Snopl each got five gallons of fas from Miller’s Unocal. Miller’s Unocal is the new station where the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce recently held a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting with refreshments. (Later to become Klamath-Siskiyou Art Center)

Jean Burnett won pan pizza’s from Headway Pizza and Kyle Stpockton won tanning lotion from Clinic Pharmacy. Deanna Indehar won a handmade hankie angel made by Linda Sutcliff of Happy Crafts. Mary Lauritzen and Maxine McCoy won an hour of labor from Dion Wood and Trevor Zediker respectively. Jean Marasco won a hand painted desert scene from Evans Mercantile. Gerri jacobsen and Larry Wright Jr.  won gas from Siskiyou Petrol Systems. Linda Zink won a cedar birdhouse from Renewable Resource Products. Adrian donated shampoo and conditioner from Hair We Are that was won by Edward Peters. A fun float trip for six down the river by J.J. of River Country Rafting was won by Kenny Seago.

The Auxiliary fundraising chairman Nida Johnson said a big “Thank You” to all the individuals and businesses that contributed and bought raffle tickets from the American Legion Auxiliary for this activity at the Bigfoot Jamboree. Judy Bushy, president of the Auxiliary, also thanked all who donated prizes as well as all the volunteers, especially those who splashed around in the river retrrieving little yellow ducks who had stopped to play!

 Reprinted from the September 26, 1996 Daily News by columnist, Judy Bushy.


Bigfoot Byway Dedication Speech – April, 1, 2001

(Happy Camp will be 150 years old in July)
April 1, 2001 by Debbie Wilkinson
This speech was given at the opening ceremony for the Bigfoot Scenic Byway on April 1, 2001:
Hello. For those who do not know me, I am Debbie Wilkinson, President of the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce. We wish to welcome you to today’s celebration. After a couple of short speeches we will have a ceremonial ribbon cutting to dedicate and officially open the Happy Camp end of the Bigfoot Scenic Byway. The ribbon cutting will be followed by a parade, food, fun and games. We will have balloon shaving; an egg toss and an egg carry race, as well as music by Happy Camp’s own Genuine Draft band. So stay around for the fun.
Today will mark the beginning of a summer of celebration, for this July will mark 150 years since the first group of miners stopped at the mouth of Indian Creek, approximately ½ mile from here, and found more than enough gold to stay on. In the years following, our little town has fluctuated in both prosperity and population. We have seen boom and bust, flood and firestorms, and we have survived it all.
Though Happy Camp has survived a great many trials and world changes in its first century and a half, the face of our home has changed little where it matters most: the heart and soul of our town, the people who have chosen to make it their home. Let’s give ourselves a hand — we deserve it for despite those who would say otherwise, we have survived and we will continue to survive.¦ I fully expect that in another 150 years yet another generation will gather here in Happy Camp to celebrate Happy Camp’s 300th anniversary. There will be new faces and new names, but we will still be here, in our little valley, with new stories that tell the world –We have survived.
As I said, today will kick off a summer of celebration. The festivities will continue in July with our first Annual River Run Bike Rally, which will be held at the River Park on the 6th, 7th and 8th. The summer will end with Happy Camp’s Annual Bigfoot Jamboree on Labor Day weekend. Anybody or group who wishes to participate in either event should contact the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce or the Happy Camp Coordinating Council. As always, new faces and new ideas are always welcomed.
Today is about history, and Bigfoot has been with us from the first. Along with mining tales and the other stories that have added color to our history, this legendary creature has helped to shape our image. Here with a short history of Bigfoot is a man that everybody knows, Karuk Tribal Council Vice-Chairman and Chamber of Commerce Past President, Harvey Shinar. Harvey€¦
[At this point, Harvey Shinar gave his speech about Bigfoot legends and the inspiration for the Bigfoot Scenic Byway. –Ed.]
Thank You, Harvey.
Today is also about the blending of modern travel with that history. Today’s family often chooses to forgo the joys of the destination resorts such as Disney Land, in favor of trips into the wilds of America. This interest prompted different levels of government to institute several scenic byway programs. The State of Jefferson Scenic Byway and The newly designated Bigfoot Scenic Byway are both part of the US forest Service’s programs. Here to tell us some more is the Klamath National Forest Supervisor, Peg Boland, Peg¦
[Peg Boland spoke about the development and completion of the Bigfoot Scenic Byway. –ed.]
Thank You Peg
Today’s Celebration is not just happening here in Happy Camp. In a couple of minutes, at 1:00 sharp, in Orleans, in Hoopa and here in Happy Camp this Red Ribbon will be cut. This ribbon cutting will not only celebrate our newest Scenic Byway, but will also celebrate a new beginning for our river communities: The beginning of a new, river long, collaboration of communities and governments. Separate, our voices are small, together we can move mountains. Together we can be a power to reckon with.
Now for the event of the day: Perhaps Mike can give us a drum roll as we prepare to cut the ribbon.
[At this point, we turned our attention to the red ribbon held across Highway 96 in front of the bank’s parking lot. –ed.]

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