Art “Walk” around Happy Camp

By Judy Bushy

Saturday was a celebration in Happy Camp. It was Buster Pence’s birthday. Happy Birthday Buster!

Also, it was the Art Walk, sponsored by one of the art organizations in town, the Klamath Knot Arts Council, which organized in July 2003. They propose to do whatever they can to bring our communities together through art. It was the grand opening of their new gallery in the building downtown by the 2nd Ave Bridge. You will see their new sign above Indian Creek Road on the new art gallery. They call their building “the Knot”.

The theme of the art at the Knot was “Creatures at Water’s Edge” with Connie Rasmussen, Loretta Montinye, Amanita Mullier, Gail McDowell, Karen Davis, and Rebecca Cote. There was also a performance of ‘Tales from the Book of Egret’ by Randell Reed, Ann Kelly and Todd Gilbert.

One of my very favorite things about Happy Camp is the Basket weaving skills of Wilverna Reece and others who are learning the ancient art of making baskets of all sorts, sizes, shapes and purposes. The first stop on Saturday’s Art Walk is the Karuk People’s Center Museum where Reece had baskets on display.

Right across Indian Creek Road at the Happy Camp Resource Center was artwork by Melissa Culbert, which was fun to see. You would be amazed at the cougar portrait! It was good, and done when she was in high school with one of my girls, I believe.

Down Washington Street at the Happy Camp Community Computer Center you’d enjoy art, digital art and writings by the high school students. Their publication, Indian Ink, was only $2 and had some exceptionally talented pieces in it.

Across Fourth Avenue in the Memorial Log Building built during the depression, people here showed everyone that working together they could accomplish what had been thought impossible when it meant an education for the children of Happy Camp. Today, Violet Anderson was there and we got to see many of her paintings. Not only her art, but her family must have inherited artistic talent also. Her family was also showing other art, photography. Isabel Goodwin also had really nice fish pattern quilt and other quilts and very nice art displayed.

A fun gathering was at Evans where Beth Buchanan and Eddie Davenport were making music, the little horses were waiting to be petted, and Jean was showing her horseshoe creations. Live Music by “The Rainy Day Trio” was enjoyed by people shopping booths at Old Town Park. Atwood’s skilled blacksmithing creations from triangles, to call the crew to lunch, and utensils to serve up lunch, to wrought iron gates and beautiful flowers were for sale. Dave and Glenna’s, metal sculptures come from Somes Bar. There were fabric arts and even a bake sale. Bill Latten’s walking sticks were with Peggy Whealon’s quilts.

The Frontier Café had Kathy Harvey’s photography, Up the hill, George Swem had art done by his mother up to the time she was 95, displayed. He shared some of the gold gilding that she had learned in Spain. That was the place to get my favorite strawberry lemonade made by Dolly Elliston. G & L Tires had jade jewelry by John Harkschin.

There were botanical themed art pieces at the Forest Service Information Center. Watercolors by Sheryl Alex were were displayed at Napa Auto Parts. Right next door, Kind and Gentle Dog Grooming had photography and oil paintings by Jill Livingston displayed. While I didn’t get to see Joe Emerson’s artwork at Forest Lodge Motel, the new manager, Dinah, was very friendly, inviting all in to see the art. She said the workmen are texturing the walls and it won’t be long until Forest Lodge has more rooms again. There was a large native American sculpture out front that I would have liked to see if Joe carved it.

Veronica Salvage had her paintings on display at Double J Sports & Spirits and the frames made by Jason Rasmussen set them off very well. It looked like an elk strolled in to enjoy the art also.

Ann Stranton had her photography at Pizza House. Bigfoot Towing was the site for Wayne & Margie Scott and Ron Kelly’s rocks, gems and jewelry. Tim Britton’s photography was at Al’s Auto Repair. Al Garrett’s photography was where the Chamber office is supposed to be, down the walk, Linda Davis paintings were to be displayed. Time was running out to do all the sites in three hours.

Parry’s Market had Nancy Kilmer demonstrating her art, Gloria Chappelear was showing oil paintings at the New 49ers Prospecting Club. Right next door Diann Hokanson had oil paintings and pastels at Siskiyou House. Klamath Siskiyou Art Center was getting ready for the monthly potluck and show which was for Alan Crockett’s oil paintings. This gallery at the Bigfoot Corner, the Klamath-Siskiyou Art Center, and the group working on construction of a new building working with the Forest Service and the Tribe to obtain RAC funding for their building project.

I doubt it possible to really stop and spend as much time as you wished looking at all the art you wanted to study closer. The hiking wasn’t for many of the patrons of the arts but some did. There were great things to see and a lot of wonderful people to stop and visit with. Perhaps the difficulty with completing the entire art walk, was stopping to visit too.

The Klamath Knot Arts Council is encouraging community-oriented arts (painting, sculpture, music, dance, theater – all the arts!) like the Kids’ after-school art program, gallery shows for members, the April Spring Performing Arts event at the High School, this Art Walk, and yet to come, in August, their 3rd Annual Free Dance at the River Park.

New Events Calendar!

By Linda Martin

Judy Bushy has been busy putting together a new events calendar for Happy Camp News. The new calendar is interactive and you can add events that are important to you or any community groups you belong to. You can add your birthday or your anniversary, all types of public meetings, and special events. All new additions to the events calendar will be approved by the editor before they appear in the public access calendar.

Please do not add yard sales or business-related events. They can be advertised in Classified Ads. We’re getting a new program to make Classified Ads interactive and easier to access. Another announcement will be posted when that feature is ready.

Greyback is open for 2007

By Judy Bushy

Page Mountain Snow Park on Grayback Road in Oregon.

When you talk about “Over the Hill” in Happy Camp, it has nothing to do with anyone’s age! Ever since prospectors found gold here back in the good old days of the previous century, people have been mining north of Happy Camp in places like Indian Town, Waldo, O’Brien, and other little places that have disappeared.

If the Oregon tax collector came to visit, they announced that they were citizens of California. If the California revenue man came by, they announced that they were Oregon residents. Even before that, the Karuk Tribe headed over the hill to trade with tribes in Illinois Valley. Greyback Road has been the center of our double-minded residency ever since.

Driving over the hill is a fantastic route with rare Brewer Spruce and Port Orford Cedar trees. At the top of the hill is a side road off to the Tanner and Bolan Lakes. Bolan Lake was the site of a popular prospecting place that had a bowling alley in the tavern about the same time that Indian Town was prospering. Nowadays they are popular hiking, fishing and camping retreats for the backpacker.

The Page Mountain Snow Park, at the top of the mountain, is on the Oregon side and blocked to us in the winter, but that doesn’t deter enjoying the summer and fall pleasures of hiking and exploring there.

‘Over the Hill’ is a popular path to take whether you go to the Taylor Sausage spot for Saturday night music, stop by Dairy Queen or prefer the Chinese menu at the Golden Dragon Gate. It used to be that there was an outdoor drive-in theater but since the days of home video entertainment, that closed. There is a wild animal cat park that is well worth a visit.

Cave Junction has always been the gateway to the Oregon Caves National Monument. Well, since they will celebrate the hundred-year anniversary in the next couple of years, it has been a long time. Oh, for an expert to teach us spelunking. But barring that, Oregon Cave tours are fascinating.

The Selma Farmer’s Market, the Kirby Historical Museum, burl and wood carving shops, are all good reasons to get out to Oregon.

If you live in Happy Camp, there is no way to go anywhere else, unless you drive Highway 96. You can drive 75 miles to the east of Happy Camp and come to Yreka, and I-5 freeway. You can drive west on Highway 96 to Willow Creek. Once you get to Willow Creek another little drive, total of 120 miles, and you’ll be in Arcata on the way to Eureka and ocean beaches.

Sometimes the Klamath River floods and we can’t get out to Yreka. Sometimes there are rock or mudslides down the mountain and we can’t get out to Willow Creek. All winter long another road, up over Greyback into Oregon that meets with Hwy 199, is closed by snow. But in the summer, that scenic route is one of the favorite routes and the only way out of Happy Camp if you don’t take Hwy 96.

The cabin at Page Mountain Snow Park

State of Jefferson Scenic Byway - Grayback Road

Public Hearing: Transportation Needs

The Siskiyou County Public Works Dept. is holding a Public Hearing next week to get input from Happy Camp residents about public transportation needs in our area. We all have a pretty good idea what those problems are, but the Siskiyou County Public Works Dept. needs to hear from the people who are affected.

If you can speak for yourself or on behalf of a friend, neighbor, family member, client, etc. please plan on attending.

The Public Hearing will be held on Monday, June 4th from 12:00 Noon to 2:00 PM at the Happy Camp Family Resource Center.

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.


Linda Martin is the editor and publisher of Happy Camp News. She writes novels in her spare time. Her writing website is at

Happy Camp High Distinguished School

To some, Happy Camp High School with only 87 students, may seem humbly insignificant. This little school has the high distinction to come to be a Distinguished School, recognized by the State of California. This was awarded after the school had undergone rigourous evaluation. As Dick Holmes, Superintendent of the Siskiyou Union High School District, said, most of the people at the big award ceremony in Anaheim didn’t even know where Siskiyou County was, let alone Happy Camp.! But little Happy Camp won the award. We can be very proud of our principal, Ernie Micheli, and the teachers and staff who work diligently to give our students a good educationm and a dose of love and concern.

A letter that Ernie Micheli wrote last year sums up just some of the ways that Happy Camp High School works to educate our future citizens and community members. “We are a small school with an enrollment of 87 students. We are in the middle of a six-year Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation.

“Fully 100% of our sophomores passed the math segment of the California High School Exit Exam last spring—92% did so with the Language arts portion of the same test. Also, we are compliant with “No Child Left Behind” requirements. Our Academic Performance Index has been rated at 780. Because of our academic successes, we (have been awarded) Distinguished School status.

“Technologically we have 3 computer labs available. Our shop program completely built a motorcycle and is currently building a hotrod. We also field an eight-man football team and volleyball teams in the fall. During the winter months we have four basketball teams—2 girls and 2 for the boys. Spring has baseball, softball and track available for students.

Ernie also said that the “hard working staff that is caring, informed and current in their academic area” is responsible for this success. He sees students interacting with their instructors and fellow students to learn each day. We will indeed miss Mr. Micheli as principal but, as he said, he has high expectations that “we will continue to have positive experiences.”

When the committee came to check out the school for this distinguished School award, they talked with students and teachers, with staff and with members of the community. They observed classes. They asked questions. They learned that Spanish classes with Dorie Ekman-McDonald and German classes with Angelika Brown are taught. Some students even study the Karuk language during Indian Club at lunch. Jennifer Goodwin has taken Indian Club students to visit colleges they might someday attend as well as having these Indian Club meetings, which are open to all students whether Native American or not.

They learned students have won awards in desk top publishing with classes by Diane Oliver at the high school lab and Rosie Bley at the Computer Center. There are basic computer classes with Monica VanBaren also. VanBaren also teaches the upper social studies classes and counsels students to meet their goals. They saw that the school is cooperating with the Forest Service in providing Fire Science class as an elective class taught by Dan Bushy. This enables some of our students be better prepared for summer jobs or a career in fire fighting or forestry.

They learned that there was also an Emergency Medical Technician training in the spring with the help of Ambulance crew. Living in such a remote and isolated place, there are times when EMT service is all that we can get before a 75 mile journey to the nearest hospital. This training will be of benefit to the students just “in case” in their own lives, as well as to some members of the class are interested in nursing or medicine careers.

Students who need special help are assisted to have an appropriate education by Elizabeth Laney and her aide, Carol Dyer. Cate Roscoe is the new teacher in math and her enthusiastic students have been measuring things all over the building, inside and out. John Kufner is still faithfully teaching science as he has since my first son was in high school. Larry Gabbert taught the kids to build a custom motorcycle that has won awards. Denise Bearding not only teaches English subjects. but has also gathered the students writing in a publication, “Indian Expression,” and enhanced their artistic talents.

Besides teaching Freshman Social studies and other important areas, Dorie Eckman-McDonald, with the help of Cate Roscoe, has had a study time for students on Wednesday evenings during the school year. Not only are teachers there to help students with homework that may be causing them difficulty or to catch up from an absence, but they feed them supper too. In this and countless other ways, the staff of Happy Camp High School encourages and nurtures the students of our school

Give them a hand when you see them, and “congratulations!” on having a Distinguished School!

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