Inyo County, California

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County of Inyo
County
Wildflowers blooming in Death Valley after an unusually wet winter
Wildflowers blooming in Death Valley after an unusually wet winter
Official seal of County of Inyo
Seal
Location in the state of California
Location in the state of California
California's location in the United States
California's location in the United States
Coordinates: 36°35′N 117°25′W / 36.583°N 117.417°W / 36.583; -117.417Coordinates: 36°35′N 117°25′W / 36.583°N 117.417°W / 36.583; -117.417
Country  United States
State  California
Region Eastern California
Founded 1866
Named for "dwelling place of the great spirit" in Mono language
County seat Independence
Largest city Bishop
Government
 • Board of Supervisors
 • 34th State Assembly District Connie Conway (R)
 • 18th State Senate District Jean Fuller (R)
 • 8th U.S. House District Paul Cook (R)
Area
 • Total 10,226.98 sq mi (26,487.8 km2)
 • Land 10,203.10 sq mi (26,425.9 km2)
 • Water 23.88 sq mi (61.8 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 18,546
 • Density 1.8/sq mi (0.70/km2)
Time zone Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)
Website www.inyocounty.us

Inyo County is a county on the east side of the Sierra Nevada and southeast of Yosemite National Park in the eastern-central part of the U.S. state of California. Inyo County includes the Owens River Valley; it is flanked to the west by the Sierra Mountains and to the east by the White Mountains and the Inyo Mountains.

Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the Continental United States, is on Inyo County's western border (with Tulare County). The Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park, the lowest place in North America, is in eastern Inyo County. The two points are not visible from each other, but both can be observed from the Panamint Range on the west side of Death Valley, above the Panamint Valley.

The county seat is Independence. In 2010, Inyo County had a population of 18,546.

History[edit]

Mount Whitney (top) is less than 90 miles (140 km) away from Badwater Basin in Death Valley (bottom)

Present day Inyo county has been the historic homeland for thousands of years of the Mono tribe, Coso people, Timbisha, and Kawaiisu Native Americans. They spoke the Timbisha language and the Mono language with Mono traditional narratives. The descendants of these ancestors continue to live in their traditional homelands in the Owens River Valley and in Death Valley National Park.

Inyo County was formed in 1866 from the territory of the unorganized Coso County created on April 4, 1864 from parts of Mono and Tulare Counties.[1] It acquired more territory from Mono County in 1870 and Kern County and San Bernardino County in 1872.

For many years it has been commonly believed that the county derived its name from the Mono tribe of Native Americans name for the mountains in its former homeland. Actually the name came to be thought of, mistakenly, as the name of the mountains to the east of the Owens Valley when the first whites there asked the local Paiutes what the name of the mountains to the east was.

The local Paiutes responded that that was the land of Inyo. They meant by this that those lands belonged to the Shoshone tribe headed by a man whose name was Inyo. Inyo was the name of the headman of the Panamint band of Paiute-Shoshone people at the time of contact when the first whites, the Manly expedition of 1849, wandered, lost, into Death Valley on their expedition to the gold fields of western California. The Owens Valley whites misunderstood the local Paiute and thought that Inyo was the name of the mountains when actually it was the name of the chief, or headman, of the tribe that had those mountains as part of their homeland.

"Indian George", a fixture of many of the stories of early Death Valley days, was Inyo's son. Indian George's Shoshone name was "Bah-Vanda-Sa-Va-Nu-Kee", which means "The Boy Who Ran Away", a name he was given when he became terrified of the whites and their wheeled wagons and huge buffalo, none of which the Shoshone had ever seen before when they came wandering down Furnace Creek Wash in December 1849. In 1940, when Bah-vanda was around 100 years old, JC Boyles, a Panamint Shoshone who had become educated, came back to the Panamint Valley and interviewed Bah-Vanda at length about the early days of his life, including the events of 1849, and it is in this interview (which can be found in February 1940 issue of The Desert Magazine) that Bah-vanda refers to his father, Inyo.

In order to provide water needs for the growing City of Los Angeles, water was diverted from the Owens River into the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913. The Owens River Valley cultures and environments changed substantially. From the 1910s to 1930s the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power purchased much of the valley for water rights and control. In 1941 the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power extended the Los Angeles Aqueduct system further upriver into the Mono Basin.

Natural history[edit]

Inyo County is host to a number of natural superlatives. Among them are:

Owens Valley and the Sierra Escarpment.

Geography[edit]

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 10,226.98 square miles (26,487.8 km2), of which 10,203.10 square miles (26,425.9 km2) (or 99.77%) is land and 23.88 square miles (61.8 km2) (or 0.23%) is water.[2] It is the second-largest in California and the tenth-largest in the nation (excluding boroughs and census areas in Alaska).

Cities and towns[edit]

Adjacent counties[edit]

photo of Inyo County Court House
The Inyo County Court House in Independence

National protected areas[edit]

There are 22 official wilderness areas in Inyo County that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. This is the second-largest number of any county, exceeded only by San Bernardino County's 35 wilderness areas. Most of these are managed solely by the Bureau of Land Management, but four are integral components of Death Valley National Park or Inyo National Forest and are thus managed by either the National Park Service or the Forest Service. Some of these wilderness areas also extend into neighboring counties.

Except as noted, the wilderness areas are managed solely by the Bureau of Land Management, and lie entirely within Inyo County:

Transportation Infrastructure[edit]

Major highways[edit]

Public transportation[edit]

Eastern Sierra Transit Authority operates intercity bus service along US 395, as well as local services in Bishop. Service extends south to Ridgecrest (Kern County) and north to Reno, Nevada.

Airports[edit]

Bishop Airport, Independence Airport, Lone Pine Airport and Shoshone Airport are general aviation airports located near their respective cities. Stovepipe Wells Airport and Furnace Creek Airport are located in Death Valley National Park.

Crime[edit]

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

Cities by population and crime rates[edit]

Demographics[edit]

2011[edit]

Places by population, race, and income[edit]

2010[edit]

The 2010 United States Census reported that Inyo County had a population of 18,546. The racial makeup of Inyo County was 13,741 (74.1%) White, 109 (0.6%) African American, 2,121 (11.4%) Native American, 243 (1.3%) Asian, 16 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 1,676 (9.0%) from other races, and 640 (3.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3,597 persons (19.4%).[13]

2000[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
1870 1,956
1880 2,928 49.7%
1890 3,544 21.0%
1900 4,377 23.5%
1910 6,974 59.3%
1920 7,031 0.8%
1930 6,555 −6.8%
1940 7,625 16.3%
1950 11,658 52.9%
1960 11,684 0.2%
1970 15,571 33.3%
1980 17,895 14.9%
1990 18,281 2.2%
2000 17,945 −1.8%
2010 18,546 3.3%
Est. 2012 18,495 −0.3%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]
2012 Estimate[15]

At the 2000 census[16], there were 17,945 people, 7,703 households and 4,937 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 per square mile (1/km²). There were 9,042 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile (0/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 80.1% White, 0.2% Black or African American, 10.0% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.6% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. 12.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 16.4% were of German, 12.2% English, 10.6% Irish and 5.0% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 89.2% spoke English and 9.3% Spanish as their first language.

There were 7,703 households of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.88.

24.4% of the population were under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 23.4% from 25 to 44, 27.3% from 45 to 64, and 19.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 95.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.9 males.

The median household income was $35,006 and the median family income was $44,970. Males had a median income of $37,270 versus $25,549 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,639. About 9.3% of families and 12.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.0% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.

Politics[edit]

Voter registration statistics[edit]

Cities by population and voter registration[edit]

Overview[edit]

Inyo County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year GOP DEM Others
2008 53.1% 4,523 43.9% 3,743 2.9% 243
2004 59.1% 5,091 38.9% 3,350 2.0% 175
2000 60.3% 4,713 33.9% 2,652 5.8% 450
1996 51.8% 3,924 34.4% 2,601 13.8% 1,044
1992 43.6% 3,689 31.8% 2,695 24.6% 2,080
1988 64.3% 5,042 33.9% 2,653 1.8% 142
1984 70.3% 5,863 28.3% 2,360 1.4% 115
1980 64.8% 5,201 25.9% 2,080 9.3% 746
1976 58.2% 3,905 39.3% 2,635 2.5% 166
1972 68.1% 4,873 28.0% 2,006 3.9% 280
1968 54.5% 3,641 34.6% 2,314 11.0% 732
1964 46.5% 2,751 53.4% 3,161 0.1% 3
1960 54.7% 2,962 45.1% 2,443 0.3% 15
1956 66.2% 3,524 33.5% 1,782 0.3% 18
1952 68.9% 3,819 30.6% 1,698 0.5% 28
1948 55.8% 2,135 40.2% 1,539 4.0% 153
1944 50.6% 1,699 49.1% 1,647 0.3% 9
1940 44.5% 1,483 54.7% 1,820 0.8% 27
1936 36.5% 912 62.4% 1,560 1.2% 29
1932 30.9% 698 64.6% 1,459 4.5% 101
1928 57.4% 1,206 41.0% 861 1.7% 35
1924 47.5% 950 12.8% 256 39.7% 793
1920 57.2% 1,195 32.7% 682 8.8% 212
Election results from statewide races
Year Office Results
2010 Governor Whitman 48.9 - 43.2%
Lieutenant Governor Maldonado 50.5 - 35.5%
Secretary of State Dunn 51.0 - 37.9%
Controller Strickland 45.6 - 42.7%
Treasurer Walters 47.9 - 43.1%
Attorney General Cooley 56.4 - 31.4%
Insurance Commissioner Villines 51.1 - 34.1%

Inyo is a strongly Republican county in Presidential and congressional elections. The last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

In the state legislature, Inyo County is in the 18th Senate District, represented by Republican Jean Fuller,[18] and the 26th Assembly District, represented by Republican Connie Conway.[19]

Federally, the county is in California's 8th congressional district, represented by Republican Paul Cook.[20]

On November 4, 2008, Inyo County voted 60.4% for Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

Education[edit]

School districts in Inyo County are:

Notable locations[edit]

Lakes[edit]

Parks and open space[edit]

Death Valley National Park[edit]

Death Valley National Park is a mostly arid United States National Park located east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in southern Inyo County and northern San Bernardino County in California, with a small extension into southwestern Nye County and extreme southern Esmeralda County in Nevada. In addition, there is an exclave (Devil's Hole) in southern Nye County. The park covers 5,262 square miles (13,630 km2), encompassing Saline Valley, a large part of Panamint Valley, almost all of Death Valley, and parts of several mountain ranges.[21] Death Valley National Monument was proclaimed in 1933, placing the area under federal protection. In 1994, the monument was redesignated a national park, as well as being substantially expanded to include Saline and Eureka Valleys.[21]

It is the hottest and driest of the national parks in the United States. It also features the second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere and the lowest point in North America at Badwater, which is 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. It is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment. Some examples include Creosote Bush, Bighorn Sheep, Coyote, and the Death Valley Pupfish, a survivor of much wetter times. Approximately 95% of the park is designated as wilderness.[22] Death Valley National Park is visited annually by more than 770,000 visitors who come to enjoy its diverse geologic features, desert wildlife, historic sites, scenery, clear night skies, and the solitude of the extreme desert environment.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Only larceny-theft cases involving property over $400 in value are reported as property crimes.
  2. ^ Other = Some other race + Two or more races
  3. ^ Native American = Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander + American Indian or Alaska Native
  4. ^ a b Percentage of registered voters with respect to total population. Percentages of party members with respect to registered voters follow.

References[edit]

  1. ^ California, Theodore Henry Hittell, '''The general laws of the State of California, from 1850 to 1864''', H.H. Bancroft, San Francisco, 1865. p.190. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2011-11-05. 
  2. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. Retrieved 2011-02-13. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B02001. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Office of the Attorney General, Department of Justice, State of California. Table 11: Crimes – 2009. Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  5. ^ a b c United States Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation. Crime in the United States, 2012, Table 8 (California). Retrieved 2013-11-14.
  6. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B03003. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  7. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19301. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  8. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19013. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  9. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19113. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  10. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  11. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B01003. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Data unavailable
  13. ^ "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau. 
  14. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Census.gov. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  15. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Census.gov. Retrieved July 8, 2013. 
  16. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q California Secretary of State. February 10, 2013 - Report of Registration. Retrieved 2013-10-31.
  18. ^ "Inyo County Representatives". County of Inyo. Retrieved September 29, 2013. 
  19. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved April 11, 2013. 
  20. ^ "California's 8th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved March 9, 2013. 
  21. ^ a b National Park Index (2001–2003), p. 26
  22. ^ NPS website, "Backcountry Roads"

External links[edit]