Siskiyou County, California

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County of Siskiyou
Shasta from south.jpg
West Miner Street in Yreka, CA.JPG Indian Tom Lake, California.jpeg
Images, from top down, left to right: Mount Shasta, the historic West Miner Street in Yreka, Indian Tom Lake
Official seal of County of Siskiyou
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: 41°35′N 122°30′W / 41.583°N 122.500°W / 41.583; -122.500Coordinates: 41°35′N 122°30′W / 41.583°N 122.500°W / 41.583; -122.500
Country  United States
State  California
Region Shasta Cascade
Incorporated 1852
County seat Yreka
Largest city Yreka
 • Total 16,440 km2 (6,347 sq mi)
 • Land 16,280 km2 (6,287 sq mi)
 • Water 200 km2 (60 sq mi)
Population (2010)
 • Total 44,900
 • Density 2.7/km2 (7.1/sq mi)
Time zone Pacific Standard Time (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST) Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)

Siskiyou County /ˈsɪskjuː/ SISS-kew is a county located in the far northernmost part of the U.S. state of California, in the Shasta Cascade region on the Oregon border. Yreka is the county seat. Because of its outdoor recreation opportunities and Gold Rush era history, it is an important tourist destination within the state. The population was 44,900 at the 2010 census.


Siskiyou County was created on March 22, 1852, from parts of Shasta and Klamath Counties, and named after the Siskiyou mountain range. Parts of the county's territory were given to Modoc County in 1855.

The county is the site of the central section of the Siskiyou Trail, which ran between California's Central Valley and the Pacific Northwest. The Siskiyou Trail followed Native American footpaths, and was extended by Hudson's Bay Company trappers in the 1830s. Its length was increased by "Forty-Niners" during the California Gold Rush.

After the discovery of an important gold strike near today’s Yreka, California in 1851, prospectors flooded the area. This was described in detail by Joaquin Miller in his semi-autobiographical novel Life Amongst the Modocs.

In the mid 1880s, the construction of the Central Pacific Railroad along the Siskiyou Trail brought the a first wave of tourism. Visitors were drawn by the county’s many summer resorts, and to hunt or fish in the largely untouched region. The Southern Pacific railroad, the successor to the Central Pacific, called its rail line the “The Road of A Thousand Wonders.”

In the early 1940s, Siskiyou County was home to the semi-serious State of Jefferson movement, which sought to create a new state from several counties of northern California and the adjoining counties of southern Oregon. The movement has seen a revival in recent years.

The origin of the word Siskiyou is not known. It may be Chinook word for a "bob-tailed horse," or as was argued before the State Senate in 1852, from the French Six Cailloux (six stones), a name given to a ford on the Umpqua River by Michel LaFrambois and his Hudson's Bay Company trappers in 1832. Others claim the Six Cailloux name was appropriated by Stephen Meek, another Hudson's Bay Company trapper who discovered Scott Valley, for a crossing on the Klamath River near Hornbrook.

The County is home to the Black Bear Ranch, a commune started in 1968 with the slogan "Free Land for free people."

On September 4, 2013, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4 to 1 to secede from the State of California.[1]


Siskiyou County is geographically diverse. From towering Mount Shasta (elev. 14,179 ft/(4,322 m)) near the center of the county, to lakes and dense forests, as well as desert, chaparral, and memorable waterfalls, the county is home to world-famous trout-fishing rivers and streams, such as the Sacramento and McCloud Rivers. The county is dotted as well with lakes and reservoirs,[2] such as Castle Lake and Lake Siskiyou. Mount Shasta itself has a winter sports center. Pastoral Scott Valley in the western part of the county has many wide, tree-lined meadows, supporting large cattle ranches. The basins of northeastern Siskiyou County, including Butte Valley, Lower Klamath and Tule Lake basins, have some of the deepest and richest soils in the state, producing alfalfa, potatoes, horseradish, and brewing barley. Butte Valley nurseries are the leading source of premium strawberry plants in North America. Much of the county is densely forested with pine, fir, incense-cedar, oak, and madrone; Siskiyou County is also home to the rare Baker's Cypress Tree, Cupressus bakeri, which grows in only eleven scattered locations in the world, five of which are in Siskiyou County. The county's natural resources are most often used these days for skiing, snowboarding, hiking, mountain biking, camping, and wilderness recreation, as historic logging practices have been largely discontinued due to Federal and State environmental regulations. The county’s water is viewed as sufficiently pure and abundant that the county is a source of significant amounts of bottled water, distributed throughout the country. A large Crystal Geyser plant is located at the base of Mt. Shasta, near Weed.

While it ranks fifth in area among California counties (and is larger than three U.S. states), with some 6,347 square miles (16,440 km2),[3] it only ranked 44th in population among California’s 58 counties; as of 2000, the population was 44,301.

Cities over 5,000 population[edit]

Siskiyou County map.PNG
Southern Pacific 4449 at Bray, en route to Railfair 1981.

Cities over 1,000 population[edit]

Cities under 1,000 population[edit]


Unincorporated towns and places[edit]

Ghost towns[edit]

Adjacent Counties[edit]

National protected areas[edit]


Voter registration statistics[edit]

Cities by population and voter registration[edit]


Siskiyou County vote
by party in presidential elections
Year GOP DEM Others
2012 56.2% 9,844 40.6% 7,110 3.1% 551
2008 53.7% 11,520 43.3% 9,292 3.5% 752
2004 60.6% 12,673 37.7% 7,880 1.7% 346
2000 61.6% 12,198 31.9% 6,323 6.6% 1,298
1996 47.3% 8,653 38.4% 7,022 14.3% 2,618
1992 32.2% 6,660 39.9% 8,254 27.9% 5,765
1988 50.9% 9,056 47.0% 8,365 2.1% 376
1984 58.3% 10,544 39.4% 7,130 2.4% 427
1980 55.8% 9,331 33.8% 5,664 10.4% 1,743
1976 48.4% 7,070 48.3% 7,060 3.3% 485
1972 51.5% 7,563 43.8% 6,434 4.8% 699
1968 46.1% 6,334 45.6% 6,260 8.3% 1,138
1964 36.2% 5,186 63.7% 9,126 0.2% 23
1960 43.0% 6,279 56.4% 8,245 0.7% 96
1956 49.8% 6,841 49.8% 6,837 0.5% 63
1952 55.7% 8,735 43.4% 6,800 1.0% 151
1948 42.5% 5,315 54.0% 6,749 3.5% 434
1944 42.2% 4,351 57.3% 5,914 0.6% 58
1940 35.9% 4,387 63.2% 7,714 0.9% 111
1936 29.5% 2,919 69.3% 6,865 1.3% 125
1932 26.8% 2,458 69.3% 6,367 3.9% 359
1928 55.5% 3,758 43.1% 2,916 1.5% 98
1924 40.6% 2,437 9.7% 584 49.7% 2,984
1920 60.1% 2,909 31.0% 1,502 8.9% 433

Siskiyou 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.

Siskiyou County is in California's 1st congressional district, represented by Republican Doug LaMalfa.[6]

In the state legislature Siskiyou is in the 1st Senate District, represented by Republican Ted Gaines,[7] and the 1st Assembly District, represented by Republican Brian Dahle.[8]

On November 4, 2008 Siskiyou County voted 60.1% for Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

On September 3, 2013, the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 in favor of secession from California to form a proposed state named Jefferson.[9][10] A similar move was made in 1941, but was shelved due to the attack on Pearl Harbor.[11]

Transportation Infrastructure[edit]

Public Transportation[edit]

Siskiyou Transit And General Express (STAGE) operates buses connecting the more populated areas of the county. Amtrak trains stop in Dunsmuir. Amtrak California motorcoaches operate from Sacramento and Medford, OR, with stops in Yreka, Weed, Mount Shasta, and Dunsmuir, for passengers connecting to and from Amtrak trains in Sacramento or Stockton.


Siskiyou County owns and operates Butte Valley Airport, Happy Camp Airport, Scott Valley Airport, Siskiyou County Airport and Weed Airport (all general aviation). Dunsmuir Municipal-Mott Airport and Montague-Yreka Rohrer Field are also located within the county.

The closest airports where commercial domestic planes depart from is Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport north of the county in Medford, Oregon, Klamath Falls International Airport, northeast of the county in Klamath Falls, Oregon,and Redding Municipal Airport south of the county in Redding, California.

Major Highways[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]



Places by population, race, and income[edit]


Historical population
Census Pop.
1860 7,629
1870 6,848 −10.2%
1880 8,610 25.7%
1890 12,163 41.3%
1900 16,962 39.5%
1910 18,801 10.8%
1920 18,545 −1.4%
1930 25,480 37.4%
1940 28,598 12.2%
1950 30,733 7.5%
1960 32,885 7.0%
1970 33,225 1.0%
1980 39,732 19.6%
1990 43,531 9.6%
2000 44,301 1.8%
2010 44,900 1.4%
Est. 2012 44,154 −1.7%
U.S. Decennial Census[20]
2012 Estimate[21]

The 2010 United States Census reported that Siskiyou County had a population of 44,900. The racial makeup of Siskiyou County was 38,030 (84.7%) White, 571 (1.3%) African American, 1,814 (4.0%) Native American, 540 (1.2%) Asian, 80 (0.2%) Pacific Islander, 1,491 (3.3%) from other races, and 2,374 (5.3%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 4,615 persons (10.3%).[22]


As of the census[23] of 2000, there were 44,301 people, 18,556 households, and 12,228 families residing in the county. The population density was 7/sq mi (3/km2). There were 21,947 housing units at an average density of 4/sq mi (1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 87.1% White, 1.3% Black or African American, 3.9% Native American, 1.2% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 2.8% from other races, and 3.7% from two or more races. 7.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 13.5% were of German, 12.0% English, 9.8% Irish, 9.5% American and 7.1% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000. 91.7% spoke English and 5.7% Spanish as their first language. As of March 2012, the largest self-reported ancestry groups in Siskiyou County are 15% German, 13% English, 12% Irish and 6% Italian.[24]

There were 18,556 households out of which 27.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 51.7% were married couples living together, 10.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.1% were non-families. 28.6% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.87.

In the county the population was spread out with 24.0% under the age of 18, 6.7% from 18 to 24, 22.7% from 25 to 44, 28.4% from 45 to 64, and 18.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 96.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 94.1 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,530, and the median income for a family was $36,890. Males had a median income of $31,936 versus $22,650 for females. The per capita income for the county was $17,570. About 14.0% of families and 18.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.6% of those under age 18 and 7.3% of those age 65 or over.

Flora and fauna[edit]

Substantial amounts of the county are forested within the Siskiyou and Cascade Ranges, including significant oak woodland and mixed conifer forests. Siskiyou County is the northern extent of the range for California Buckeye,[25] a widespread California endemic. The Klamath National Forest occupies 1,700,000 acres (6,900 km2) of land which includes elements in Siskiyou County as well as Jackson County, Oregon.[26]

See also[edit]


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


  1. ^ "Siskiyou County supervisors vote to pursue seceding from state", The Record Searchlight,, September 4, 2013
  2. ^ List of Siskiyou County lakes
  3. ^
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ "California's 1st Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC. Retrieved February 28, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Senators". State of California. Retrieved March 10, 2013. 
  8. ^ "Members Assembly". State of California. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  9. ^ Longoria, Sean, Siskiyou supervisors support withdrawal from California, Redding Record Searchlight, September 4, 2013, accessed September 4, 2013
  10. ^ Mather, Kate, Siskiyou County votes to pursue secession from California, Los Angeles Times, September 4, 2013, accessed September 4, 2013
  11. ^ Northern California County Board Votes For Secession From State, CBS, San Francisco, September 4, 2013
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B03003. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-26.
  15. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19301. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  16. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19013. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  17. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B19113. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  18. ^ a b U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  19. ^ U.S. Census Bureau. American Community Survey, 2011 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates, Table B01003. American FactFinder. Retrieved 2013-10-21.
  20. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  21. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Retrieved July 9, 2013. 
  22. ^ "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau. 
  23. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  24. ^
  25. ^ C.Michael Hogan (2008) Aesculus californica,, ed. N. Stromberg
  26. ^ Siskiyou County factsheet

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]