June 19, 2016 – State of Jefferson

Route for Lassen Volcanic National Park to Sarah Totten Campground.
Route for Lassen Volcanic National Park to Sarah Totten Campground.

Route: CA-44W, I-5N, CA-96W

We got off to a late start. Our route decision was strategic because it would take us through Redding around lunch time and we had a brewery recommendation. Alas, the recommended brewery did not have food, so we stopped at Woody’s Brewing Company. We posted about our experience here, but the quick summary is good food and good beer. Worth a visit. Stomachs filled, we continued our journey.

History: We have been commenting that the farther we drive north, the less the California feels like, well, California. The area’s residents agree based on the number of ‘State of Jefferson‘ flags we observed. The proposed state spans contiguous, primarily rural, counties of southern Oregon and Northern California. There is a separate independence movement called Cascadia.

In the early 20th century the State of Jefferson felt that it was being left behind as the rest of California thrived. In 1941 local leaders worked to establish the State of Jefferson. However, with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the secession plans were abandoned. The movement still continues today as a criticism to the growing role the federal and state government and how decisions made by these governing bodies negatively impact the region. Check out the segment on the State of Jefferson on the show How the States Got Their Shapes.

We also saw numerous ‘No Monument‘ signs. Curious, we Googled the issue. The Siskiyou Crest runs east-west and links the Siskiyou Mountains to the Cascades. The area has high biological diversity, believed to have resulted from the fact it was unglaciated during the last Ice Age and served as a refuge for plants and animals. The creation of the monument, out of land already managed by the U.S. Forest Service, aims to protect and revive the land. The classification as a monument would restrict grazing, logging, and mining inside the boundaries. Those in opposition fear worsening economic stagnation and that private property would be taken away from citizens. Supporters believe that the new designation would bring tourism and outdoor recreation dollars.  The monument is supported by the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center and opposed by the American Land Rights Association.

Abby in site 8 at the Sarah Totten Campground.
Abby in site 8 at the Sarah Totten Campground.

Campground: The Sarah Totten Campground in the Klamath National Forest is a small campground along the Klamath River and has two group sites and nine individual sites. The campground has an upstream and downstream loop, with river access at the upstream loop. We camped in site 8 in the upstream loop which is next to the river access. No one was using the river access, but this campsite would be less than ideal if there was a high demand to access the river.

Alex looking for rocks to toss into the river.
Alex looking for rocks to toss into the river.

Activities: If we had a tow vehicle and kayaks, this campground is ideal. Drive the tow vehicle to the put out point, bring the RV and kayaks back to the campground. A recipe for an enjoyable time on the river. There were also multiple trail heads accessible from CA-96W, but we did not go hiking. There is a nice selection of rocks for throwing in the river.

Overall: A very isolated campground. Use does not seem to be heavy. A gorgeous area to camp. Site signage could be improved.

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