Tag Archives: History

Did we get a White Christmas? You decide…

This year a lot of people in Pit River Country were hoping for a White Christmas. How lovely it is to experience the serene beauty of silent woods draped in snow. Somehow it complements the Christmas spirit in a very special way. The world seems to be peacefully asleep like baby Jesus in the manger. The inner joy and hope of the nativity are strengthened because the sun has passed its nadir and turned north again. The days gradually begin to brighten.

This year in particular we have been hoping for a good snow-pack to alleviate the drought.

Mt. Burney on December 5. The snow pack has continued to build since then.

Mt. Burney on December 5. Lots more snow since then.

The week before Christmas, we had  a lot of rain in Burney. I took a drive up Hatchet Mountain and down Big Bend Road. In spite of the rain, there was still a lot of snow. I could see a line of white about five hundred feet above Burney all around.

So, back to the question: Were we blessed with a White Christmas? If you live above 4000 feet the answer is definitely yes. For those of us who live in Fall River Valley, Burney Basin and around Hat Creek, I will let each person answer for themself.

One thing is certain though. On the morning of Christmas Eve day, when Linda and I woke up and looked out the window, everything was cloaked in a blanket of white.

View from our back yard in Burney

View from our back yard in Burney

Linda and I decided to drive Clark’s Creek Road from Hwy 89 through Burney Falls State Park, over Lake Britton Dam, up to Clark’s Creek Lodge and on to where the road rejoins 89 between Bartle and Four Corners.

As we drove over Burney Creek, we could see that the creek bed, which only a short time ago was dry, is now full and flowing forcefully.

Burney Creek from Clark's Creek Road

Burney Creek from Clark’s Creek Road

We proceeded on into the park.

Driving into the park on Clark Creek Road

Driving into the park on Clark Creek Road

When we came to the back entrance to the park we decided to take a little jaunt down the trail to the falls. The trees were sill laden with snow.

Trail into Burney Falls Park

Trail into Burney Falls Park

Pacific Crest Trail was covered with snow. We made our way down to the foot bridge over Burney Creek.

Burney Falls through the trees

Foot Bridge over Burney Creek above the falls

Then, awed by the winter beauty we proceeded down to a spot where we could get a picture of the falls through the trees.

Burney Falls through the trees

Burney Falls through the trees

Everything was lovely. As the temperature rose, walking under some of the large evergreens we were showered by the snow dripping off of the branches.

Linda took a picture of me

Linda took a picture of me

I took a picture of Linda.

Linda may take a picture of you

Linda may take a picture of you

We didn’t feel like hiking the whole Burney Falls loop. We wanted to continue on the road and explore more. So we got back in the Jeep, drove across the dam and headed through the winter wonderland to Clark’s Creek Lodge.

Clark's Creek Lodge

Clark’s Creek Lodge

One of the things that surprised me was that there was no longer a “for sale” sign on the lodge, just a “closed” sign. Did somebody buy it? Linda peered through the window and saw that all of the tables were laid out with nice red-checked table cloths set with plates and silverware. The salt and pepper shakers were full. Is Clark’s Creek Lodge back in business?

That would be nice. The Lodge has a rich history going back to 1921. Word has it that in the 1930’s and 40’s it was a popular hideout for gangsters on the lam. My mom used to tell me that Al Capone even stayed there at one time. Who knows?

I do know that over the decades it was a favorite place for my family to go eat. One time my mom and grandmother went, expecting to be seated at their regular table. When they got there however, it was already full. Clint Eastwood and his party had already occupied the spot. When Mr. Eastwood saw that my mom and Grandma Jay were disappointed, he rose like a gentleman and offered to move. Naturally, my kin, a bit in awe, declined.

Having fished up these and other memories, Linda and I continued on our way, rising through the oaks until we came to a place where we could shoot Lake Britton.

View of Lake Britton from Clark's Creek Road

View of Lake Britton from Clark’s Creek Road

Then we hit Hwy 89 and headed home. By sunset, the ground was still covered with snow, but the white that had graced the trees in the morning had melted away in the afternoon sun.

That evening, at a friend’s house, we discussed whether or not we could consider it a White Christmas if there were snow on the ground but not on the trees. As I said earlier, I will let you decide for yourselves.

As for Linda and me, we had our White Christmas.

 

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Filed under Burney, Burney Falls, Hiking, Lake Britton, Pacific Crest Trail, Pit River Area History, Weather

The Churches of Burney

On Sunday morning, November 8, my wife Linda and I went over to the Vet’s Hall for breakfast and for $5 were treated to a delicious pancake, sausage, egg, and fruit breakfast. The breakfast was served by three very friendly vets. We arrived at about 9 a.m.  We were the only ones there.  One of the gentlemen told us that the breakfast takes place once a month and they usually get a good showing between 10 and 10:30.

We figured that most of the people in town were in church or getting ready to go to church. After breakfast and a nice conversation, Linda and I decided to drive around town and see the churches.

We headed back up Main Street and the first church we saw was the Word of Life Assembly of God at 37341 Main Street. The main Pastor is Ken Frazier.

Word of Life Assembly of God

Word of Life Assembly of God

Their parking lot was full. They have services at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.  I’ve never attended the services but Linda has set up for their annual craft show in the past. Also, the daughter of one of the pastors was my certified health care advisor at the Burney Health Clinic.

Next we drove by the old Burney Presbyterian Church, which is now closed.

Burney Presbyterian Church

Burney Presbyterian Church

There was some disagreement with the national Presbyterian Church. I’m not informed enough to explain, but the church property is under the control of the Presbyterian Church and the congregation has now formed the New Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church and meets at 37095 Main Street, Suite C, behind Burney Valley Real Estate.  They have their services at 10:30 a.m.

New Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church (2)

New Hope Evangelical Presbyterian Church

I do have some history with the Burney Presbyterian Church because it was built back when my grandfather Ray Berry was general manager of the Scott Lumber Company.  In the late 1950’s, when I used to spend summers on the Black Ranch, we used to attend services there. My grandfather donated a really nice pipe organ and used to play for the services.  Later, when the church began to turn to more modern music rather than the old hymns (which I loved to sing), my mom, Alice Stone, donated money so they could buy a new music system. Also, my mom and my grandmother were regular contributors to the church, and my mom used to like to attend prayer meetings there.

So, I’m wondering what is to become of the church property. Will there be a new minister or will they sell the property to someone else?

Next, we drove through town and turned left on Tamarack. We went past the Solid Rock Four Square Church. There service is at 10:30 a.m. The pastor is Sheadon Crabtree. Linda and I did attend Easter Service there last year and it was very pleasant.

Solid Rock Four Square Church

Solid Rock Four Square Church

I find attending any denominations services to be worthwhile because the readings deepen my familiarity with the Bible and the sermons give me new perspectives and things to think and pray about. Linda and I often have lengthy conversations after listening to a sermon. I also am grateful for the opportunity to pray together with other people and share fellowship. Jesus said that when two or more are gathered together in his name, he will be there, so I often feel the Holy Spirit when attending a church.

Solid Rock Four Square Church Ministry Building

Solid Rock Four Square Church Ministry Building

One of the things that I enjoyed attending the Solid Rock church was being introduced to Aimee Semple McPherson, a very fascinating and influential woman with quite a testimony.

Then we drove past the casino to the Grace Community Bible Church, an Independent Fundamental Bible Church. Their Pastor is Henry Winkelman. There were a few cars there for the Sunday School. Sunday morning service begins at 11 a.m.

Grace Community Bible Church

Grace Community Bible Church

Then Linda and I drove back up to the highway and across to Timber Lane. There are three churches over in this area: The Faith Lutheran Church, The First Baptist Church, and the St Francis Catholic Church.

Faith Lutheran Church

Faith Lutheran Church

One of the summers when I stayed at the ranch, Grandpa Ray hired a student from Shasta College to take care of me, my brother and my cousins. We lived in the little white house down Burney Creek by the chicken coup. The student’s name was Bruno. He came from Germany and he was Catholic, so for that summer we attended St. Francis Catholic Church every Sunday.

St Francis Catholic Church

St Francis Catholic Church

I hadn’t been there for years, but when my friend Gerald died a few years ago I attended his funeral service there and met the priest, Father Hector Montoya. The parking lot at St. Francis was packed.

When we drove into the parking lot of the First Baptist Church we were greeted by a very friendly Pastor Troy. Sunday school had started at 9:45 but services would begin at 11.

First Baptist Church

First Baptist Church

I told him that Linda and I had had breakfast at the Vets Hall and were taking a tour of the churches. He welcomed us and invited us to attend. I asked what he was going to preach on.

“Do you believe in the gifts?” he asked.

“Yes,” I replied.

He told me that I should come because the Holy Spirit had inspired him yesterday that someone who had prayed for something for a long time would receive it today.

“That could be me!” I said.

He told us that we would be welcome to attend anytime.

Well, that was seven churches that we had seen so far in Burney. One that we missed was the Burney Church of Christ on Superior Avenue behind the old Post Office.

Church of Christ

Church of Christ

There is also the Intermountain Baptist Church with Pastor Bud Hennessey on Marquette. They have a Sunday Bible study at 10 a.m. and service at 11 a.m. and 6p.m. This church is not far from our house and Linda has enjoyed services there several times. The property this church is on used to belong to my grandmother.

Intermountain Baptist Church

Intermountain Baptist Church

One day, my mom stopped by my grandmother’s and my grandmother said, “I just sold that piece of property on Marquette to the nicest young minister and he is going to build a church there!”

She was so happy that the property would be used as a church to benefit the community. I often walk through the trees on the trail in front of the church as I go to the cemetery to pray at my grandmother’s gravesite. It is really lovely, like a park.

America has such a rich religious history. I recommend reading A Religious History of the American People by Sydney E. Ahlstrom just to get an overview. The Spirit has moved in many ways through our history giving birth to reformations, revivals, and movements that have been integral to our history.

The diversity of religious opinion, doctrine and practice has not only been evident in divisions amongst denominations but within denominations. Baptists are a good example of this. When I was a seminary student at Unification Theological Seminary in Barrytown, New York, I attended an American Baptist Church in Albany on Sunday for two year’s. Later, in Maryland I had a friend who was a pastor of a small independent conservative Baptist congregation. He brought me along to a conference of various fundamentalist Baptist ministers. While they shared certain basic beliefs, the diversity of theological and doctrinal disputes amongst them befuddled me. Yet the disputes raged in a cheerful and respectful atmosphere of brotherhood. While all the pastors differed on various points, they all respected each other’s commitments to Christ and to serving their flocks.

Back to this Sunday in Burney, Linda and I got back on the highway and drove past the Community Center where another congregation meets each week under the teaching ministry of Pat Nugent. Linda and I have attended services there several times. Pat generally reads a portion of the Bible and provides an exegesis.

Intermountain Community Center where a small congregation meets each Sunday

Intermountain Community Center where a small congregation meets each Sunday

Then we went on to Johnson Park where we drove past the Pentecostal Church (cars just beginning to arrive).

United Pentecostal Church

United Pentecostal Church

Further down we came upon the Jehovah’s Witnesses Kingdom Hall, where the parking lot was full.

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses

Linda and I enjoy the friendship of a number of Witnesses. Linda has attended many services. This past Spring I attended a commemorative service during Easter week. Also Linda had an opportunity to act as a caretaker for one elderly woman before she passed away and we attended her memorial service at the Kingdom Hall.

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses

Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses

I admire all people of faith. I also respect and give thanks for all of those members of the clergy who seek to provide spiritual food and guidance to the various faith communities. In Burney we are fortunate to have a variety of churches and it is good to know that each week congregations are meeting to worship, study, pray, and share fellowship because this nourishes the spiritual life of our community and bears fruit as it inspires people to strive for betterment and to serve the community in various ways. May God bless them all.

Personally, I have not been a regular church-goer for some time. After today’s tour of the churches of Burney, I think that Linda and I will begin to visit the various churches to hear the sermons and share in the fellowship.

I also want to mention my gratitude to the Mormon missionaries who visit our homes. I have enjoyed the company of several and one, Elder Stein, moved me to read the Book of Mormon. I also attended one service in Fall River which was quite inspiring and definitely spirit-filled.

When my mother was dying of cancer and I was her primary caretaker in Hospice, a minister from the Seventh Day Adventist Church came each week to visit. My mom was always delighted as we sang songs together. Another friend of mine attends the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Round Mountain.

I love to pray with people of all denominations. I love to share inspiration and ideas with people of all faiths. Prayer knows no denominational barriers. The spirit blows where it will. It is not bound by human opinion.

I am also grateful that we have several Hindus in our community. I have shared very beneficial conversations on the Bhagavad Gita and the Ramayana.

I have a group of friends with whom I meet on Friday nights. We discuss personal, social, and spiritual ideas and issues and then sing “Hu.” In Redding and Mt Shasta, I have friends with whom I discuss yoga, mystical philosophy and sometimes chant “Om.” I am also grateful to have been able to discuss Grandfather Spirit and to have shared song and dance with some of our Achomawi brothers and sisters.

I read the Bible, the Quran, the I Ching, the Tao te Ching, the Upanishads, the Dhammapada, and the Bhagavad Gita and other sacred texts. I don’t necessarily believe everything that I read, but I find wisdom in all these texts. I find that they all point to the Way, and I respect all people of the Way.

I pray that the most high God can help me to understand the truth as much as a I am capable of understanding. But above all I seek to love God with all my heart, all my soul, and all my mind.

It is difficult to ascend Jacob’s ladder. I have many failings, but I thank God for his mercy and his blessings.

I also thank and pray for all of the people of faith in Pit River Country who are seeking to discover the Kingdom of Heaven within. In this time when there is so much division and animosity between people of different religions, races, and ethnic backgrounds, I pray that men and women of love and faith can facilitate reconciliation.

Our Father who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on Earth as it is in heaven…

 

 

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Halloween hike at Burney Falls

Personally, I think that the Falls Loop trail at McArthur-Burney Falls State Park is one of the most enjoyable hiking trails that there is. It’s not a hard hike but it is good exercise. The trail is about 1.3 miles long. It is beautiful in all seasons.

Burney Falls in Autumn

Burney Falls in Autumn

On October 31, I decided to hike the trail to catch a glimpse of some of the fall foliage. I used the free public parking area on Clark’s Creek Road to enter.

Burney Falls in Autumn

Burney Falls in Autumn

Some people feel that entering the park without paying the $8 entry fee at the main entrance to the park on Hwy 299 is a bad thing. However, technically, admission to the park has been free since the land was sold to the State of California for one dollar by the McArthur family in the 1920’s.

The McArthur family basically gave the park to the State of California to protect the falls and the surrounding area from the hydroelectric development that was being planned for the Pit River. One stipulation was that the park remain free and open to the public in perpetuity.

When people drive into the park and stop at the gate to pay fees, they are paying parking and camping fees. The fees go to pay for upkeep and maintenance of the park, so that is a good thing and a lot of people are happy to pay to help contribute. If people hike into the park, however, there is no entry fee.

I entered the Park, crossed the Pacific Crest Trail that also runs through the park, and headed down to the bridge that crosses Burney Creek above the falls.

Bridge above the falls

Bridge above the falls

After crossing the bridge I took a few photos of the fall foliage and headed across the falls overlook to the main parking area.

Upper brige

Upper bridge (14)

The visitor’s center was closed for the season. They closed after the park’s Heritage Day celebration. I saw a park ranger and went over to talk with him. His name was Ranger Dan. He was a very likeable fellow who gave me a map and explained how to get to the Pioneer Cemetery Trail which leads to the Pioneer Cemetery and Cemetery Cove on Lake Britton.

I’ve been wanting to see the marker at the cemeteries that commemorate a number of the early settlers who lived along the Pit River near the falls in bygone days.

Before the white people came to the area in the mid-1800’s, this was the Burney Falls in Autumn (2)territory of the Ilmawi, a branch of the Achomawi people. In the 1860’s John and Catherine McArthur bought a lot of land. They opened a store. Eventually, a small community named Peck’s Bridge developed along the Pit supported by local family farms.

The Cemetery trail is three miles down and back. It was already past 2 p.m and the days are getting short so I decided to do it in the future and instead continue along the Loop Trail.

From the beautiful vista point near the visitor’s center the trail descends in a hatchback manner down to the base of the falls. As one hikes down a well maintained path one is treated to a wonderful series of breathtaking views of the falls.

Burney Falls in Autumn (5)

One of the things that I love about hiking the loop is the wonderful people that I meet. As I hiked down I was amazed to see a group of hikers from Mt Shasta with young boy dressed in a Mickey Mouse costume.

Micky Mouse and family at Burney Falls

Mickey Mouse and family at Burney Falls

This was personal for me because I had recently painted a small picture of Mickey Mouse at Burney Falls for a friend.

Mickey Mouse by Burney Falls

Mickey Mouse by Burney Falls

“It’s Mickey Mouse!” I exclaimed as I approached the hikers. I introduced myself to the young boy’s mother. Her name was Lilly Rivera. Her son’s (Mickey Mouse) name is Adrian Rivera Jr. Hiking with them were Brianna and Julien Reyes. They had moved to Mt. Shasta in January. She said this was their first chance to come to Burney Falls and they loved it.

I traveled down to the bottom of the falls. Here one can experience the full power of the falls as the torrent descends and the mist sprays up into one’s face. In the summer some hikers like to plunge into the pool for a very brief but exhilarating dip. The water which is flowing over the falls from subterranean sources is between 40 and 50 degrees.

Burney Falls in Autumn (12)

 

I did it once several years ago and got out almost as quickly as I could get in. The currents created by the falls are extremely powerful.

Another experience that fills one with awe is to sit on the rocks by the water and just take it in. In the past, sometimes I would sit on a rock where the water from the pool flows into the creek to continue it’s journey to Lake Britton. There the water is as clear as glass and flowing at an incredibly powerful rate equal to the force of the water flowing over the fall. Staring into it, I would imagine what it would like to merge into such a flow. You couldn’t fight it.

“Just go with the flow.” I thought. Try to avoid the rocks and keep your head above water until you reach a place of calm. I would imagine riding the current all the way down to Lake Britton and then resting in the calm waters thinking “Wow!”

Well, imagination is one thing and physical reality is another.

After enjoying the view of the falls, I proceeded down the trail that follows the

Burney Falls from down the trail (2)

Burney Falls from down the trail (2)

stream. I met another young ranger taking one of his last hikes in the park for the season. I asked him if he would be working indefinitely at the park. He said, “Actually, I’m going to be laid off In two days.”

Every year the park reduces its personnel in the winter.

I continued down the trail. Here in the heat of the late spring and summer one often sees brown squirrels, lizards, butterflies and dragonflies dancing about. But today was quiet and serene. At this point I was able to enjoy the beauty of the Burney Creek and the serenity of the woods.

Because this is a state park, it has not been logged as extensively as the surrounding area. As I walked by the stream I could experience the grandeur of old growth Ponderosas and the Douglass Firs, many of which are five hundred years old.

Old growth (2)

Old growth

The trail follows the scenic creek down to an old arched bridge. Here one can get beautiful views and pictures both up and down the creek.

Lower Bridge

Lower Bridge

At this point one is also confronted with choices. Do I hike back the way I came? Do I continue down Burney Creek trail to Lake Britton? Do I cross the bridge and hike down the other side of the Creek on the Pacific Service Employees Association (PSEA) trail? Or do I continue on the loop and go back up to the Pacific Crest Trail from whence I came?

That’s one of the wonderful things about McArthur-Burney Falls Park. In addition to the falls, Lake Britton has boating, swimming and bass fishing. The creek is stocked with trout. There are campgrounds, cabins, activities, and amenities. There are also great trails to hike. Beyond the trails that I have mentioned, there is also the upper loop trail that goes to the headwaters of Burney Falls passing the springs where hundreds of millions of gallons of water emerge into Burney Creek. This trail leads to a third bridge that crosses to the Pacific Crest Trail and leads back down to the entrance point where I came into the park.

Furthermore, adjacent to the Park there is now a new trail, the Great Shasta Rail Trail that goes from the old Burney depot and leads to the “Stand By Me” railroad tressel crossing Lake Britton. Burney is a great area for hiking.

bench

I crossed bridge and sat down on one of the benches to look at the creek and take pictures. Along the trail there are several of these benches. Each one has a cool philosophical thought or poetic statement.

I decided to continue on the loop. This side of the trail does not proceed at creek level. It gradually ascends the bank back to the top of the falls making for a nice walk through the woods with scenic glimpses of the creek below.

Burney Creek below the falls (9)

Burney Creek below the falls (9)

As one nears the end of the ascent, one gets another view of the falls.

Burney Falls (3)

As I shot some pictures I was joined by four visitors from San Francsico. As I said before, I enjoy meeting people on the trail. The world comes to Burney Falls. One of the reasons I like it is that it gives me a chance to practice different languages.

In this case the people were of Asian descent. So I took a chance and said, “Ni shou zhong wen?”

Because my Mandarin pronunciation is not very good, he looked at me quizzically. Then recognition glimmered in his eyes and he pointed to one of the young ladies accompanying him.

“Ni shou zhong wen?” I repeated. The Chinese-American girl looked surprised.

“A little.” she replied.

“Ah! Yi dian!”

“Yes. yi dian,” she said.

The man said, “I am Korean.”

“Oh, An nyumg ha shim ni ka!” I said.

They were all surprised that I spoke a little Korean too. I told them that I didn’t want to be a prisoner of the English language. If we want to navigate our way through the global transformation we are experiencing toward a more peaceful world, we need to understand each other.  Only one-tenth of the people in the world speak English. The different cultures in the world are encoded within their languages, so I’m trying to learn them.

We chatted for awhile and then departed amidst a cacophony of cheerful good-byes in various languages.

Burney Creek above the falls

Burney Creek above the falls

A bit further up the trail, I stopped at another of the benches and was greeted by three handsome woman hiking up the trail. One of them spoke with a British accent. Another was from Norway.

When they said they were up for the day from Redding, I surmised that they were students from Bethel Church. They were. I told them that a friend of mine and his wife had recently attended a healing service there.

I’ve never attended Bethel, but I love meeting their members on my various strolls through the woods. I often do because they like to come up to Lassen, Burney falls and other scenic places to explore the area. They are always cheerful and they like to pray. So, uplifted by the beautiful environment I often pray with them.

In this case, the ladies were wondering what other places they could visit. I told them how to get to Baum Lake, advising them that there are often American White Pelicans there.

They went on up the trail. Shortly afterward though, as I was leaning over the rail taking pictures of the upper stream, I saw them returning with another man. Turns out the Norwegian woman had been inspired with the thought that, since I had mentioned the healing meeting, perhaps I had some ailment I would like them to pray for.

So they all prayed for my knee, holding their hands over it and sending our God’s love. Then  one lady who was a bit more serious prayed that all lies would be removed from my mind and replaced with truth. She had me repeat the words after her. I have no objection to lies being replaced with truth so I gratefully complied.

I told the Norwegian woman that my grandmother, Justina Wiborg Berry, had been born in Oslo. When she heard that my grandmother was a Wiborg she said she had read ia book  written by Julie Wiborg in Norway and wondered if I was related. The answer to that was “I don’t know.” I’ve lost the connection.

My grandmother had a big book tracing all of our ancestors back to the 15th century when they had come from a town named Wiborg in Finland as merchants, but I had been unable to find the book. I also told them that my great grandfather had been a member of the king’s guard and that my grandmother had been Prince Olaf’s dancing partner for a season when she was a debutante.

So one of the ladies felt inspired to pray that I find my grandmother’s book. I hope I do.

The reason that I have gone on at such lengths about these encounters is to illustrate that going out for a hike is not only a healthy, uplifting natural experience, but a social, cultural and spiritual event as well. Several times, I have had people contact me months after I met them because of a conversation that occurred.

After the group from Bethel left, it did seem that the colors were a bit brighter. I got some nice pictures of the light coming through the trees and of Burney Creek above the falls.

Burney Creek just above the falls

Burney Creek just above the falls

Finally, I headed back up the hill to my car, happy that I had taken my Halloween hike.

 

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Filed under Burney, Burney Falls, Lake Britton, Pacific Crest Trail, Pit River, Pit River Area History, Pit River Tribe, Waterfalls

BLM hosts archaeology teach-in at Pit 1

On Saturday October 17, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held a free public archaeology day at BLM campground at Pit 1 just off Hwy 299 between Fall River Mills and Burney. The event was sponsored as part of California Archaeology Month.

BLM archaeology event

BLM archaeology event

Archaeology month is a national program designed to increase the public’s knowledge of our country’s  past.  Each state chooses a month to provide educational materials and hold events in schools and for the public to increase awareness of our archaeological past. The Society for California Archaeology sponsors California Archaeology Month in October.

In Northeastern California, BLM field offices for the Redding, Eagle Lake, and

Applegate districts cooperate to hold a public archaeology day each year. The events are held in a different location rotating between the three offices.

More than a dozen archaeologists, archaeology technicians, and interns from BLM, the US Forest Service (USFS) and Conservation and Land Management (CLM) volunteered there time, knowledge and expertise at this year’s event.

Archaeologists David “Jack” Scott, Devin Snyder and Jennifer Rovenpera came from the Applegate Field Office, accompanied by archaeology technicians Aimee VanHavermaat-Snyder, Christine O’Neill, Jenna Matthews and Lowell Thomas.

Archaeologists Sharynn-Marie Blood and Marilla Martin came from the  Eagle Lake field office. Sharynn Blood is the Program Lead for Cultural Resources at Eagle Lake. The Redding BLM field office was represented by archaeologist Eric Ritter.

Blood explaining local flora

Blood explaining local flora

The USFS was represented by archaeologists Adam Guitierrez from the Almanor Ranger District, Alden Neel from the Hat Creek District, plus archaeology technician Jake Martin from Eagle Lake District.

Two CLM interns from the Alturas Office, Jaileem Merced, and Nate Collison also staffed the event.

The Pit River Tribe also supported the event and several members of the Payute tribe from Surprise Valley also came to participate.

VanHavermaat-Snyder from the Eagle Lake field office helped to organize this year’s event. She said, “This event was really important for us as we wanted to give the public the opportunity to experience archaeology hands-on.”

Vanhavermaat-Snyder explaining the event

VanHavermaat-Snyder explaining the event

The day began with a downpour of much needed rain, but the organizers were undaunted. They set to work building a willow-branch frame for a traditional Northern Payute no-bi and putting up canopies under which to host educational displays for seven stations of “hands-on” learning.

Payute elder observes building of willow frame for a no-bi

Payute elder observes building of willow frame for a no-bi

The stations were designed so the trained archaeologists and botanists could provide adults and children with a fun, informative experience of archaeological skills, Native American culture, and local flora.

Scott taught people to hurl use an atlatl

Scott teaching Lisa to hurl an atlatl

Shortly after 10 a.m., the rain stopped and visitors began to arrive. Activities included building a traditional Northern Payute no-bi, artifact excavation, atlatl-throwing, acorn-grinding, rock-art, tule-weaving, flint-knapping, working with bone tools and bone identification.

Acorn grinding

Acorn grinding

Excavation skills were focused on modern-made artifacts. Visitors were advised that if they found an old artifact they should not deface it or remove it from the site. Removing an artifact from a site destroys it’s provenience and thus decreases it’s archaeological value. In order to fully understand the significance of an object it is important to know its context and location.

Manlla Martin teaching excavation

Teaching excavation skills

The Martins helped to explain techniques of digging and sifting for artifacts.

sifting

Sifting

One fun event was rock painting. There are numerous sites in Northern California where rock pictographs are found. The  language of rock painting is not yet fully understood. Interpretation may involve elements of communication, artistic expression, story telling, and shamanic symbolism. Although some symbols may be universal, others are related to specific tribal nations, historical periods and geographical locations. Therefore, the insight and understanding of tribal elders and cultural officials is essential to penetrating the veil of the past.

Rock-painting

Rock painting

Another fun and challenging exhibit was flint-knapping. Using a heavy rock, one strikes a piece of obsidian at an angle to cause the obsidian to splinter into pieces which can then be further chipped with bone tools such as deer antler to produce arrowheads, knives and other tools.

Flint-knapping

Flint-knapping

Meanwhile construction of the no-bi continued as mats of tule reed were added to the willow frame.

BLM members proudly standing by an almost-done no-bi

BLM members proudly standing by an almost-done no-bi

One of the delights of the day was meeting such an interesting group of people hosting the event. To give a few examples, Rovanpera, who spent most of the day working on and explaining the no-bi, did her master’s thesis working at a site that was thousands of years old in Northern Minnesota. Ms. Martin worked for her thesis on a site in the Caribbean. Dr. Scott has worked on several excavations in Mexico. Thomas is a musician as well as an archeology technician and thus complements his scientific training with an artist’s intuition. Botanist Merced hails from Puerto Rico and was happy to help me improve my Spanish as we talked.

Jen Rovanpera with no-bi sign

Rovanpera with no-bi sign

Everyone who attended brought their own knowledge and experience. As the day passed, conversation buzzed at each of the booths stringing together pearls of wisdom with practical experience to create a friendly bond of understanding.

Speaking of stringing things together, every child who attended received a bead at each station. When they left they had a nice little bracelet symbolizing the fruit of their accomplishment.

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Filed under Archaeology, Pit River, Pit River Area History, Pit River Country Events, Pit River Tribe

Paul and Kathy Herington Share Memories of Burney in the 40’s, 50’s, and 60’s

Paul Herington moved to Burney as a teenager in 1948. He attended school in Burney and then at Fall River High School. After serving in the Navy he returned to Southern California where he met his wife Kathy. In 1966 they moved to Burney with their one-year-old son and lived here until 1968. After retiring from work in the Seattle area, they served a one-year mission for their church and then moved back to Burney.

In the first video, Paul talks about living in Burney as a teenager in the late 1940’s. In the second video, Paul recounts the filming of the movie The Treasure of Lost Canyon at Rising River in the early 50’s. Paul and Kathy also talk about the coming of the bowling alley and the Safeway to Burney in the 1960’s.

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Heritage Day at Burney Falls October 11

Photos by Conrad Skaggs

The 26th Annual Heritage Day will take place October 11 at McArthur-Burney Falls State Park from 12-4p.m. The event is sponsored by the McArthur-Burney Falls Interpretive Association in Partnership with CAL PARKS.

Hawk and Knife 2012

Hawk and Knife 2012

People will have the opportunity to remember and celebrate life in the 1870’s with educational fun for the whole family. Period costumes are welcome.

Late 1800’s attire

Late 1800’s attire

Activities will include pine bough doll-making, candle-making, bread-working, rope-making, blacksmithing, bead-working, and branding. Visitors will also be able to cut their own section of a log with an antique saw.

H-Day Beading

H-Day Beading

Fresh pressed apple cider will be served. The Burney Lions club will cater food. The Ol’ Time Fiddlers will be playing old folk and country tunes.

Ol' Time Fiddlers 2010

Ol’ Time Fiddlers 2010

Admission to the park as well as all of the Heritage Day activities are free. People are encouraged to car pool. This is a great opportunity to take in the beauty of Burney Falls and celebrate the historical heritage of Pit River Country.

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Shelly Warner at the Big Bend Community Center

I was down in Big Bend on September 12 to watch the kayakers and stopped by the community center. Shelley Warner kindly offered to give a little tour. They have fantastic pictures. Big Bend is really an awesome place and Shelley is an awesome person.

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Filed under Big Bend, Pit River Area History, Pit River Tribe

Roy Carver on fishing and old times

Roy asked me over again to talk some about fishing and how things have changed. He fixed a nice peach cobbler to share with Linda and I. After a while sitting in the kitchen, we moved to the living room for our conversation.

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Filed under Burney, Fishing, Pit River, Pit River Area History, Wildlife

Fishing McCloud Lower Falls

Driving up to Mt Shasta on August 26, I asked my daughter if she would like to see the Lower Falls of the McCloud River. She said she would, so we turned off of Hwy 89 onto the McCloud River Loop and headed down to the falls, also called Fowler Falls.

Fowler Falls

Fowler Falls

Oftentimes when I visit these falls in the summer I see lots of young people diving or jumping off of the rocks into the pool, but on this day I saw no swimmers. Instead, I witnessed four young men fishing from the rocks by the waterfall.

Fishing the falls

Fishing the falls

The McCloud River is the traditional home territory of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe. History of Lower FallsThe Wintu name for the falls is Nurunwitipum, which means “falls where the salmon turn back.” During the warm summer season, there was a village here and the Winnemem Wintu fished and hunted around the Lower Falls. The McCloud continued to be rich in salmon, steelhead and native wild trout until the closing of the gates of Shasta Dam in 1943.

Since that time, salmon have been unable to migrate into the Upper Sacramento, Pit, McCloud and other tributary streams, eliminating a large portion of the best salmon habitat in the Sacramento basin. Shasta Dam also flooded 90 percent of the traditional territory of the Winnemem Wintu people.

Shasta Dam has provided a lot of electricity, facilitated water management, and provided jobs and recreational opportunities for the people of California, but my heart and tears pour out for the native Wintu people.

Nowadays, the gorgeous area continues to be a popular site for hiking, swimming, camping, and fishing. The river is stocked with rainbow trout for the licensed fishing public. I watched the young boy diligently fishing from above the falls.

Boy fishing by Fowler Falls

Boy fishing by Fowler Falls

As time went by, one of the fishermen assumed a more relaxed posture.

A relaxed fishing style

A relaxed fishing style

Meanwhile above the falls, visitors were enjoying hiking, walking their dogs, taking pictures, meeting one another and conversing.

Humans and dogs above the falls

Humans and dogs meet above the fall

As I was taking pictures a local resident came up to watch, wondering whether or not I might toss him a little treat.

Feed me

Feed me

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Filed under Fishing, McCloud River, Shasta Dam, Waterfalls, Wintu

Ms. Colleen Courtright shares stories of Burney from the 1940’s

Colleen Courtright came to Burney in 1939 as a young girl. Her mother played piano at Pop’s Club and the The Rex Club.  During the time, she lived here, PG&E was developing the power stations along the Pit River. World War II broke out. Colleen tells the story of how Johnson Park got started and gives us a glimpse of life here in the 1940’s. After moving away for a time, she returned when her younger sister was born and worked at Scott Lumber Company.

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