- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park belongs to the California State Historic Park system, a part of the California Department of Parks and Recreation. Malakoff Diggins is the site of California's largest hydraulic mines. It is located 26 miles (42 km) north-east of Nevada City, California, in the Gold Rush country; eight miles (13 km) of the road are unpaved and winding.
The "canyon" is 7,000 feet (2,100 m) long, as much as 3,000 feet (910 m) wide, and nearly 600 feet (180 m) deep in places. Visitors can see huge cliffs carved by mighty streams of water, results of the hydraulic mining technique of washing away entire mountains of gravel to wash out the gold.
While beautiful in its own way, the Malakoff mine pit on the San Juan Ridge is a testimony to the avarice that was part of the California gold rush, and to one of the nation's first environmental protection measures.
In 1850 there was little gold left in streams. Miners began to discover gold in old riverbeds and on mountainsides high above the streams. In 1851, three miners headed northeast of what is now Nevada City for a less crowded area to prospect. One miner went back to town with a pocket full of gold nuggets for supplies and was followed back by many prospectors. These followers, however, did not find any gold and declared the area "Humbug", thus the stream was so named "Humbug Creek". Around 1852, settlers began to arrive in the area and the town of "Humbug" sprang up. These miners could not decide how to move the dirt to a place where there was water.
By 1853 miners invented a new method of mining called hydraulic mining. Dams were built high in the mountains. The water traveled from the reservoirs through a wooden canal called a flume that was up to forty-five miles long. The water ran swiftly to the canvas hoses and nozzles called monitors waiting in the old river beds. The miners would aim the monitors at the hillsides to wash the gravel into huge sluices. Over time the monitors became bigger and more powerful. Their force was so great they could toss a fifty pound rock like a cannonball or even kill a person. Over 300 Chinese worked on this project and two Chinese settlements existed in North Bloomfield.
By 1857 the town had grown to 500 residents. Locals felt the name "Humbug" was too undignified and renamed the town "Bloomfield", but California already had a town by this name so they renamed the town "North Bloomfield".
In the late 1860s, the towns of Marysville and Yuba City were buried under 25 feet (7.6 m) of mud and rock, and Sacramento flooded repeatedly. The farmers in the valleys complained about the tailings that flooded their land and ruined their crops. Thousands of acres of rich farmland and property were destroyed as a result of hydraulic mining.
By 1876, the mine was in full operation with 7 giant water cannons working around the clock. The town had grown to a population of around 2000 with various business and daily stage service.
In 1880, electric lights were installed in the mine and the world’s first long distance telephone line was developed to service the mine, passing through North Bloomfield as it made its way from French Corral to Bowman Lake.
By 1883, San Francisco Bay was estimated to be filling with silt at a rate of one foot per year. Debris, silt, and millions of gallons of water used daily by the mine caused extensive flooding, prompting Sacramento valley farmers to file the lawsuit Woodruff v. North Bloomfield Mining and Gravel Company. On January 7, 1884 Judge Lorenzo Sawyer declared hydraulic mining illegal.
At an altitude of 3,248 feet (990 m), Malakoff Diggins generally has warm, dry summers and cold, wet winters. Weather can change rapidly any time of the year. Rain and snow fall usually from October until April, though there may be thunderstorm activity in the summer as well.
The visitor center has exhibits depicting life in the old mining town of North Bloomfield, with a past population of 1,500 that served as a supply base for the Diggins. About a block of buildings, some dating to the 1850s, are restored or re-created in a Gold Rush style, including white picket fences. One of the buildings is used as park headquarters and there's a museum with old artifacts, and a model showing how hydraulics worked. In summer, park rangers lead tours through a general store, a furnished home, and a drugstore whose shelves are lined with bottles, boxes and vials of medicines. A church, schoolhouse and other buildings are also part of the tour.
Park facilities include hiking trails, picnic area, swimming and fishing, a campground and rustic cabins that can be rented by campers.
Humbug Days, including a parade and BBQ, is an annual event.
Hiking and trails
Visitors to the 3,000-acre (1,200 ha) state historic park can hike on miles of trails. The mining pit is unfenced and accessible from the road and pathways that surround it. Hikers can enter the 556-foot-long (169 m) Hiller Tunnel, through which water for the mining operation once flowed. The park also contains a 7,847-foot (2,392 m) bedrock tunnel that served as a drain. Other hiking includes:
- Rim Trail
- Diggins Loop Trail
- Blair Trail
- North Bloomfield Trail
- Huerne, P. (1877). Examination of the grand channel of auriferous gravel in the mining district of North Bloomfield, Nevada County, California. San Francisco: E. Bosqui & Co., printers.
- Wright, H. (1966). Some information and sources for the Fourier community of North Bloomfield, circa 1840.
- Jackson, W. T. (1967). Report on the Malakoff Mine, the North Bloomfield Mining District, and the town of North Bloomfield. Sacramento, Calif: Division of Beaches and Parks, Dept. of Parks and Recreation.
- California. (1979). Survey of cultural resources at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park. Sacramento, CA: State of California, Resources Agency, Dept. of Parks and Recreation.
- Senter, E. (1987). Erosion control at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park. Sacramento: State of California, Resources Agency, Dept. of Water Resources, Central District.
- Payen, L. A. (1989). Archaeological excavations at Shoot Hill, Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, Nevada County, California, 1987 field season. Riverside, Calif: University of California, Riverside, Dept. of Anthropology.
- Lindström, S. (1990). A historic sites archaeological survey of the main hydraulic pit basin, Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, North Bloomfield, Nevada County, California. Berkeley, Calif.?: S. Lindström?.
- Wyckoff, R. M. (1993). Hydraulicking North Bloomfield and the Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park. Nevada City, Calif. U.S.A.: R.M. Wyckoff.
Proposed for closure
Malakoff Diggins is one of the 48 California state parks proposed for closure in January 2008 by California's Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as part of a deficit reduction program since rescinded following public outcry.
- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park is at coordinates Coordinates:
- List of California state parks
- Photos, 1890
- Photos, present-day
- Photos, The Center for Land Use Interpretation
- ^ a b "Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, California State Parks, Beaches and Historic Parks". Wildernet.com. http://www.wildernet.com/pages/area.cfm?areaid=CASPMALDIGGIN&cu_id=157. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- ^ a b "North Bloomfield". Ghosttownexplorers.org. http://www.ghosttownexplorers.org/california/bloomfield/bloomfield.htm. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- ^ "Onsite Adventures - Malakoff". Museumca.org. http://www.museumca.org/goldrush/qtvr-malakoff.html. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- ^ "North Bloomfield, CA". Ghosttown.info. http://www.ghosttown.info/ca/northbloomfield/index.html. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- ^ "Travel - Malakoff Diggins is pure gold". Calgoldrush.com. http://www.calgoldrush.com/travel/malakoff.html. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- ^ http://www.auburnjournal.com/articles/2007/06/08/news/arts_and_entertainment/03t2djune8.txt
- ^ [dead link]
- ^ "EPA | Envirofacts Warehouse | SDWIS". Oaspub.epa.gov. 2006-06-28. http://oaspub.epa.gov/enviro/sdw_report_v2.first_table?pws_id=CA2910301&state=CA&source=Surface_water&population=2&sys_num=1. Retrieved 2009-10-18.
- ^ CBS5.com: List Of Calif. Parks To Close In Budget Proposal
- Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park Homepage
- Malakoff Diggins Park Association
- Keith Henderson's Malakoff Page
- MSN Map
Protected areas of California National Park System National Parks National Preserves National Monuments National Seashores National Historical Parks National Historic Sites National MemorialsPort Chicago Naval Magazine National Recreation Areas National Forests National Forests National Wilderness
Preservation SystemAgua Tibia · Ansel Adams · Bucks Lake · Caribou · Carson-Iceberg · Castle Crags · Cucamonga · Desolation · Dick Smith · Dinkey Lakes · Emigrant · Golden Trout · Hoover · Inyo Mountains · Ishi · Jennie Lakes · John Muir · Kaiser · Marble Mountain · Mokelumne · Mount Shasta Wilderness · North Fork · San Gabriel · Sanhedrin · San Jacinto · San Rafael · Sespe · Siskiyou · Snow Mountain · South Fork Eel River · South Sierra · South Warner · Thousand Lakes · Trinity Alps · Ventana · Yolla Bolly-Middle Eel · Yuki
Other State Forests National Wildlife RefugesAntioch Dunes · Bitter Creek · Blue Ridge · Butte Sink · Castle Rock · Clear Lake · Coachella Valley · Colusa · Delevan · Don Edwards San Francisco Bay · Ellicott Slough · Farallon · Guadalupe-Nipomo Dunes · Hopper Mountain · Humboldt Bay · Kern · Lower Klamath · Marin Islands · Merced · Modoc · Pixley · Sacramento · Sacramento River · Salinas River · San Diego Bay · San Diego · San Joaquin River · San Luis · San Pablo Bay · Seal Beach · Sonny Bono Salton Sea · Stone Lakes · Sutter · Tijuana Slough · Tule Lake State Wildlife Areas Wildlife AreasAntelope Valley · Ash Creek · Bass Hill · Battle Creek · Big Lagoon · Big Sandy · Biscar · Butte Valley · Buttermilk Country · Cache Creek · Camp Cady · Cantara/Ney Springs · Cedar Roughs · Cinder Flats · Collins Eddy · Colusa Bypass · Coon Hollow · Cottonwood Creek · Crescent City Marsh · Crocker Meadows · Daugherty Hill · Decker Island · Doyle · Dutch Flat · Eastlker River · Eel River · Elk Creek Wetlands · Elk River · Fay Slough · Feather River · Fitzhugh Creek · Fremont Weir · Grass Lake · Gray Lodge · Green Creek · Grizzly Island · Hallelujah Junction · Heenan Lake · Hill Slough · Hollenbeck Canyon · Honey Lake · Hope Valley · Horseshoe Ranch · Imperial · Indian Valley · Kelso Peak and Old Dad Mountains · Kinsman Flat · Knoxville · Laguna · Lake Berryessa · Lake Earl · Lake Sonoma · Little Panoche Reservoir · Los Banos · Lower Sherman Island · Mad River Slough · Marble Mountains · Mendota · Merrill's Landing · Miner Slough · Monache Meadows · Morro Bay · Moss Landing · Mouth of Cottonwood Creek · Napa-Sonoma Marshes · North Grasslands · O'Neill Forebay · Oroville · Petaluma Marsh · Pickel Meadow · Pine Creek · Point Edith · Putah Creek · Rector Reservoir · Red Lake · Rhode Island · Sacramento River · San Felipe Valley · San Jacinto · San Luis Obispo · San Luis Reservoir · San Pablo Bay · Santa Rosa · Shasta Valley · Silver Creek · Slinkard/Little Antelope · Smithneck Creek · South Fork · Spenceville · Surprise Valley · Sutter Bypass · Tehama · Truckee River · Upper Butte Basin · Volta · Warner Valley · Waukell Creek · West Hilmar · Westlker River · White Slough · Willow Creek · Yolo Bypass Ecological ReservesAlbany Mudflats · Alkali Sink · Allensworth · Atascadero Creek Marsh · Bair Island · Baldwin Lake · Batiquitos Lagoon · Blue Sky · Boden Canyon · Boggs Lake · Bolsa Chica · Bonny Doon · Buena Vista Lagoon · Butler Slough · Butte Creek Canyon · Butte Creek House · Buttonwillow · By Day Creek · Calhoun Cut · Canebrake · Carlsbad Highlands · Carmel Bay · Carrizo Canyon · Carrizo Plains · China Point · Clover Creek · Coachella Valley · Coal Canyon · Corte Madera Marsh · Crestridge · Dairy Mart Ponds · Dales Lake · Del Mar Landing · Eden Landing · Elkhorn Slough · Estelle Mountain · Fall River Mills · Fish Slough · Fremont Valley · Goleta Slough · Indian Joe Spring · Kaweah · Kerman · King Clone · Laguna Laurel · Loch Lomond Vernal Pool · Lokern · Magnesia Spring · Marin Islands · Mattole River · McGinty Mountain · Morro Dunes · Morro Rock · Napa River · North Table Mountain · Oasis Spring · Panoche Hills · Peytonia Slough · Pine Hill · Piute Creek · Pleasant Valley · Point Lobos · Rancho Jamul · Redwood Shores · River Springs Lakes · Saline Valley · San Dieguito Lagoon · San Elijo Lagoon · San Felipe Creek · San Joaquin River · Santa Rosa Plateau · Springville · Stone Corral · Sycamore Canyon · Sycuan Peak · Thomes Creek · Tomales Bay · Upper Newport Bay · Watsonville Slough · West Mojave Desert · Woodbridge · Yaudanchi Marine Protected AreasAbalone Cove · Agua Hedionda Lagoon · Albany Mudflats · Anacapa · Anacapa · Año Nuevo · Asilomar · Atascadero Beach · Bair Island · Batiquitos Lagoon · Big Creek · Big Creek · Big Sycamore Canyon · Bodega · Bolsa Chica · Buena Vista Lagoon · Cambria · Cardiff and San Elijo · Carmel Bay · Carmel Pinnacles · Carrington Point · Catalina Marine Science Center · Corte Madera Marsh · Crystal Cove · Dana Point · Del Mar Landing · Doheny · Doheny · Duxbury Reef · Edward F. Ricketts · Elkhorn Slough · Elkhorn Slough · Encinitas · Estero de Limantour · Fagan Marsh · Farallon Islands · Farnsworth Bank · Fort Ross · Gerstle Cove · Goleta Slough · Greyhound Rock · Gull Island · Harris Point · Heisler Park · Hopkins · Irvine Coast · James V. Fitzgerald · Judith Rock · Julia Pfeiffer Burns · La Jolla · Laguna Beach · Lovers Cove (Catalina Island) · Lovers Point · MacKerricher · Manchester and Arena Rock · Marin Islands · Mia J. Tegner · Moro Cojo Slough · Morro Bay · Morro Bay · Morro Beach · Natural Bridges · Niguel · Pacific Grove Marine Gardens · Painted Cave · Peytonia Slough · Piedras Blancas · Piedras Blancas · Pismo · Pismo-Oceano Beach · Point Buchon · Point Buchon · Point Cabrillo · Point Fermin · Point Lobos · Point Reyes Headlands · Point Sur · Point Sur · Portuguese Ledge · Punta Gorda · Redwood Shores · Refugio · Richardson Rock · Robert E. Badham · Robert W. Crown · Russian Gulch · Russian River · Salt Point · San Diego-Scripps · San Dieguito Lagoon · San Elijo Lagoon · Santa Barbara Island · Scorpion · Skunk Point · Sonoma Coast · Soquel Canyon · South Laguna Beach · South Point · Tomales Bay · Upper Newport Bay · Van Damme · Vandenberg · White Rock (Cambria) National Landscape Conservation System National Monuments National Conservation AreasCalifornia Desert · King Range Wilderness AreasArgus Range · Big Maria Mountains · Bigelow Cholla Garden · Bighorn Mountain · Black Mountain · Bright Star · Bristol Mountains · Cadiz Dunes · Carrizo Gorge · Chemehuevi Mountains · Chimney Peak · Chuckwalla Mountains · Chumash · Cleghorn Lakes · Clipper Mountain · Coso Range · Coyote Mountains · Darwin Falls · Dead Mountains · Dick Smith · El Paso Mountains · Fish Creek Mountains · Funeral Mountains · Golden Valley · Grass Valley · Headwaters Forest Reserve · Hollow Hills · Ibex · Indian Pass · Inyo Mountains · Jacumba · Kelso Dunes · Kiavah · Kingston Range · Little Chuckwalla Mountains · Little Picacho · Machesna Mountain · Matilija · Malpais Mesa · Manly Peak · Mecca Hills · Mesquite · Newberry Mountains · Nopah Range · North Algodones Dunes · North Mesquite Mountains · Old Woman Mountains · Orocopia Mountains · Otay Mountain · Owens Peak · Pahrump Valley · Palen/McCoy · Palo Verde Mountains · Picacho Peak · Piper Mountain · Piute Mountains · Red Buttes · Resting Spring Range · Rice Valley · Riverside Mountains · Rodman Mountains · Sacatar Trail · Saddle Peak Hills · San Gorgonio · Santa Lucia · Santa Rosa · Sawtooth Mountains · Sespe · Sheephole Valley · South Nopah Range · Stateline · Stepladder Mountains · Surprise Canyon · Sylvania Mountains · Trilobite · Turtle Mountains · Whipple Mountains · National Marine Sanctuaries National Estuarine Research Reserves University of California Natural Reserve SystemAño Nuevo Island · Bodega Marine · Box Springs · Boyd Deep Canyon Desert Research Center · Burns Piñon Ridge · Carpinteria Salt Marsh · Chickering American River · Coal Oil Point · Dawson Los Monos Canyon · Eagle Lake Field Station · Elliott Chaparral · Emerson Oaks · Fort Ord · Hastings · James San Jacinto Mountains · Jenny Pygmy Forest · Jepson Prairie · Kendall-Frost Mission Bay Marsh · Kenneth S. Norris Rancho Marino · Landels-Hill Big Creek · McLaughlin · Motte Rimrock · Quail Ridge · Sagehen Creek Field Station · San Joaquin Freshwater Marsh · Santa Cruz Island · Scripps Coastal · Sedgwick · Stebbins Cold Canyon · Steele Burnand Anza-Borrego · Stunt Ranch Santa Monica Mountains · Sweeney Granite Mountains Desert Research Center · Valentine Eastern Sierra · Younger Lagoon
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.