Klamath River, Northern California - Gold Prospecting in CA, and Dam Removal
Where is the Klamath River?
The Klamath River is the northernmost river in California. It flows 260 miles from Klamath Falls in South-East Oregon, across the top of California from Dorris to Hornbrook, from Horse Creek to Happy Camp, and on to the Pacific Ocean. It empties into the sea north of Eureka, California.
The Klamath is a swiftly flowing, deep river that carved a path through the rocky, inhospitable Klamath-Siskiyou Mountains. These mountains are on the southern edge of the Cascade Range.
Note: The photographs on this page are mine. I lived in Happy Camp from 2000-2013.
The Klamath River in Northern California
Klamath River history
Original inhabitants of the Klamath River area were the Klamaths, Shastas, Karuks, and Yuroks. Karuks were "Upriver People" and Yuroks were "Downriver People". The Karuk word for the Klamath River is Ishkeesh; the Klamaths called it Koke.
Gold prospectors arrived in the Klamath River Valley in the 1850s, traveling up the river from the coast until they reached the Happy Camp area.
Highway 96 is the Klamath River Highway
Recreation on the Klamath River
The Klamath River is popular for river rafting, kayaking, fishing, and recreational gold mining.
Rafting on the Klamath River: passing through Wingate
Where to find news about Happy Camp, CA
- Happy Camp News - Online News for the Klamath River Valley
Happy Camp News is an online news source for Happy Camp, California, a small town of 1200 people in the center of the Klamath National Forest in Northern California.
Klamath River controversies
In recent years the communities along the Klamath River have been deeply divided over two major issues:
1) Dam removals east of Interstate 5
2) Gold dredging banned as of 2009
These issues have caused harsh feelings pitting environmentalists and Karuks (Native Americans) against farmers and gold prospectors.
Klamath River's Iron Gate Dam, completed in 1962, is now one of four dams expected to be torn down after 2020.
Klamath River - Issue #1: Removal of four hydroelectric dams
Klamath River dam removal
- National Geographic Magazine: Reuniting a River
After fighting for years over its water, farmers, Indians, and fishermen are joining forces to let the troubled Klamath River run wild again.
Editorial note about these Klamath River videos...
When looking for videos about the dam removal issue, I couldn't find anything against dam removal! Therefore you're seeing only the pro-dam removal video.
Conversely, when looking for videos about the gold dredging issue, I couldn't find videos in favor of ending dredging, therefore you will see, below, only a couple videos in favor of dredging.
I'd like to cover both sides of each issue. If you have links to videos explaining the opposition to each of these issues please leave your links in the comment area below.
Klamath River - Issue #2: Gold Dredging is now banned in California due to lawsuits filed by environmentalists concerned about the Klamath River
What gold dredging was like before the ban in 2009
For more information about Klamath River prospecting
- The New 49'ers Gold Prospecting Club
Gold prospecting,gold panning, metal detecting, highbanking - all still done at the Klamath River. Only dredging is now banned. A word of caution - you're unlikely to become rich while gold prospecting at the Klamath. Gold flakes are easy to find.
Fish found in the Klamath River
Klamath River fish include:
Rainbow trout, Redband trout, Steelhead trout, Coastal cutthroat trout, Bull trout
Colo salmon, Chinook salmon (Spring Chinook and Fall Chinook),
Chum salmon, Pink salmon - both now extinct in the Klamath
Green sturgeon, White sturgeon
River lamprey, Pacific lamprey
Eulachon (Candle Fish) - extinct in the Klamath