Chapter 13 - Cultural Regions

Within the United States, Jefferson is located in the northwest region. People throughout the northwest, including Jefferson, tend to be more concerned about environmental issues and take great pride in their own relatively undamaged environment. The environmental quality of the region also attracts those who value nature from across the county.
Being half way between the cities of San Fransisco and Portland, Jefferson gets a large amount of north-south traffic. This brings much needed tourism, but also influences the culture of the area. There are local concentrations of hippies, especially in Jackson County and Humboldt County. There are also large numbers of backwoodsfolk, hillbillies, yokels, and rednecks. While certain areas have developed and progressed culturally, much of Jefferson remains sparsely inhabited, poor, and culturally dated.

Above: typical hippie van, Humboldt County

Chapter 12 - Human Impact on the Environment

The most significant environmental impacts in Jefferson caused by humans are habitat destruction, pollution, and water use.

Habitat Destruction:
While most of Jefferson is rural and mountainous, some areas are developed. Cities like Chico, Eureka, and Medford all require large areas of land, and destroy natural habitats in and around their locations. The ecological footprints of these cities combined with the rural settlements cause further environmental impacts to the area in the forms of pollution and waste. Economic prosperity of the region depends largely on resource extraction, particularly logging. This, of course, leads to losses in habitat as well.

Water use also has a significant impact on the environment in Jefferson. The damming of major rivers has led to a decrease in salmon population, and the transportation of water to Los Angeles via aqueducts has left parts of Jefferson with less water than has been available historically.

Chapter 11 - Recreational Resources

Most recreational resources in Jefferson utilize the natural beauty of the area. Below of pictures and descriptions of some of these recreational resources.

This is a photo of one of the many human-powered vehicles celebrated at the World Grand Championship Kinetic Sculpture race in Arcata, California. Most vehicles are modified bicycles with paper mache sculptures on/around them. The track is 41 miles and the race lasts 3 days. Sections of the track cross large bodies of water, requiring kinetic sculptures be amphibious.

This is an image of a hiking trail in the Trinity Alps, in central Jefferson. This area spreads over 517,000 acres, making it the second largest wilderness area in California, and has trails for beginners as well as more experienced hikers. There are many hiking trails in Jefferson, as much of its territory is mountainous and rural.

This is the Lost Coast, another hiking destination. The Lost Coast stretches along an undeveloped Northern Californias coastline, isolated from any state or county roadway. Due to the nature of the rough terrain in this area, no roads could be built that would justify their costs, which has resulted in a relatively undisturbed coastline popular among hikers and ocean lovers.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival draws tourists to Ashland, Oregon, and is the largest recreational resource based on the performing arts in the region. Eleven shows are performed on three different stages in February and October.

River rafting is popular along the Rogue River, portions of which contains grade IV rapids but is generally still accessible to less experienced rafters. Jet boats are also popular along the rogue river, carrying 114,000 people every year along 104 miles of the river.

Chapter 10 - Neighborhoods

Jefferson state is a large, relatively rural region. This makes discussing the neighborhood structures more difficult than in an urban area with more defined social stratification because the majority of the population lives in farm business-related towns and small towns. In addition, the only easily available demographic data is not detailed enough to describe any high resolution neighborhood structure.

I will focus on a single area around Medford and Ashland. Click the images below for larger versions.

This map reveals the population density in Ashland, Medford, and the surrounding areas. Notice the higher population densities in the urban downtown areas of Medford and Ashland, and less population density in the surrounding area.

This map reveals the age distribution in and around Medford and Ashland. Notice the disproportionate percentage of younger people in the urban, densely populated areas and the older people further out.

This map reveals the percentage of the population with a college education. Notice the concentration in Ashland. Keep in mind there is a popular university in Ashland, which likely influenced this data.

This map reveals the distribution of married couples. Notice the lower concentration of married couples who live in the urban downtown areas of Medford and Ashland.

This map reveals the distribution of people who rent their houses instead of owning them. Notice the high concentration of renters in the urban areas of Medford and Ashland.

This data coincides with the neighborhood trends we read about in our book. Clearly, due to the differences in distribution of things like married couples, age, population, and other factors, there is some segregation in this area. It is likely (although I don't have the actual data) that within the urbanized areas of Medford and Ashland are urban workers, upscale urbanites, and some middle class suburbs. Farther from the urbanized areas are likely more small towners engaged in farm business-related activities. Due to the fact that the population has not grown beyond the physical limits of this region, the suburban/urban border is not as well defined as in higher populated areas. Also, not all neighborhood classifications are found in cities with smaller populations.

Chapter 9 - Cities

Below I will describe a few of the more notable cities in Jefferson state

Ashland (15 miles north of the California border on I-5)

-An increase in older people choosing the Rogue Valley as their retirement destination has increased housing prices in the area, especially in Ashland. As a result, lower income families have had to relocate outside of Ashland, often moving to nearby Medford (located just northwest of Ashland). The dramatic demographic changes are reflected by the changes in public infrastructure, especially among merging school districts for younger children caused by declining numbers of young people. This demographic change influences the cultural characteristics of the city as well. Some argue the city is becoming too"hoity toity" as home prices rise and only the wealthy can remain as city residents.
-Ashland depends heavily on tourism for its economic success. Relatively large numbers of hotels, motels, restaurants, and other tourist based businesses survive on the revenue generated from tourists that come from across the country, especially between the months of February and October. During this time, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival attracts thousands of tourists to Ashland. For more information about the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, see Chapter 11: Recreational Resources.

Klamath Falls

Home to approximately 42,000 people (including the suburbs), Klamath Falls is located in Klamath County, Oregon. The surrounding area is characterized by its high desert landscape and naturally occurring geothermal springs, which have been used as an energy source to heat homes.


Originally a gold-rush boomtown, Yreka is located in one of the northernmost counties in California (Siskiyou County). Today, the culture of this place is still influenced by the distant gold-rush of the mid-1800's. The local high schools mascot is a gold miner, and within the city is a gold-mining museum.

The naming of Yreka is shrouded in myth. Some say the name came from a Native American word meaning "North mountain" (describing nearby Mt. Shasta). The following passage is from Mark Twains autobiography describes one version of how Yreka got its name:

"Harte had arrived in California in the fifties, twenty-three or twenty-four years old, and had wandered up into the surface diggings of the camp at Yreka, a place which had acquired its mysterious name--when in its first days it much needed a name--through an accident. There was a bakeshop with a canvas sign which had not het been put up but had been painted and stretched to try in such a way that the word BAKERY, all but the B, showed through and was reversed. A stranger read it wrong end first, YREKA, and supposed that that was the name of the camp. The campers were satisfied with it and adopted it."


Eureka is located in Humboldt County in northern California. This city is located near humboldt bay and is famous for easy access to beaches, nearby redwood forests, and high quality marijuana. Approximately 42,000 people live in the Eureka Micropolitan Area, which includes the smaller towns of Fortuna and Arcata (home of Humboldt Sate University).

This city has historically been sustained economically through the timber, fishing, and gold-mining industries. As the economy developed and timber, fish, and gold became both less abundant and legally protected, other industries became more popular. These industries include shipping, boating, and recently, tourism.

Old Town, found within the city of Eureka, is one of the nations best preserved Victorian era districts, and acts as both a commercial district as well as a popular tourist attraction.


Home to approximately 104,300 people, Redding is located where I-5 and the Sacramento River meet. In California, Redding is the largest city north of Sacramento. The climate is relatively extreme, with cold, wet winters and hot, dry summers.

Within the city of redding is the 300 acre Turtle Bay Exploration Park, which exhibits features about forestry, horticulture, and other natural sciences. Redding is a popular tourist stop, due to
both its convenient location and its many tourist attractions.

Chapter 8 - Transportation and communication systems

The most notable transportation systems are listed below:

The main transportation artery within Jefferson State is the I-5 highway. This highway is used for most north south travel on the west coast, and extends from southern California to Washington. I-5 provides an important source of income from interstate travelers passing through Jefferson, and a number of key locations are found along the route including Redding, Mt. Shasta, Yreka, Ashland, Medford, and grants pass. The image below was taken near Ashland and shows the typical scenery along I-5.

Highway 101 winds along the coast, occasionally passing through redwood forests like in the image below.

Highway 140 begins just south of Ashland, Oregon and extends east. It connects to a highway hub near Klamath Falls. The image below shows typical scenery along Highway 140, and was taken near Yosemite National Park.

The largest airport in the region is the Rogue Valley Internaional Airport in Medford, Oregon. Other airports include the Klamath Falls International Airport, Siskiyou County Airports, Arcata Eureka Airport, and the Redding Airport.

Image sources:

Chapter 7 - Industrial and commercial organization

There is fairly little industrialization and commercial development in Jefferson State. This area is economically depressed and relatively sparsely populated, and relies on natural resource extraction and tourism for the little income it receives.

Chapter 6 - Agriculture, Gathering, and Extractive Industries

Extractive industries are important to the economic prosperity of Jefferson State.

The logging industry have fueled the development of many communities in Jefferson, and continue to play an integral part in the economic prosperity of the region. Redwood trees were logged heavily, and thus have had their original extent reduced. Today most redwood forests are protected in national parks.

The fishing industry has historically been prosperous (though it has been steadily declining due to overfishing). Arctic , nutrient rich waters flow along the coast, creating prime conditions for a thriving aquatic ecosystem. Rivers also provide some fish resources, particularly salmon. Unfortunately, this resource is also declining dwindling due to dams.

Oregon produces 95% of its own cranberries as well as 5% of the national supply of cranberries in the city of Bandon. The annual cranberry festival also attracts tourists to the area, which is often called "Bandon by the Sea" because of its oceanside location.

Gold extraction is all but gone now, except for the occasional hobby gold panner. The gold rush is, however, still an important economic asset, though not so much as the extraction of gold itself as the lore it provides for the tourist industry. Tourism also depends heavily on the natural beauty of the area, especially along the coast and in the trinity alps region.

Large scale farms in Jefferson tend to suffer from labor shortages. This has been exacerbated recently with tighter border controls, and is one of the reasons most farms in the area focus on organic production and local distribution. Small scale farms require less labor and are able to produce higher quality goods, but suffer from higher costs.

Most extracting activities, including forestry, fishing, hunting, and mining take place in eastern counties, such as Modoc county, Lake county, and Lassen county.

image sources:

Chapter 5 - Political Geography

The political attitudes of the residents of Jefferson tend to lean generally towards libertarianism. Mistrust of government runs deep here, where there has historically been conflict between the interests of the government and the people. While the historical cause behind these feelings is no longer as relevant today as it once was, the general public is wary of big government. Another factor likely contributing to this outlook are the rural conditions of Jefferson State.

The ratio of registered democrats to republicans is relatively even, however there are local concentrations of both groups. Universities, such as Southern Oregon University and Humboldt State University, are hotspots of liberal activity. These universities tend to attract more environmentally oriented students due to a focus on environmental topics within the universities.

Other regions, such as Siskiyou County, lean more republican in political nature.

Chapter 4 - Population Patterns

For detailed demographic data Click Here.

Basic population information:
Total population: 1,323,140
Population density (per Sq. mile): 20.3
Median Age: 39
Race: 83.7% white, 8.4% hispanic, 7.9% other.

Jeffersons population density is relatively low - 20.3 people per sq. mile (compared to 217.2 people per sq. mile in the state of California). There is a wide variety of political affiliation, with active groups of both liberals and conservatives. However, similar to those living there during earlier periods, most people of Jefferson state share a negative additude towards government.

A lack of profitable industry is partly responsible for the economic stagnation of this area. Historically, Jeffersonians relied on the timber and fish industries for economic growth, but as these natural resources became less available (due to increased protection and a dwindling supply), the economic prosperity of the region decreased. This is one of the many contributing factor to the infamous prevelence of marijuana production in Jefferson.

Chapter 3 - Settlement

Early settlement of the Jefferson state area dates back as far as 10,000 years ago. These early inhabitants were the ancestors of Native American tribes such as the Yurok, Klamath, Modoc, and Yahooski. These were among the last Native Americans to rebel against American settlers - the final battle taking place during the Modoc War in the early 1870's.

These tribes exist today, in their modern forms, and struggle with state and local governments over natural resource policies, especially water management. The image on the right (taken by patrick mccully) shows members of the Yurok tribe protesting building dams on the Klamath river.

The Jefferson region was among the last places in the continental US to be explored by Europeans and Americans. Not until the 1820's was this region formally explored, and settlement didn't begin until gold was discovered in present day Yreka in 1851. During this time, the gold rush was already well under way, though focused further south in california. The discovery of gold in the Jefferson area caused thousands of gold prospectors in central california to migrate north. Most gold prospectors left the area after the gold rush ended, leaving behind them ghost towns, some of which still remain today.

The Jefferson region is rich with natural resources such as timber and fish, and these became the primary means of income for the communities that began populating the area after the gold rush ended.

However, the distribution of transportation infrastructure funding was not even, and the Jefferson region received very little funding for roads and bridges. This caused discontent among the people who lived in Jefferson. Transportation infrastructure was essential to the areas economic prosperity - without it, transporting the raw materials extracted from the area was impossible. This became the root cause of the proposal of a state of Jefferson. Jeffersonians felt as though they were being double crossed by their respective state governments because the rural to urban flow of money and resources was, in their view, unfair. They felt angry that their taxes did not fund their own public infrastructure, and were instead being used to further develop state capitols Sacramento and Salem.

American involvement in WWII starting in 1941 ended the growing campaign to establish Jefferson as its own state.

The Jefferson flag - the two 'X's represent being double crossed by state governments. (

Chapter 2 - Physical Features

Jefferson is located in a rugged area - the cascade and klamath mountain ranges as well as Klamath and Rogue river valleys effectively isolate it from the surrounding regions. Its large physical distance to other populated areas also isolates Jefferson. This isolation has played a crucial role in the regions history and development, and is described in the settlement section of this blog.

Below are some of the main physical features of Jefferson.

The coastal area

The coastal area can be classified as marine west coast (humid, with westerly winds, high precipitation, moderate temperature, and predictable fog). The coast itself is characterized by rocky terrain, steep cliffs, and cold, turbulent water.

The Southern Cascades

The Southern Cascades extend up from northern California to British Columbia. The Cascades are a portion of the Pacific Ring of Fire, so volcanic activity is common (Mt. Saint Helens in 1921, Lassen Peak in 1980). Mt. Shasta is highest mountain in Jefferson state, reaching 14,179 FT (4,322 M), and is dormant. Soils include Alfisols, Andisols, Inceptisols, and Ultisols.

The Klamath Mountains

The Klamath Mountains are located west of the Cascade Range and extend as high as 9,002 FT (2,744 M) at Thompson Peak. These areas tend to have cold winters with heavy snowfall followed by warm summers with little rainfall. This climate, along with the highly diverse geology (large areas of serpentine and marble) allows for some unique flora. Endemic species such as Lawson's Cypress (Chamaecyparis lawsoniana), Foxtail Pine (Pinus balfouriana), Brewer's Spruce (Picea breweriana) and Kalmiopsis (Kalmiopsis leachiana), are examples of species that have adapted to living only in the conditions that the Klamath Mountains help provide. Soil types include Alfisols, Entisols, Inceptisols, and Ultisols.

The Modoc Plateau

The Modoc Plateau is a strange, sometimes twisted looking landscape which includes features such as lava tube caves, ice caves, glass flows, lava flows, meadows, ponds, and cinder cones. Located in the southeastern part of Jefferson (north east California), the Modoc Plateau has seasonal lakes and is home to large herds of mule deer, rocky mountain elk, and wild horses. The climate in semiarid - it is in the rain shadow of the Cascades to its immediate west. Soil types include Alfisols, Andisols, Aridisols, Entisols, Inceptisols, Mollisols, and Vertisols.

The Rogue River

The Rogue River is of the the regions major waterways. Originating high in the Cascades near Crater Lake, the Rogue River winds its way through the mountains towards the Pacific Ocean.

The Klamath River

The Klamath River originates in southern Oregon near the city of Klamath Falls. This river flows through the Cascade Range to the Pacific Ocean, and provides a perfect habitat for Chinook salmon, Coho salmon, steelhead trout, and rainbow trout. However, due to the construction of six separate dams and the diversion of much of the water for human use, fish populations have declined drastically.

Chapter 1 - Introduction

Throughout the history of the United States there have been a number of proposed additional states, such as the state of Franklin located in Tennessee, the state of Lincoln located in Idaho and Washington, and the focus of this assignment, the state of Jefferson located in northern California and southern Oregon. These regions often have largely separate economies, unique cultures, or different environments from the rest of their state. However, because succession from a state requires approval of both Congress and the legislatures of all the states involved, none of these states were admitted into the union.

Today, the Jefferson state region includes the following counties: Coos, Douglas, Klamath, Lake, Curry, Jackson, Del Norte, Siskiyou, Modoc, Eureka, Trinity, Shasta, Lassen, Pllumas, Tehama, Butte, Glenn, and Mendocino. The image below shows the region in red.

The state of Jefferson (named after Thomas Jefferson), while not officially recognized, can still be used to identify the area as a region. This region is highly independent from California and Oregon, with its own individual history, culture, problems, and environment.