Siskiyou County is located in inland northern California, adjacent to the Oregon border. Greater than 60% of the land within the County is currently managed by agencies of the Federal and State governments. These include: The U.S.D.A. Forest Service; Bureau of Land Management; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and California Department of Fish and Game. These lands are maintained in various National Forests; Parks; Wilderness Areas; National Grasslands; National Wildlife Refuges; and State Wildlife Areas.
Next to the Appalachian region, Siskiyou County is one of the most ecologically diverse regions in the world. It sites the “meeting” of several western mountain ranges and the transitional mixing of various habitat types. Geographically, it has considerable vertical variance in elevation, hydrological and soil conditions. Portions of the County are heavily influenced by volcanic forces. Siskiyou County also has several areas that were unaffected by ancient glacial flooding. Siskiyou County is the fifth largest county by area and the population as of 1998 was 44,700 which is roughly a 10,000 population increase since 1970.
Yreka is the Siskiyou County seat which was created March 22, 1852, and named after the mountain range. The origin of the word Siskiyou is not known. One version is that it is the Chinook Indian word for “bob-tailed horse.” Another version, given in an argument before the state Senate in 1852, is that the French name Six Cailloux, meaning “six-stone,” was given to a ford on the Umpqua River by Michel La Frambeau and a party of Hudson’s Bay company trappers in 1832, because six large stones or rocks lay in the river where they crossed. Still others attribute the name to a local tribe of Indians.