Inyo County, California

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County of Inyo
—  County  —
Wildflowers blooming in Death Valley after an unusually wet winter

Seal
Location in the state of California
California's location in the United States
Coordinates: 36°35′N 117°25′W / 36.583°N 117.417°W / 36.583; -117.417Coordinates: 36°35′N 117°25′W / 36.583°N 117.417°W / 36.583; -117.417
Country United States
State California
RegionEastern California
Founded1866
Named for"dwelling place of the great spirit" in Mono language
County seatIndependence
Largest cityBishop
Government
 • Board of Supervisors
 • 34th State Assembly DistrictConnie Conway (R)
 • 18th State Senate DistrictJean Fuller (R)
 • 8th U.S. House DistrictPaul Cook (R)
Area
 • Total10,226.98 sq mi (26,487.8 km2)
 • Land10,203.10 sq mi (26,425.9 km2)
 • Water23.88 sq mi (61.8 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total18,546
 • DensityBad rounding here1.8/sq mi (Bad rounding here0.70/km2)
Time zonePacific Standard Time (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)
Websitewww.inyocounty.us
 
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County of Inyo
—  County  —
Wildflowers blooming in Death Valley after an unusually wet winter

Seal
Location in the state of California
California's location in the United States
Coordinates: 36°35′N 117°25′W / 36.583°N 117.417°W / 36.583; -117.417Coordinates: 36°35′N 117°25′W / 36.583°N 117.417°W / 36.583; -117.417
Country United States
State California
RegionEastern California
Founded1866
Named for"dwelling place of the great spirit" in Mono language
County seatIndependence
Largest cityBishop
Government
 • Board of Supervisors
 • 34th State Assembly DistrictConnie Conway (R)
 • 18th State Senate DistrictJean Fuller (R)
 • 8th U.S. House DistrictPaul Cook (R)
Area
 • Total10,226.98 sq mi (26,487.8 km2)
 • Land10,203.10 sq mi (26,425.9 km2)
 • Water23.88 sq mi (61.8 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total18,546
 • DensityBad rounding here1.8/sq mi (Bad rounding here0.70/km2)
Time zonePacific Standard Time (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)Pacific Daylight Time (UTC-7)
Websitewww.inyocounty.us

Inyo County is a county on the east side of the Sierra Nevada and southeast of Yosemite National Park in eastern-central part of the U.S. state of California. Inyo County includes the Owens River Valley; it is flanked to the west by the Sierra Mountains, and to the east by the White Mountains and the Inyo Mountains.

Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the Continental United States, is on Inyo County's western border (with Tulare County). The Badwater Basin, in Death Valley National Park, the lowest place in North America, is in eastern Inyo County. The two points are not visible from each other, but both can be observed from the Panamint Range on the west side of Death Valley, above the Panamint Valley.

The county seat is Independence. In 2010, Inyo County had a population of 18,546.

Contents

History

Present day Inyo county has been the historic homeland for thousands of years, of the Mono tribe, Coso people, Timbisha and Kawaiisu Native Americans. They spoke the Timbisha language and the Mono language; with Mono traditional narratives. The descendant of these ancestors continue to live in their traditional homelands in the Owens River Valley and in 'Death Valley National Park.

Inyo County was formed in 1866 from the territory of the unorganized Coso County created on April 4, 1864 from parts of Mono and Tulare Counties.[1] It acquired more territory from Mono County in 1870 and Kern County and San Bernardino County in 1872.

For many years it has been commonly believed that the county derived its name from the Mono tribe of Native Americans name for the mountains in its former homeland. Actually the name came to be thought of, mistakenly, as the name of the mountains to the east of the Owens Valley when the first whites there asked the local Paiutes what the name of the mountains to the east was.

The local Paiutes responded that that was the land of Inyo. They meant by this that those lands belonged to the Shoshone tribe headed by a man whose name was Inyo. Inyo was the name of the headman of the Panamint band of Paiute-Shoshone people at the time of contact when the first whites, the Manly expedition of 1849, wandered, lost, into Death Valley on their expedition to the gold fields of western California. The Owens Valley whites misunderstood the local Paiute and thought that Inyo was the name of the mountains, when actually it was the name of the chief, or headman, of the tribe that had those mountains as part of their homeland.

"Indian George," a fixture of many of the stories of early Death Valley days, was Inyo's son. Indian George's Shoshone name was "Bah-Vanda-Sa-Va-Nu-Kee," which means "The Boy Who Ran Away," a name he was given when he became terrified of the whites and their wheeled wagons and huge buffalo, none of which the Shoshone had ever seen before when they came wandering down Furnace Creek Wash in December 1849. In 1940, when Bah-vanda was around 100 years old, J.C. Boyles, a Panamint Shoshone who had become educated, came back to the Panamint valley and interviewed Bah-Vanda at length about the early days of his life, including the events of 1849, and it is in this interview that Bah-vanda refers to his father, Inyo. [The Desert Magazine, February 1940]

In order to provide water needs for the growing City of Los Angeles, water was diverted from the Owens River into the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913. The Owens River Valley cultures and environments changed substantially. From the 1910s to 1930s the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power purchased much of the valley for water rights and control. In 1941 the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power extended the Los Angeles Aqueduct system further upriver into the Mono Basin.

Natural history

Inyo County is host to a number of natural superlatives. Among them are:

Owens Valley and the Sierra Escarpment.

Geography

According to the 2000 census, the county has a total area of 10,226.98 square miles (26,487.8 km2), of which 10,203.10 square miles (26,425.9 km2) (or 99.77%) is land and 23.88 square miles (61.8 km2) (or 0.23%) is water.[2] It is the second-largest in California and the tenth-largest in the nation (excluding boroughs and census areas in Alaska).

Cities and towns

Adjacent counties

photo of Inyo County Court House
The Inyo County Court House in Independence

National protected areas

There are 22 official wilderness areas in Inyo County that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. This is the second-largest number of any county, exceeded only by San Bernardino County's 35 wilderness areas. Most of these are managed solely by the Bureau of Land Management, but four are integral components of Death Valley National Park or Inyo National Forest, and are thus managed by either the National Park Service or the Forest Service. Some of these wilderness areas also extend into neighboring counties.

Except as noted, the wilderness areas are managed solely by the Bureau of Land Management, and lie entirely within Inyo County:

Transportation Infrastructure

Major highways

Public transportation

Eastern Sierra Transit Authority operates intercity bus service along U.S. 395, as well as local services in Bishop. Service extends south to Ridgecrest (Kern County) and north to Reno, Nevada.

Airports

Bishop Airport, Independence Airport, Lone Pine Airport and Shoshone Airport are general aviation airports located near their respective cities. Stovepipe Wells Airport and Furnace Creek Airport are located in Death Valley National Park.

Demographics

2010

The 2010 United States Census reported that Inyo County had a population of 18,546. The racial makeup of Inyo County was 13,741 (74.1%) White, 109 (0.6%) African American, 2,121 (11.4%) Native American, 243 (1.3%) Asian, 16 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 1,676 (9.0%) from other races, and 640 (3.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3,597 persons (19.4%).[3]

Population reported at 2010 United States Census
The County
Total
Population
White
African
American
Native
American
Asian
Pacific
Islander
other
races
two or
more races
Hispanic
or Latino
(of any race)
Inyo County18,54613,7411092,121243161,6766403,597
Incorporated
city
Total
Population
White
African
American
Native
American
Asian
Pacific
Islander
other
races
two or
more races
Hispanic
or Latino
(of any race)
Bishop3,8792,86722916117231141,200
Census-designated
place
Total
Population
White
African
American
Native
American
Asian
Pacific
Islander
other
races
two or
more races
Hispanic
or Latino
(of any race)
Big Pine1,7561,19234381315257182
Cartago92630700111116
Darwin43380211012
Dixon Lane-Meadow Creek2,6452,28763247321555493
Furnace Creek24601600020
Homewood Canyon44370000526
Independence66949369881283593
Keeler66630020016
Lone Pine2,0351,334620517137696694
Mesa2512200103014426
Olancha192133048038947
Pearsonville17160000101
Round Valley435333382130271369
Shoshone31281100010
Tecopa15011918201198
Trona18180000000
Valley Wells000000000
West Bishop2,6072,37310284517278261
Wilkerson5635240135151553
Unincorporated
communities
Total
Population
White
African
American
Native
American
Asian
Pacific
Islander
other
races
two or
more races
Hispanic
or Latino
(of any race)
All others not CDPs (combined)3,0291,597161,147286108127440

2000

Historical populations
CensusPop.
18701,956
18802,92849.7%
18903,54421.0%
19004,37723.5%
19106,97459.3%
19207,0310.8%
19306,555−6.8%
19407,62516.3%
195011,65852.9%
196011,6840.2%
197015,57133.3%
198017,89514.9%
199018,2812.2%
200017,945−1.8%
201018,5463.3%
[4][5][6]

At the 2000 census[7], there were 17,945 people, 7,703 households and 4,937 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 per square mile (1/km²). There were 9,042 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile (0/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 80.1% White, 0.2% Black or African American, 10.0% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.6% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. 12.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 16.4% were of German, 12.2% English, 10.6% Irish and 5.0% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 89.2% spoke English and 9.3% Spanish as their first language.

There were 7,703 households of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.88.

24.4% of the population were under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 23.4% from 25 to 44, 27.3% from 45 to 64, and 19.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 95.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.9 males.

The median household income was $35,006 and the median family income was $44,970. Males had a median income of $37,270 versus $25,549 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,639. About 9.3% of families and 12.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.0% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.

Politics

Inyo County vote
by party in presidential elections
YearGOPDEMOthers
200853.1% 4,52343.9% 3,7432.9% 243
200459.1% 5,09138.9% 3,3502.0% 175
200060.3% 4,71333.9% 2,6525.8% 450
199651.8% 3,92434.4% 2,60113.8% 1,044
199243.6% 3,68931.8% 2,69524.6% 2,080
198864.3% 5,04233.9% 2,6531.8% 142
198470.3% 5,86328.3% 2,3601.4% 115
198064.8% 5,20125.9% 2,0809.3% 746
197658.2% 3,90539.3% 2,6352.5% 166
197268.1% 4,87328.0% 2,0063.9% 280
196854.5% 3,64134.6% 2,31411.0% 732
196446.5% 2,75153.4% 3,1610.1% 3
196054.7% 2,96245.1% 2,4430.3% 15
195666.2% 3,52433.5% 1,7820.3% 18
195268.9% 3,81930.6% 1,6980.5% 28
194855.8% 2,13540.2% 1,5394.0% 153
194450.6% 1,69949.1% 1,6470.3% 9
194044.5% 1,48354.7% 1,8200.8% 27
193636.5% 91262.4% 1,5601.2% 29
193230.9% 69864.6% 1,4594.5% 101
192857.4% 1,20641.0% 8611.7% 35
192447.5% 95012.8% 25639.7% 793
192057.2% 1,19532.7% 6828.8% 212
Election results from statewide races
YearOfficeResults
2010GovernorWhitman 48.9 - 43.2%
Lieutenant GovernorMaldonado 50.5 - 35.5%
Secretary of StateDunn 51.0 - 37.9%
ControllerStrickland 45.6 - 42.7%
TreasurerWalters 47.9 - 43.1%
Attorney GeneralCooley 56.4 - 31.4%
Insurance CommissionerVillines 51.1 - 34.1%

Inyo is a strongly Republican county in Presidential and congressional elections. The last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Lyndon Johnson in 1964.

In the state legislature, Inyo is part of the 34th Assembly district, which is held by Republican Connie Conway, and the 18th Senate district, which is held by Republican Jean Fuller. Federally, the county is part of California's 8th congressional district, which is held by Republican Paul Cook.

On November 4, 2008, Inyo County voted 60.4% for Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.

Education

School districts in Inyo County are:

Notable locations

Lakes

  • Weir Lake
  • Camp Lake
  • Inconsolable Lake
  • Cottonwood Lakes





Parks and open space





Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is a mostly arid United States National Park located east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in southern Inyo County and northern San Bernardino County in California, with a small extension into southwestern Nye County and extreme southern Esmeralda County in Nevada. In addition, there is an exclave (Devil's Hole) in southern Nye County. The park covers 5,262 square miles (13,630 km2), encompassing Saline Valley, a large part of Panamint Valley, almost all of Death Valley, and parts of several mountain ranges.[8] Death Valley National Monument was proclaimed in 1933, placing the area under federal protection. In 1994, the monument was redesignated a national park, as well as being substantially expanded to include Saline and Eureka Valleys.[8]

It is the hottest and driest of the national parks in the United States. It also features the second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere and the lowest point in North America at Badwater, which is 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. It is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment. Some examples include Creosote Bush, Bighorn Sheep, Coyote, and the Death Valley Pupfish, a survivor of much wetter times. Approximately 95% of the park is designated as wilderness.[9] Death Valley National Park is visited annually by more than 770,000 visitors who come to enjoy its diverse geologic features, desert wildlife, historic sites, scenery, clear night skies and the solitude of the extreme desert environment.

See also

References

  1. ^ California, Theodore Henry Hittell, '''The general laws of the State of California, from 1850 to 1864''', H.H. Bancroft, San Francisco, 1865. p.190. Books.google.com. http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA190&lpg=PA186&dq=unorganized+%22Coso+%22&sig=wfIuzfhEgKgT4hlPxk4xC6GEcfs&ei=fG0gS82kEJPQtgOEubGQBQ&ct=result&id=99Y3AAAAIAAJ&ots=CmNPFn8eUm#v=onepage&q=unorganized%20%22Coso%20%22&f=false. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  2. ^ "Census 2000 U.S. Gazetteer Files: Counties". United States Census. http://www.census.gov/tiger/tms/gazetteer/county2k.txt. Retrieved 2011-02-13.
  3. ^ "2010 Census P.L. 94-171 Summary File Data". United States Census Bureau. http://www2.census.gov/census_2010/01-Redistricting_File--PL_94-171/California/.
  4. ^ http://www.census.gov/population/www/censusdata/cencounts/files/ca190090.txt
  5. ^ "American FactFinder". Factfinder2.census.gov. http://factfinder2.census.gov. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  6. ^ "University of Virginia Library". Mapserver.lib.virginia.edu. http://mapserver.lib.virginia.edu/. Retrieved 2011-11-05.
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. http://factfinder.census.gov. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  8. ^ a b National Park Index (2001–2003), p. 26
  9. ^ NPS website, "Backcountry Roads"

External links