Opening of the Bigfoot Scenic Byway
By Linda Martin
April 1, 2001 - Hailed as "a new beginning for river communities", the Bigfoot Scenic Byway is now open, forging a special bond for river towns from Happy Camp to Willow Creek. Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce's celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony was a great success, with some of the most colorful and exciting citizens of the town participating, including Bigfoot himself.
The celebration kicks off a summer of community activity commemorating the 150th year since the time when John Titus and James Camp came to the banks of Indian Creek and named the town.
Debbie Wilkinson served as master of ceremonies for the day, giving a wonderful speech on behalf of the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce. This ribbon-cutting celebration was being simultaneously held in four communities: Willow Creek, Hoopa, Orleans, and of course in our home town of Happy Camp.
Harvey Shinar, Vice-President of the Karuk Tribal Council spoke on the history of Bigfoot sightings in our area. In 1852, he said, Bigfoot was sighted by a Chinese miner in the area of Thompson Creek. More recently, hair samples found nearby in Oregon were proven to be of unknown origin, possibly true evidence of Bigfoot's presence in our forests.
According to Shinar, the idea for the Bigfoot Scenic Byway came from the Hoopa Valley Tribe. They shared their inspiration with the US Forest Service and now the plan has come to fruition.
The speeches included a few words from Peg Boland of Yreka, Klamath Forest Supervisor in charge of completing the project. Afterwards, the ribbon cutting ceremony took place in the center of Highway 96 in front of the bank's parking lot, and a short parade was led by Bigfoot.
It is time to look for the new highway signs with Bigfoot's picture. Hopefully these will be somewhat easier to find than Bigfoot himself.
Tourists: to find the Bigfoot Scenic Byway, direct your cars to Highway 96, from Willow Creek to Happy Camp. When you get here, you can take the Jefferson Scenic Byway north to Oregon, or east to Yreka.
Providing entertainment, the Genuine Draft Band kept the crowd hopping most of the afternoon, their rock sound filling the entire town with music and excitement. (If only Titus and Camp could see us now!)
The children were entertained with contests: balloon shaving, an egg toss and a spoon race (running while holding an egg in a spoon). Winners for each contest were honored by presentations of appropriate plaques: the golden razor, the golden egg, and the golden spoon.
More information on the summer celebrations will be forthcoming. If you can't wait to hear more, try contacting the Happy Camp Chamber of Commerce.
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