BRIEF NO. 17
Headwaters of the Sacramento River
Project
Non-Swimming Holes
Location
Mt. Shasta, CA
Subject
Headwaters of the Sacramento River
Headwaters of the Sacramento River
Words and photograph by Daniel Wakefield Pasley.

THE SACRAMENTO, CALIFORNIA’S largest river1130,000 cfs annually, finds its origins in Northern California between the Coastal and Klamath mountain ranges to the west, and the Cascade and Sierra Nevada ranges to the east. More importantly and more specifically the Sacramento springs into existence from a wet hole in a City Park at the base of a stratovolcano in the town of Mt. Shasta. 

 

There is a playground, a footpath, four picnic areas, a gazebo and a handful of reservable public buildings in Mt. Shasta City Park22“The land, which ultimately became the Mt. Shasta City Park, was once part of the hunting grounds of the Wintun, Maidu, and Okwanuchu Indian tribes and was first crossed by explorers around 1841.” Mt. Shasta Parks . Footbridges and steps have been built around the headwaters/spring/wet hole to accommodate the hundreds of locals as well as travelers—the City Park is just off Interstate 5—who daily frequent the park to drink, visit, splash and fill various jars/bottles/cups/mugs/buckets as close to the source as possible.

 

What water doesn’t get consumed on the spot eventually travels 400 miles to the Suisan Bay, an arm of the San Francisco Bay.

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