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Fun Facts

There’s a lot to learn about Lake County – the clean air, Clear Lake, Mt. Konocti, historic hot springs, resorts, and more. Here’s a few of the fun facts about the area:

 

  • Lake County has the cleanest air in California as certified by the State’s Air Resource’s Board and an abundance of spring water; there are several bottled water companies in Lake County.

 

  • Located midway between the Pacific Coast and the Central Valley, Lake County rarely experiences coastal or valley fog. This translates into lots of sunshine. In fact, Lake County sees, on average, approximately 265 days of clear or partly clear skies, with an approximate annual average of 78% of possible sunshine.

 

  • Clear Lake, estimated at 2.5 million years old, is thought to be the oldest lake in North America — and quite possibly the world.

 

  • Clear Lake is the largest natural freshwater lake in California, with 63 square miles of surface area, and more than 100 miles of shoreline. Average depth is 28 feet. Water temperature averages 61º F and varies from 48º F in the winter to 75º F in the summer.

 

  • Clear Lake may hold more fish per acre than any other lake in the country. Downed trees, tules, water grasses, and piers provide ideal habitat for sport fish such as bass, crappie, bluegill, and catfish. Native fish include blackfish, Sacramento perch, tule perch, and hitch.

 

  • Clear Lake has been coined the “Bass Capital of the West” by numerous fishing organizations and pros, and ESPN has rated Clear Lake as the #2 bass fishing lake in the world.

     

  • First Lady Ladybird Johnson visited Lake County to see the wildflowers at what is now Langtry Estate & Vineyards.

     

    • North America’s only species of eagles — bald eagles and golden eagles — come to Lake County to nest each year.

     

    • Clear Lake is a eutrophic, “well-fed” lake. For centuries, it was known as “Lypoyomi” — Pomo for “big water” — until nicknamed “Clear Lake” by European settlers. According to an 1877 article in the San Francisco Post, the lake’s name reflects the region’s clear air — still the cleanest air in the state of California.

     

    • Between 100,000 and 600,000 years ago, Mt. Konocti formed slowly in several eruptive episodes.

     

    • Volcanic ash spewed during an eruption of Mount Konocti has been found and identified nearly 3,000 miles away in the state of New York.

     

    • In 1854, Mt. Konocti was briefly called “Uncle Sam Mountain” by European settlers.

     

    • Mt. Konocti is sacred to local Indian tribes and is visible from almost anywhere on Clear Lake.

     

    • In the early 20th century, natural mineral springs became immensely popular, drawing hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the globe to “take the waters.” Huge resort complexes were built, and enjoying wide fame were Bartlett Springs, Soda Bay Springs, Seigler Springs, Anderson Springs, and Adams Springs. Many of these grand resorts were destroyed by fire, and most were not rebuilt. Today, Harbin Hot Springs remains in operation, offering guests hot and cold pools, rustic lodging, classes, and even “watsu” massage, all in a clothing-optional setting.

     

    • Lake County is part of the world’s foremost geothermal resource areas. Since the late 1950s, geothermal development has grown significantly in the area known as “The Geysers” in the Mayacmas Mountains near the Cobb Mountain area. The magma body responsible for the steam fields is associated with volcanic activity, which began in the Clear Lake area one million years ago. The Geysers were known as an area of hissing fumaroles and boiling springs in the late 1840s and by the end of the 19th century had become nationally known for its hot springs resorts and health spas.

     

    • Today, the Geysers is the largest complex of geothermal power plants in the world with 19 units in operation, fueled by more than 350 steam wells, which generates approximately 750 megawatts of clean, renewable baseload electricity. The Calpine Geothermal Visitor Center, located in Middletown, gives visitors an opportunity to learn how electricity is made using geothermal steam, a clean, renewable energy source.

     

    • “Lake County diamonds,” also called “moon tears,” are semi-precious stones of volcanic origin found nowhere else in the world. While not equal in hardness to real diamonds (rated 7.5 to 8 compared to a diamond’s 10 rating), Lake County diamonds have been used commercially and are capable of cutting glass. They are highly prized by collectors and can be faceted and polished to make beautiful jewelry, nearly as brilliant as real diamonds. According to one local tribe’s legend, a Pomo Indian chieftain and the moon fell in love. The moon could not stay with the chieftain because she was needed by the people to light the night sky and mark the seasons. She was so sad to leave the chieftain that she wept “moon tears.”

     

    • Four thousand years before the rise of Egyptian civilization, Pomo Indians were hunting, fishing, and collecting plant foods on the shores of Clear Lake. The lake yielded an abundance of fish, as well as tule reeds from which the Pomos made baskets, clothing, boats, dwellings, and household items. Today, Pomo baskets are widely admired throughout the West.

     

    • Lake County is the largest supplier of premium fresh pears in California. Since the first commercial Bartlett orchard was planted in the late 1880s, buyers have chosen Lake County pears. This reputation began in 1885 when Lake County Bartletts were exhibited at the New Orleans World’s Fair.

     

    • Tule elk have returned to their native range in Lake County after an absence of more than 100 years. A herd was recently released near the Cache Creek Basin Recreational Area east of Clear Lake on Highway 20. These magnificent animals were bred in Bakersfield and are being released here to bring back the natural population. Tule elk are native to California (and Lake County) and are not seen anywhere else in the world.

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