Wandering Lizard
Northeastern California

An Online Magazine with Information relating to attractions, lodging, dining,
and travel resources in selected areas of California

Lassen County, California

Lassen County was named after Peter Lassen, one of the earliest pioneer settlers to arrive in Northeastern California. Born in Denmark, his life includes many controversial episodes, but everybody pretty much agrees that he was a very influential participant in the regional politics of the day. Mexican Governor Manuel Micheltorena, on the advice of John Sutter, granted Rancho Bosquejo in present day Tehama County, to Lassen in 1844. The Mexican objective at the time was to occupy northern California with loyal Mexican citizens and thus help thwart the de-facto American takeover that was then taking place as an increasing flow of settlers from the United States began immigrating into northern California without Mexico's permission. Swiss born John Sutter and Governor Micheltorena were both attracted to Lassen, in part because of his Danish birth. Presumably, Lassen swore allegiance to Mexico and promised to bear arms on it's behalf in order to obtain the land-grant.

In 1845, Lassen moved to the Honey Lake region where he befriended Isaac Roop and served as the first Governor of the controversial Nataqua Territory. This short lived political adventure aimed at establishing an independent republic that would be free of taxation by Plumas County or by the state of Utah, both of which claimed authority in the Honey Lake region. Lassen also developed and advertised the much maligned Lassen Cut Off to the California Trail. His objectives in this endeavor had to include bringing more customers to his financial interests in the Honey Lake region. Lassen was murdered in 1859, while traveling to Virginia City where he intended to prospect for silver. The political experiment with Nataqua was over and the Provisional Territory of Nevada was being established. Presumably Lassen's prospects in the Honey Lake region were in decline and he was in the process of relocating. No one was ever convicted of his killing, but considerable suspicion surrounds one of the men who was accompanying him - Americus Wyatt. Lassen was buried in Susanville.

Lassen County has numerous spectacular attractions, not least of which is Lassen National Forest with miles and miles of hiking and horseback trails. The second largest natural lake in the state is Eagle Lake and its' unique setting offers both deep forest and high desert shorelines. Eagle Lake is renowned as a trout fisherman's paradise and the county is known as a bird hunter's delight with extensive duck, pheasant, geese, chukker, quail and dove populations. Historic Susanville is the commercial center of Lassen County and Westwood, which was once one of the largest company logging towns in the state, has a 22 foot tall statue of Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox. Mountain biking is popular in the county and the 25 mile Bizz Johnson Trail along the Susan River is but one of many popular trails available for biking enthusiasts to explore.

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