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Plumas Eureka State Park nears end of successful summer

The Chester Progressive of Chester, California

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Plumas Eureka State Park has held many well-attended events throughout the summer.

Plumas Eureka State Park Association funds free interpretive living history exhibits that feature daily activities at the blacksmith shop, assay office tours, Moriarity House tours, hikes, evening campfire programs and the museum.

In addition to the weekly programs running through Labor Day or as weather allows, Gold Discovery Days held in July and the Dinner in the Park fundraising event held Aug. 6 were the highlights of the summer season.

Gold Discovery Days According to Tim Hardie, PESPA vice president, record crowds of over 1,000 attended the annual Gold Discovery Days at Plumas Eureka State Park the weekend of July 18 and 19.

The event, celebrating the mining history of the area and hosted by volunteers and docents dressing in period costumes, provided visitors a glimpse into historic life in Johnsville.

The event kicked off on Saturday with a two-hour hike in perfect weather to discover the original quartz ledge sticking out of the mountain at the original discovery site.

Hikers then trekked to the park museum and the historic district to join in the celebration of tours to the assay office, blacksmith shop, Moriarty house, and the museum.

Visitors got a taste of the past by feasting on BBQ, old fashioned pasties, and homemade ice cream, breads, jams, and butter, all made during the event.

While visitors waited to enjoy the various tours, hands-on experiences were provided in quill pen writing, woodworking, gold panning, wool spinning, candle making, ice cream and butter churning, and kids games on the lawn.

Music was provided by the V. Sparks Trio and Pat O'Reilly all day on the front lawn of the Museum.

Sunday's annual pancake breakfast, hosted by the Portola Rotary Club, began the second day with a bang. The crowd was energized and volunteers were ready for another busy day of displaying pioneering spirit by serving 525 plates of pancakes.

A fresh team of Belgians pulled a wagon that headed down the road to Johnsville's main drag and visitors wandered over the grounds, stopping for free photos in period costumes provided by PESPA.

The event was a collboration with the Johnsville Historical Society, Johnsville Ski Hill Club, and PESPA.

"The generous gift of time and merchandise by our business partners allows PESPA to continue this interpretive and educational experience at Plumas Eureka State Park," said Hardie. "We thank them wholeheartedly for a great community effort."

Dinner at the Park

PESPA hosted its fourth annual "Dinner at the Park" on Aug. 6.

The event featured Scott Lawson, director of the Plumas County Museum in Quincy, portraying the character of Frederick King in an interpretive presentation called "Sleuthing a Trail Through the Sierra."

The presentation provided details about the Jamison route — the immigrant trail that runs through the park, first used by the Maidu before the Gold Rush, and then by others heading west.

A team of personable and photogenic donkeys accompanied Lawson whose humorous tale was met with several eruptions of laughter.

Details of how difficult navigating the rocky narrow trail was were met by gasps of wonder and awe from the group of over 70 present for the evening.

There was a drawing for gifts donated by local and regional merchants as well as auctions of works from local artists.

Long boards Bar & Grill Executive Chef Sean Conry prepared dinner and the Brewing Lair provided locally handcrafted beer.

All proceeds from the night's event benefited PESPA.

Past president of PESPA, Jay Skutt, said "how grateful they have been for the support of the community." He said that community support has made the park that was once in danger of closing, a big success, with many programs preserving the history of the area.

Information about the upcoming final summer activities and the winter program, or to become a member or donate funds can be found on the PESPA web site at or on their Facebook page.

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Original Publication Date: August 12, 2015

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