Temples and Nuggets: Oroville, Lake Oroville Area, and Paradise Professional Review and Guide
"About 90 miles north of Sacramento, Oroville is the seat of Butte County and the focal point of some of northern California’s most fascinating history. During the early 1860s the area was home to more than 10,000 Chinese, most of whom came to work the nearby mines and who dutifully sent home all but what they needed to survive of their paltry paychecks. Later, the Chinese worked the railroads, and then the farms and ranches of anglo settlers; often they were victims of racism, manifesting itself in abuse and even murder. Since 1967, Oroville has been best known as the site of Lake Oroville, formed by Oroville Dam, which is part of the California Water Project, providing flood control, irrigation water, and electricity for the state. Lake Oroville was created in 1967 with the completion of Oroville Dam, today one of the county’s most striking “landmarks.” The lake, fed by the many branches and forks of the Feather River, is characterized by scores of narrow fingers and inlets, some winding deep into shadowy canyons. The total shoreline is 176 miles, and the lake covers 16,400 acres. A favorite of houseboaters, bass fishers, and water-skiers, the lake, and the goings-on there, has a great impact on the surrounding area. Not only does it affect recreation and tourism, but local farmers and ranchers depend on water from Lake Oroville for irrigation. Perched atop a Sierra Nevada foothill ridge just north of Oroville, Paradise is a small community made up of a disproportionately large number of retirees, many of whom have fled the traffic and congestion of the Bay Area and southern California for a slower-paced life in the pines. In addition, Paradise is home to many Chico workers, who make the 20-minute easy commute from their homes on “the ridge” to the valley, preferring the cooler foothill climate: When Chico’s baking in 100-degree summer heat, it’s generally at least ten degrees cooler on “the ridge,” and on a cold winter day, it might be raining in Chico and snowing in Paradise, whose elevation rises from about 1,700 to 2,200 feet. Paradise locals pride themselves on several things: a fierce independence, which often manifests itself in political conservatism; the town’s gold-mining history, celebrated each July with Gold Nugget Days; and a simple, unadorned lifestyle perfectly befitting the large number of retirees. This eTrail from the DayTrips series describes many fascinating, exciting, (and many free of charge) things to do, most within a two-hour drive of Sacramento. Each Day Trip includes destination highlights, places to visit along the way, choice restaurants and lodging, and shopping."