Inyo County, California

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County of Inyo
Death Valley Gerea canescens.jpg
Wildflowers blooming in Death Valley after a wet winter
Inyo County, California seal.png
Inyo County, California
Interactive map of Inyo County
Map of California highlighting Inyo County.svg
Location in the state of California
Coordinates: 36°35′N117°25′W / 36.583°N 117.417°W / 36.583; -117.417 Coordinates: 36°35′N117°25′W / 36.583°N 117.417°W / 36.583; -117.417
CountryFlag of the United States.svg  United States
State Flag of California.svg  California
Region Eastern California
EstablishedMarch 22, 1866 [1]
Named for ɨnnɨyun 'it's dangerous' in Timbisha [2]
County seat Independence
Largest city Bishop
Government
  Type Council–CAO
  BodyBoard of Supervisors
  Chair [3] Dan Totheroh
  Vice Chair [4] Jennifer Roeser
  Board of Supervisors
Supervisors [5]
  • Dan Totheroh
  • Jeff Griffiths
  • Rick Pucci
  • Mark Tillemans
  • Matt Kingsley
  County Administrator [6] Leslie Chapman
Area
  Total10,227 sq mi (26,490 km2)
  Land10,181 sq mi (26,370 km2)
  Water46 sq mi (120 km2)
Highest elevation
[7]
14,505 ft (4,421 m)
Lowest elevation
[8]
−282 ft (−86 m)
Population
 (2020) [9]
  Total19,016 Increase2.svg
  Density1.9/sq mi (0.7/km2)
Time zone UTC−8 (Pacific Time Zone)
  Summer (DST) UTC−7 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Area codes 442/760
FIPS code06-027
GNIS feature ID 1804637
Website www.inyocounty.us

Inyo County ( /ˈɪnj/ ( Loudspeaker.svg listen )) is a county in the eastern central part of the U.S. state of California, located between the Sierra Nevada and the state of Nevada. In the 2020 census, the population was 19,016. [9] The county seat is Independence. [10] Inyo County is on the east side of the Sierra Nevada and southeast of Yosemite National Park in Central California. It contains the Owens River Valley; it is flanked to the west by the Sierra Nevada and to the east by the White Mountains and the Inyo Mountains. With an area of 10,192 square miles (26,397 km2), Inyo County is the second-largest county by area in California, after San Bernardino County. Almost one-half of that area is within Death Valley National Park. However, with a population density of 1.8 people per square mile, it also has the second-lowest population density in California, after Alpine County.

Contents

History

Mount Whitney 2003-03-25.jpg
Badwater elevation sign.jpg
Mount Whitney (top) is less than 90 miles (140 km) away from Badwater Basin in Death Valley (bottom).

Present-day Inyo county has been the historic homeland for thousands of years of the Mono, Timbisha, Kawaiisu, and Northern Paiute Native Americans. The descendants of these ancestors continue to live in their traditional homelands in the Owens River Valley and in Death Valley National Park.

Inyo County was formed in 1866 out of the territory of the unorganized Coso County, which had been created on April 4, 1864, from parts of Mono County and Tulare County. [11] It acquired more territory from Mono County in 1870 and Kern County and San Bernardino County in 1872.

For many years it has been commonly believed that the county derived its name from the Mono tribe's name for the mountains in its former homeland. Actually the name came to be thought of, mistakenly, as the name of the mountains to the east of the Owens Valley when the first whites there asked the local Owens Valley Paiutes for the name of the mountains to the east. They responded that that was the land of Inyo. They meant by this that those lands belonged to the Timbisha tribe headed by a man whose name was Inyo.[ citation needed ] Inyo was the name of the headman of one of the Timbisha bands at the time of contact when the first whites, the Bennett-Arcane Party of 1849, wandered, lost, into Death Valley on their expedition to the gold fields of western California. The Owens Valley whites misunderstood the reference and thought that Inyo was the name of the mountains when actually it was the name of the chief, or headman, of the tribe that had those mountains as part of their homeland.[ citation needed ] In Timbisha, ɨnnɨyun means "it's (or he's) dangerous". [2]

To supply the growing City of Los Angeles, water was diverted from the Owens River into the Los Angeles Aqueduct in 1913. The Owens River Valley cultures and environments changed substantially. From the 1910s to 1930s the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power purchased much of the valley for water rights and control. In 1941 the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power extended the Los Angeles Aqueduct system farther upriver into the Mono Basin.

Natural history

Inyo County is host to a number of natural superlatives. Among them are:

Owens Valley and the Sierra Escarpment SierraEscarpmentCA.jpg
Owens Valley and the Sierra Escarpment

Geography

Mount Whitney, the highest peak in the contiguous United States, is on Inyo County's western border (with Tulare County). The Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park, the lowest place in North America, is in eastern Inyo County. The difference between the two points is about 14,700 feet (4,500 m). They are not visible from each other, but both can be observed from the Panamint Range on the west side of Death Valley, above the Panamint Valley. Thus, Inyo County has the greatest elevation difference among all of the counties and county-equivalents in the contiguous United States.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 10,227 square miles (26,490 km2), of which 10,181 square miles (26,370 km2) is land and 46 square miles (120 km2) (0.5%) is water. [12] It is the second-largest county by area in California and the ninth-largest in the United States (excluding boroughs and census areas in Alaska).

Lakes

National protected areas

There are 22 official wilderness areas in Inyo County that are part of the National Wilderness Preservation System. This is the second-largest number of any county, exceeded only by San Bernardino County's 35 wilderness areas. Most of these are managed solely by the Bureau of Land Management, but four are integral components of Death Valley National Park or Inyo National Forest and are thus managed by either the National Park Service or the Forest Service. Some of these wilderness areas also extend into neighboring counties.

Except as noted, the wilderness areas are managed solely by the Bureau of Land Management and lie entirely within Inyo County:

Death Valley National Park

Death Valley National Park is a mostly arid United States National Park east of the Sierra Nevada mountain range in southern Inyo County and northern San Bernardino County in California, with a small extension into southwestern Nye County and extreme southern Esmeralda County in Nevada. In addition, there is an exclave (Devil's Hole) in southern Nye County. The park covers 5,262 square miles (13,630 km2), encompassing Saline Valley, a large part of Panamint Valley, almost all of Death Valley, and parts of several mountain ranges. [13] Death Valley National Monument was proclaimed in 1933, placing the area under federal protection. In 1994, the monument was redesignated a national park, as well as being substantially expanded to include Saline and Eureka Valleys. [13]

It is the hottest and driest of the national parks in the United States. It also features the second-lowest point in the Western Hemisphere and the lowest point in North America at the Badwater Basin, which is 282 feet (86 m) below sea level. [8] It is home to many species of plants and animals that have adapted to this harsh desert environment. Some examples include Creosote Bush, Bighorn Sheep, Coyote, and the Death Valley Pupfish, a survivor of much wetter times. Approximately 95% of the park is designated as wilderness. [14] Death Valley National Park is visited annually by more than 770,000 visitors who come to enjoy its diverse geologic features, desert wildlife, historic sites, scenery, clear night skies, and the solitude of the extreme desert environment.

Other parks

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1870 1,956
1880 2,92849.7%
1890 3,54421.0%
1900 4,37723.5%
1910 6,97459.3%
1920 7,0310.8%
1930 6,555−6.8%
1940 7,62516.3%
1950 11,65852.9%
1960 11,6840.2%
1970 15,57133.3%
1980 17,89514.9%
1990 18,2812.2%
2000 17,945−1.8%
2010 18,5463.3%
2020 19,0162.5%
U.S. Decennial Census [15]
1790–1960 [16] 1900–1990 [17]
1990–2000 [18] 2010 [19] 2020 [20]

2020 census

Inyo County, California - Demographic Profile
(NH = Non-Hispanic)
Race / EthnicityPop 2010 [19] Pop 2020 [20] % 2010% 2020
White alone (NH)12,29611,03566.30%58.03%
Black or African American alone (NH)102850.55%0.45%
Native American or Alaska Native alone (NH)1,8952,18910.22%11.51%
Asian alone (NH)2292731.23%1.44%
Pacific Islander alone (NH)15130.08%0.07%
Some Other Race alone (NH)21870.11%0.46%
Mixed Race/Multi-Racial (NH)3919352.11%4.92%
Hispanic or Latino (any race)3,5974,39919.40%23.13%
Total18,54619,016100.00%100.00%

Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

2011

Places by population, race, and income

2010 Census

The 2010 United States Census reported that Inyo County had a population of 18,546. The racial makeup of Inyo County was 13,741 (74.1%) White, 109 (0.6%) African American, 2,121 (11.4%) Native American, 243 (1.3%) Asian, 16 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 1,676 (9.0%) from other races, and 640 (3.5%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3,597 persons (19.4%). [29]

2000

At the 2000 census, [30] there were 17,945 people, 7,703 households and 4,937 families residing in the county. The population density was 2 per square mile (1/km2). There were 9,042 housing units at an average density of 1 per square mile (0/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 80.1% White, 0.2% Black or African American, 10.0% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 4.6% from other races, and 4.2% from two or more races. 12.6% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 16.4% were of German, 12.2% English, 10.6% Irish and 5.0% American ancestry according to Census 2000. 89.2% spoke English and 9.3% Spanish as their first language.

There were 7,703 households, of which 27.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 9.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.9% were non-families. 31.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 13.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.31 and the average family size was 2.88.

24.4% of the population were under the age of 18, 5.8% from 18 to 24, 23.4% from 25 to 44, 27.3% from 45 to 64, and 19.1% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females there were 95.4 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.9 males.

The median household income was $35,006 and the median family income was $44,970. Males had a median income of $37,270 versus $25,549 for females. The per capita income for the county was $19,639. About 9.3% of families and 12.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 16.0% of those under age 18 and 8.3% of those age 65 or over.

Politics

Voter registration

Cities by population and voter registration

Overview

Inyo has been a strongly Republican county in Presidential and congressional elections. From 1944 to 2016, the only Democrat to win the county (and the last to win a majority of its vote) was Lyndon Johnson in 1964. However, the county shifted decisively leftward in 2020, narrowly supporting Joe Biden over Donald Trump.

United States presidential election results for Inyo County, California [32]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.%No.%No.%
2020 4,62048.71%4,63448.86%2302.43%
2016 4,24851.94%3,15538.57%7769.49%
2012 4,34054.01%3,42242.58%2743.41%
2008 4,52352.88%3,74343.76%2883.37%
2004 5,09159.09%3,35038.88%1752.03%
2000 4,71360.31%2,65233.93%4505.76%
1996 3,92451.84%2,60134.36%1,04413.79%
1992 3,68943.58%2,69531.84%2,08024.57%
1988 5,04264.34%2,65333.85%1421.81%
1984 5,86370.32%2,36028.30%1151.38%
1980 5,20164.79%2,08025.91%7469.29%
1976 3,90558.23%2,63539.29%1662.48%
1972 4,87368.07%2,00628.02%2803.91%
1968 3,64154.45%2,31434.60%73210.95%
1964 2,75146.51%3,16153.44%30.05%
1960 2,96254.65%2,44345.07%150.28%
1956 3,52466.19%1,78233.47%180.34%
1952 3,81968.87%1,69830.62%280.50%
1948 2,13555.79%1,53940.21%1534.00%
1944 1,69950.64%1,64749.09%90.27%
1940 1,48344.53%1,82054.65%270.81%
1936 91236.47%1,56062.38%291.16%
1932 69830.91%1,45964.61%1014.47%
1928 1,20657.37%86140.96%351.67%
1924 95047.52%25612.81%79339.67%
1920 1,19557.20%68232.65%21210.15%
1916 84641.96%96647.92%20410.12%
1912 80.49%80649.54%81349.97%
1908 58340.94%61843.40%22315.66%
1904 45255.73%23128.48%12815.78%
1900 39642.35%50554.01%343.64%
1896 28634.01%53263.26%232.73%
1892 40951.13%26633.25%12515.63%
1888 43758.66%27336.64%354.70%
1884 34553.41%28343.81%182.79%
1880 32153.95%27446.05%00.00%

In the California State Legislature, Inyo County is in the 8th Senate District , represented by Democrat Angelique Ashby, [33] and the 26th Assembly District , represented by Democrat Evan Low. [34]

The county is in California's 3rd congressional district , represented by Republican Kevin Kiley. [35]

On November 4, 2008, Inyo County voted 60.6% for Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages. [36]

Crime

The following table includes the number of incidents reported and the rate per 1,000 persons for each type of offense.

Cities by population and crime rates

County Sheriffs

Education

School districts in Inyo County are:

Deep Springs College is a two-year alternative education college in Deep Springs Valley.

Higher education in Inyo County is provided by the Kern Community College District. With cerro coso community college campus located in Bishop CA [39]

Notable locations

Transportation

In the 1920s, automobile clubs and nearby towns started to lobby for trans-Sierra highways over Piute Pass [40] and other locations. However, by end of the 1920s, the Forest Service and the Sierra Club decided that roadless wilderness in the Sierra was valuable, and fought the proposal. The Piute Pass proposal faded out by the early 1930s, with the Forest Service proposing a route over Minaret Summit in 1933. [40] The Minaret Summit route was lobbied against by California's Governor Ronald Reagan in 1972. The expansion of the John Muir and Ansel Adams Wildernesses in the 1980s sealed off the Minaret Summit route. [40]

A trans-Sierra route between Porterville and Lone Pine was proposed by local businessmen in 1923. [41] Eventually, a circuitous route across the Sierra was built across the only trans-Sierra route south of Yosemite: Sherman Pass by 1976. [42] That route is Forest Route 22S05 to the west, and Kennedy Meadow Road (County Route J41) and 9-Mile Canyon Road to the east.

Major highways

Public transportation

Eastern Sierra Transit Authority operates intercity bus service along US 395, as well as local services in Bishop. Service extends south to Lancaster (Los Angeles County) and north to Reno, Nevada. [43]

Airports

Bishop Airport, Independence Airport, Lone Pine Airport and Shoshone Airport are general aviation airports located near their respective cities. Stovepipe Wells Airport and Furnace Creek Airport are located in Death Valley National Park.

Communities

The Inyo County Court House in Independence Inyo County Court House.JPG
The Inyo County Court House in Independence

Cities

Census-designated places

Other unincorporated communities [44]

Population ranking

The population ranking of the following table is based on the 2010 census of Inyo County. [45]

county seat

RankCity/Town/etc.Municipal typePopulation (2010 Census)
1 Bishop City3,879
2 Dixon Lane-Meadow Creek CDP2,645
3 West Bishop CDP2,607
4 Lone Pine CDP2,035
5 Big Pine CDP1,756
6 Bishop Reservation [46] AIAN 1,588
7 Independence CDP669
8 Wilkerson CDP563
9 Big Pine Reservation [47] AIAN499
10 Round Valley CDP435
11 Mesa CDP251
12 Lone Pine Reservation [48] AIAN212
13 Olancha CDP192
14 Tecopa CDP150
15 Fort Independence Reservation [49] AIAN93
16 Cartago CDP92
17 Keeler CDP66
18 Homewood Canyon CDP44
19 Darwin CDP43
20 Shoshone CDP31
t-21 Furnace Creek CDP24
t-21 Timbi-Sha Shoshone Reservation [50] AIAN24
22 Trona CDP18
23 Pearsonville CDP17
24 Valley Wells CDP0 (permanent)

See also

Notes

  1. Other = Some other race + Two or more races
  2. Native American = Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander + American Indian or Alaska Native
  3. 1 2 Percentage of registered voters with respect to total population. Percentages of party members with respect to registered voters follow.
  4. Only larceny-theft cases involving property over $400 in value are reported as property crimes.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bishop, California</span> City in the state of California, United States

Bishop is a city in California, United States. It is the largest populated place and only incorporated city in Inyo County. Bishop is located near the northern end of the Owens Valley, at an elevation of 4,150 feet (1,260 m). The city was named after Bishop Creek, flowing out of the Sierra Nevada; the creek was named after Samuel Addison Bishop, a settler in the Owens Valley. Bishop is a commercial and residential center, while many vacation destinations and tourist attractions in the Sierra Nevada are located nearby.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Independence, California</span> Census-designated place in California, United States

Independence is a census-designated place in Inyo County, California. Independence is located 41 miles (66 km) south-southeast of Bishop, at an elevation of 3930 feet. It is the county seat of Inyo County, California. The population of this census-designated place was 669 at the 2010 census, up from 574 at the 2000 census.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Olancha, California</span> Census designated place in California, United States

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Inyo National Forest is a United States National Forest covering parts of the eastern Sierra Nevada of California and the White Mountains of California and Nevada. The forest hosts several superlatives, including Mount Whitney, the highest point in the contiguous United States; Boundary Peak, the highest point in Nevada; and the Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest, which protects the oldest living trees in the world. The forest, encompassing much of the Owens Valley, was established by Theodore Roosevelt as a way of sectioning off land to accommodate the Los Angeles Aqueduct project in 1907, making the Inyo National Forest one of the least wooded forests in the U.S. National Forest system.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Panamint City, California</span> Unincorporated community in California, United States

Panamint City is a ghost town in the Panamint Range, near Death Valley, in Inyo County, California, US. It is also known by the official Board of Geographic Names as Panamint. Panamint was a boom town founded after silver and copper were found there in 1872. By 1874, the town had a population of about 2,000. Its main street was one mile (1.6 km) long. Panamint had its own newspaper, the Panamint News. Silver was the principal product mined in the area. The town is located about three miles northwest of Sentinel Peak. According to the National Geographic Names Database, NAD27 latitude and longitude for the locale are 36°07′06″N117°05′43″W, and the feature ID number is 1661185. The elevation of this location is identified as being 6,280 feet AMSL. The similar-sounding Panamint Springs, California, is located about 25.8 miles at 306.4 degrees off true north near Panamint Junction.

The Timbisha are a Native American tribe federally recognized as the Death Valley Timbisha Shoshone Band of California. They are known as the Timbisha Shoshone Tribe and are located in south central California, near the Nevada border. As of the 2010 Census the population of the Village was 124. The older members still speak the ancestral language, also called Timbisha.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Argus Range</span>

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The Talc City Hills is a mountain range in the northern Mojave Desert, in Inyo County, California.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Coso Peak</span> Mountain in California, United States

Coso Peak is the highest summit in the Coso Range, a small mountain range east of the Sierra Nevada, in Inyo County in the U.S. state of California. The peak has an elevation of 8,157 feet and a topographic prominence of 2,489 ft (759 m), making it the 88th most prominent mountain in California.

References

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  2. 1 2 William Bright & John McLaughlin, "Inyo Redux", Names 48:147-150 (2000)
  3. "District 1 | Inyo County California".
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