The History of Lake Mendocino


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In 1860 before Lake Mendocino existed the land belonged to the Shodakai Pomo. Shodakai means "Valley in the East". This land was also the major route of a major Indian trail from Ukiah Valley to Potter Valley and Lake County. (Peri, David W. and Scott M. Patterson 1976 chapter 6) The Indians were forcibly removed from Coyote Valley and sent to government sponsored reserves in 1950.When the reserve system failed the Indians went back to their land and it had been settled by whites. In 1909 the Federal government, through the Bereau of Indian Affairs, purchased 101 acres in Coyote Valley for the benefit of the local Indians, some living on tghe Old Rancheria and some living on rancherias in Ukiah. This official Coyote Valley Rancheria existed until 1957 when the Corp of Engineers aquired the property for the dam. Today there is a Pomo cultural center where the old rancheria stood at Lake Mendocino. The Corp of engineers and the Mendo-Lake Pomo Council agreed to this to replace land lost by the Indians before 1978.(Peri, David W. and Scott M. Patterson 1976 chapter 7) The idea to help alleviate the problem of the Russian River flooding after a series of damaging floods in the 1930's. the people and the government came to believe that adding a dam to the area could benefit everyone. After many public hearings and postponements Lake Mendocino was damed and began filling up around winter of 1958-1959 and became a substantial attraction.(Army Corp of Engineers Handbook(history),1978 chapter 5 pg.49).


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Lake Mendocino offers many activities these days, they include, fishing, swimming, camping, hiking, water skiing, picnicking, boating and general sightseeing. You can get more update information at www.lakemendocino.com. Thge area that our group enjoyed was the Bushay activity area. Bushay means "deer" in Pomo. The deer creek group area to be exact. it has a group picnic area as well as about 10 camp sites. These camp sites are about 200 feet from the water.