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McLaughlin Natural Reserve

LAND USE

The human history of the Morgan Valley and Knoxville area is perhaps typical of California's inner Coast Range, well inland of the Spanish-American missions. Native Americans lived there for at least eight thousand years, until the late nineteenth century when European-American mercury miners and homesteaders arrived. Twentieth-century users of the land have included ranchers, miners, hunters and university researchers. Human influences can be seen throughout the landscape, from pit mortars and arrowheads, to mercury furnaces and homestead ruins, to the open pit, mine buildings, and experimental plots. Wandering around the wilder parts of the reserve, especially near water, you may well come across artifacts of the past century and before.

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