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Del Norte County is located at the far northwest corner of the State of Californiamarker on the Pacificmarker adjacent to the Oregonmarker border. Del Norte is the abbreviated Spanish nickname for "the land of the north" (la tierra del norte), and is known as "The Gateway to the Redwood Coast". Despite the Spanish etymology, the common pronunciation is to drop the trailing "e" and say "Del Nort". The county is notable for its "everyday" wonders, in particular the giant Coast Redwoods, with heights reaching over , scores of unique plants and flowers, dozens of species of coastal birds, rocky, primitive beaches and sea stacks, pristine rivers, and historic lighthouses. As of the 2000 census, it had a population of 27,507. The county seat is Crescent Citymarker, the county's only incorporated city. Del Norte is also known among Bigfoot enthusiasts as the location of the famous Patterson-Gimlin film, as well as being the location of some of the forest scenes used in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.


The area that is now known as Del Norte was and still is inhabited by the Karuk and Hupa Nations of indigenous peoples. The first European American to explore this land was pioneer Jedediah Smith in the early 1800s. He was the first European American to reach the area overland on foot in a time before the European Americans knew anything about such a distant territory. For him it was literally "Land's End" — where the American continent ended at the Pacific Ocean. In 1855 Congress authorized the building of a lighthouse at "the battery point" (a high tide island on the coast of Crescent City) which is still functioning as a historical landmark.

Del Norte County was founded in 1857, from part of the territory of Klamath County following the great California Gold Rush. Klamath County itself ceased to exist in 1874.


Del Norte County is home to a satellite campus of College of the Redwoodsmarker, a two-year college based in Humboldt County.

The Del Norte County Unified School District provides public education to the children of Del Norte County through the twelfth grade. The primary high school in Del Norte County is Del Norte High School, whose school mascot is the Warrior.

Del Norte County has several private parochial schools and charter schools.


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,230 square miles (3,185 km²), of which, 1,008 square miles (2,610 km²) of it is land and 222 square miles (575 km²) of it (18.05%) is water.


Recreation area



Wildlife Refuge

Cities and towns

Crescent Citymarker is the only incorporated city in Del Norte County.

The communities of Del Norte County include: Crescent City Northmarker, Fort Dickmarker, Gasquetmarker, Hiouchimarker, Klamathmarker, Patrick Creekmarker, Douglas Parkmarker, Darlingtoniamarker, and Smith Rivermarker.

Adjacent counties

Flora and fauna

There is a diversity of flora and fauna within Del Norte County. Vegetative plant associations feature several forest types including mixed oak forest. The California endemic Blue oak, Quercus douglasii is at the northernmost part of it its range in Del Norte County. The Black Oak and Douglas-fir are also found in Del Norte County.

Transportation Infrastructure

Major highways

Public transportation

Local public transit is provided by Redwood Coast Transit, which provides access to Amtrak passenger train (via Amtrak bus) service.


SkyWest Airlines conducts passenger flights to and from Jack McNamara Field Airportmarker. The majority of flights connect to San Francisco International Airportmarker through Arcata-Eureka Airportmarker and vice-versa, although connections are also available to Sacramentomarker and Portland, Oregonmarker.


The Crescent City Harbor serves as a commercial fishing boat basin for Salmon, Shrimp, Tuna, Cod, and Dungeness Crab commercial fishing boats. The harbor is also home to multiple fishing and non-fishing related businesses and harbor governmental offices. The Crescent City Harbor also has several pleasure boat docks.


As of the census of 2000, there were 27,507 people, 9,170 households, and 6,290 families residing in the county. The population density was 27 people per square mile (11/km²). There were 10,434 housing units at an average density of 10 per square mile (4/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 78.86% White, 4.30% Black or African American, 6.43% Native American, 2.32% Asian, 0.08% Pacific Islander, 3.92% from other races, and 4.08% from two or more races. 13.92% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 16.2% were of German, 11.3% English, 9.1% Irish and 7.4% Americanmarker ancestry according to Census 2000. 91.6% spoke English and 6.2% Spanish as their first language.

There were 9,170 households out of which 33.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 50.0% were married couples living together, 13.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.4% were non-families. 25.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.58 and the average family size was 3.08.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.1% under the age of 18, 8.0% from 18 to 24, 32.2% from 25 to 44, 22.3% from 45 to 64, and 12.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females there were 123.3 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 130.3 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $29,642, and the median income for a family was $36,056. Males had a median income of $40,072 versus $22,212 for females. The per capita income for the county was $14,573. About 16.40% of families and 20.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 26.70% of those under age 18 and 8.20% of those age 65 or over.


Presidential election results
Year GOP DEM Others
2008 52.1% 4,424 45.5% 3,869 2.5% 210
2004 56.9% 5,356 41.3% 3,892 1.8% 173
2000 54.6% 4,526 37.6% 3,117 7.9% 651
1996 41.3% 3,670 41.1% 3,652 17.6% 1,567
1992 33.0% 3,083 38.9% 3,639 28.1% 2,631
1988 49.7% 3,174 48.0% 3,587 2.2% 167
1984 58.4% 3,996 39.4% 2,696 2.2% 149
1980 57.5% 4,016 33.5% 2,338 9.1% 633
1976 45.3% 2,481 50.9% 2,789 3.8% 208
1972 51.8% 2,927 38.2% 2,156 10.0% 565
1968 46.2% 2,387 43.3% 2,236 10.6% 545
1964 36.2% 2,075 63.8% 3,652
1960 48.1% 3,024 51.2% 3,225 0.7% 45

While Del Norte is traditionally a strongly Republican county in Presidential and congressional elections (the last Democrat to win a majority in the county was Jimmy Carter in 1976), it was carried by Democrat Bill Clinton in 1992 with a plurality. In 1996, Bill Clinton lost the county by a total of eighteen votes. In 2008 the county saw almost an even split in Democratic and Republican voter registration. As of May 2008, approximately 67% of eligible voters are registered to vote in Del Norte County, with approximately 39% registered as Democrats and approximately 38% registered as Republicans. Third party affiliation accounts for approximately 6% of all registered voters in the county.

Del Norte is part of California's 1st congressional district, which is held by Democrat Mike Thompson. In the State Assembly, Del Norte is part of the 1st district, which is held by Democrat Wesley Chesbro. In the State Senate, Del Norte is part of the 4th district, which is held by Republican Sam Aanestad.

During the 2008 Presidential Primary season, Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) won 48% of votes cast in Del Norte County for the Democratic primary, and Senator John McCain (R-AZ) won 40% of votes cast in Del Norte County for the Republican Primary.

On Nov. 4, 2008 Del Norte County voted 60.1 % for Proposition 8 which amended the California Constitution to ban same-sex marriages.Del Norte County voted 52%-46% in favor of Senator John McCain (R-AZ) for President over Senator Barack Obama (D-IL).


  1. C. Michael Hogan. 2008. Blue Oak: Quercus douglasii,, ed. N. Stromberg

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