Blue Mountain Region

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What are the communities like?

The Blue Mountain region is characterized by a pleasing blend of quaint townships in a rural section of Calaveras County. The townships are rich in Native American, gold-mining and timber history, and are enhanced with historic structures. The people of the region prize the rural environment typified by peace and quiet, clean air, low population density, diversity of landscape, and lots of open space.

The landscape is comprised of heavily timbered foothills and low-elevation mountains that are interspersed with steep river gorges. Frequently, the area is graced with beautiful sunlit valleys and meadows. Spring and fall are particularly beautiful seasons.

Some of the colorfully-named townships in this section of Calaveras County include Railroad Flat, Sheep Ranch, Wilseyville, West Point and Mountain Ranch.

A prime example of the rural nature of the region is the town of Sheep Ranch. Here the sheep roam the streets of town and graze almost anywhere they want.

Mokelumne River in Blue Mountain

Where is it?

The Blue Mountain communities are sprinkled throughout the north-central and northeastern region of Calaveras County. As one resident aptly defined the region “…if you’re going somewhere you would not be likely to travel through our towns. If you were looking for a nice country drive, you would.”

What are the transportation routes?

The main road that leads to the region is State Highway 26. Other, well-maintained local roads connect the Blue Mountain communities to each other and to the larger commercial areas in and around Calaveras County.

What are the predominant land uses?

Most of the area is open space with large regions of timberland interspersed with prime agricultural and ranching areas. One can see a large buffalo herd, a sheep ranch, and properties with attractive ponds and old barns all within a short drive. The region has little commercial activity.

Blue Mountain Sheep

What does the area envision for economic development?

In general, the communities envision most of the economic development happening in other regions of the County. Commercial development welcomed by the residents would be commensurate with the rural nature of the area, complement its history, and offer services to its residents. One example of this type of commercial development is in the Railroad Flat area. Here, the residents envision recreational services and facilities. This would be especially inviting if the plan to complete the Mokelumne Coast to Crest Trail continues. Projected for the area are opportunities for outdoor outfitters, stables, equestrian facilities, and overnight facilities to cater to hikers and riders of the trail.

Another example is in Wilseyville where residents envision a small chipping plant and reviving the old mill, but, on a small scale where outdoor furniture, fence posts and pickets, and other wood-based products could be milled commercially. These endeavors would blend with the history of timber industry in the area and would benefit from using the products of local forest thinning.

The entire region also sees a future in growing small cottage industries and in agriculture. Small technology-based businesses are able to thrive in the area as high speed fiber optic is available through Volcano Telephone Company. This company has invested heavily installing infrastructure throughout its service region, and many small businesses are moving from the high density population areas to take advantage of this high-speed internet capability and to escape the congestion of urban living.

How does the community envision its future?

The Blue Mountain communities envision the rural life they now enjoy continuing without much change, other than encouraging the growth of regional parks. They want to retain a place that values self-reliance, self-sufficiency and independence.

How can the residential character be described?

The region is not characterized by a distinct housing style. And, while several subdivisions exist, most all of them are well off the road and not visible to the visitor driving on the back country roads. The visible housing stock is composed mainly of modest homes built close to the road. Additionally, travelling down private roads and driveways, one will find some distinctive custom homes with beautiful grounds and vistas.

What does the area want to be known for?

Local residents are proud of their mining, timber and Native American history and wish to keep that memory alive. And most importantly, they also value their location on “the road to nowhere.”

The retention of the rural atmosphere and natural beauty is their highest priority. The Blue Mountain region is a remote and rather undeveloped area; and that fact is the reason that many settle there.


Weathered Building in Blue Mountain