Modoc County, California

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Modoc County is a county located in the far northeast corner of the U.S. state of California, bounded by the state of Oregon to the north and the state of Nevada to the east. As of 2000, its population was 9,449. The current county seat is Alturas, the county's only incorporated city. Previous county seats include Lake City and Centerville, the latter of which is now a ghost town. The county's official slogans include, "The last best place," and "Where the West still lives."

A large portion of Modoc County is federal land. The presence of several federal agencies, including the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, forms a significant part of the economy and provide services to this rural area.

Modoc is the only county in California bordered by both Nevada and Oregon, and is one of only two counties in California bordering more than one US state (the other being San Bernardino County, bordering Nevada and Arizona in the southern part of the state).



Prior to the arrival of Europeans in the region, Native Americans inhabited the county. The Modoc people, who lived at the Klamath River headwaters, were a prominent tribe that broke away from the Klamath tribes to the north in Oregon, and the name of the county was derived from this tribe.[1] The county was home to two other major tribal groups: the Achumawi (or Pit, for which the Pit River is named), and the Paiute.[1] The first European explorers to visit Modoc County were American explorer John C. Frémont and his traveling party (including Kit Carson) in 1846, who had departed from Sutter's Fort near the confluence of the American and Sacramento Rivers where the city of Sacramento lies today.[1]

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