Humbug Day celebrates mining history (PHOTO GALLERY) | TheUnion.com
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Humbug Day celebrates mining history (PHOTO GALLERY)

In 1882, ninth circuit Judge Lorenzo Sawyer handed down what would be known as — the Sawyer Decision — the United States’ first environmental law.

Sawyer had looked over hundreds of pages of testimony and evidence regarding complaints from the residents of Marysville in reference to flooding issues as a result of the hydraulic mining in the Sierra Nevada.

While Sawyer didn’t outlaw hydraulic mining, he did outlaw the disposal of tailings into surrounding streams.

Attempting to stay within the law, the miners of North Bloomfield continued their hydraulic mining into the 1890’s before fines, and cost effectiveness got the better of their business.

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In efforts to keep this hydraulic mining heritage of the northern Sierra Nevada alive, the workers and volunteers of Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park hold their Humbug Day event every second Saturday of June each year.

The streets of North Bloomfield, initally called Humbug in 1851, are filled with docents and other participants dressed in historic apparel ready to make you feel as if you were a miner in the old days. The event featured the world’s shortest parade, and even fired off one of the old water monitors for all in attendance to see.


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