How Tiny Sierra Towns are Coping With Pandemic

28 min
Save Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

Listen to this and more in-depth storytelling by subscribing to The California Report Magazine podcast.

This reporting was done in collaboration with the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism as part of a coronavirus reporting project the school is working on with the New York Times.

In Murphys, an Iconic Gold Rush Hotel Lies Silent for the First Time in 164 Years

You may know Calaveras County for its almost century-old frog jump competition, which was cancelled this year due to the coronavirus. But the shelter-in-place restrictions have shuttered an even older Calaveras gem: The Murphys Historic Hotel. Reporter Will McCarthy has the story.

How California's Oldest Weekly Newspaper Is Tackling COVID-19 for its Sierra County Community

Downieville, in western Sierra County, is home to California’s oldest running weekly newspaper, The Mountain Messenger. It’s been around since 1853. And it’s legendary around here – Mark Twain was a contributor. But earlier this year, the paper’s ink almost dried up, until a new owner stepped in to keep the presses running. As Katie Bernstein tells us, he’s a newspaper editor who’s become a lifeline for folks here in this remote community, where local news about the coronavirus is hard to come by.

Disabled Worker in Yosemite Says He’s ‘Going Broke Fast’

What if you live in a place with no infrastructure, no nearby stores, with the nearest hospital 28 miles away? Well, that’s the situation for about 350 workers still living inside Yosemite National Park. When the park closed in March, it was difficult for all employees. But as reporter Ellie Lightfoot tells, disabled workers are especially vulnerable.

At This Tiny Alpine County Market, Lotto is Biggest Draw

Alpine County is California’s least populous county, with only 1200 residents. Its home to only a few businesses, including a tiny market off Highway 88 called the Mad Dog Cafe. It literally sits on an old stop along the Pony Express, called Woodfords Station. They have a deli and sell a lot of sandwiches, but most of their customers come to play the Lotto, and many of them cross the border from Nevada. As reporter Wyatt Kroopf tells us, the cafe reopened this week, and they’re figuring out how to safely keep people apart so they can keep the business going.

Sponsored