Honoring the Quincy Library Group
The Quincy Library Group is what put Quincy and Plumas County on the map for many people working in natural resources living outside the county and throughout the world.
At a time when people were at each other’s throats over resources issues, Plumas County is known as having pulled off a miracle: Getting adversaries to sit down, however reluctantly, to listen to each other, learn from each other and hash out a workable solution to major problems.
To me, the fact that both the economic (underemployment) and resource (over-dense catastrophic fire-prone forests and damaged wet meadows) issues that the group worked on still remain, speaks to the difficulty of the problems, not the success of the work accomplished.
I feel like the Quincy Library Group is something that Plumas County should be proud of and it should remain a part of our history long after library group members have passed from the scene.
However imperfect the results, the group’s message of collaboration is too rich a message to forget.
While researching the library group for a series of articles I recently wrote on the group, I discovered that the group’s landmark “Community Stability Proposal” was signed July 7, 1993.
This proposal was later hand-carried to Congress, voted for almost unanimously by the federal legislature and then became federal law.
What’s more, the 25th anniversary of the signing of the community stability proposal will be next year on July 7, 2018.
Here’s my proposal: We hold a festival on July 4, 2018, in Quincy to honor those people who were members of the group and what the group accomplished.
None of us, including members of the library group, are getting any younger. None of us are going to live forever. Now is the time.
The celebration of the group’s approval of the proposal would thus coincide with our celebration of Congress’ approval of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776.
I envision a roundtable discussion with some of the more prominent members of the group discussing the group. In the spirit of the group, at the same time including other members of the group and of the public in the discussion.
However, I don’t envision the celebration to be a staid affair. I envision something more like a fair for the whole family. With games and fun activities for the kids and for the adults, but with a break for an entertaining roundtable in a centralized location.
Since members of the library group largely joined the group in threes: a logger, an environmentalist and a public official; how about people coming dressed as loggers, environmentalists and public officials?
Maybe throw in a few miners, mountain men and Native Americans for good measure. They are part of our history, too.
How about a four-legged race each composed of a random assortment of people dressed as loggers, environmentalists or public officials? Like a three-legged race but with three people’s legs strapped together rather than two.
Perhaps vary the races by having two of the three people facing forward and blindfolded and the other person facing backward and not blindfolded? Having everyone blindfolded with someone from the public giving directions, perhaps fulfilling the role of town gossip? Run the race through an obstacle course? Run the race backwards?
Having the threesome carry a balloon squeezed between them that they have to deliver to the finish line without touching the balloon with their hands or dropping it along the way. If they do, they have to start at the beginning again?
There are plenty of non-competitive games too that people can play together – mixing adults and children, or not.
How about having a formal costume ball with music and dancing, a silent auction and contests between groups of people dressed as loggers, environmentalists and public officials?
You get the idea: Fun and a bit educational.
Why do this?
Aside from honoring our county’s history, we can do this to bring more people into Quincy and Plumas County on a major holiday.
Plumas County has 4th of July fireworks up north in Lake Almanor and further east in Graeagle.
Why not have the Quincy Library Group celebration on July 4th, but early enough in the day that people can make it to the fireworks?
This could enrich the holiday for locals and potentially bring more outside tourists into Plumas County.
Drawing tourists from outside
Plumas County is a long way from major urban areas, which is where most of the people live. Quincy and the rest of the county are not on the direct way to anywhere. It’s not called the Lost Sierra for nothing.
We need to have draws that are special enough to them to make people from urban areas want to drive all the way up here to experience them.
Belden does this successfully several times a summer, drawing young people and others from the Bay Area.
If 2018 goes well, this celebration could be run every year and hopefully become something people are willing to drive to from Sacramento and the Bay Area to see.
This can be added to the county’s other special attractions that can’t be found anywhere else.
In my mind, just around Quincy these include Feather River Hot Springs (many people drive up from the Bay Area to the hot springs but don’t know that Quincy is only 14 miles or 19 minutes away), Rich Bar, the upper Feather River Canyon (one of the most dramatic areas of the northern Sierra Nevada), Indian Falls and the tufa mound just downstream.
Quincy itself is unique: a town of just over 5,000 people that has its own symphony, professional regional theatre, still-functioning downtown movie theatre and an arts and music scene that rivals or even exceeds that of Davis, which has a population of 67,000 and a major university.
Sierra Valley is uniquely reminiscent of the large valleys in Colorado called “parks.” The proximity to Lassen Volcanic National Park, Plumas Eureka State Park and the Gold Lakes area could also be emphasized, as these locations are already relatively well known to urban people outside Plumas County.
What should the festival be called?
Quincy Library Group Festival has all poetic ring of a Soviet-era get-together!
QLG Festival? Ditto. Plus, I personally hate acronyms. They are convenient, but they shut people out who aren’t in on their meaning.
“Collaboration Day.” This is the best I have come up with. Sends the right message, is easy to say and is reminiscent of “Independence Day.”
However, we might be able to come up with something better.
Who should be involved?
I don’t mind being involved. However, being a greenhorn here, I may be looked at as an outsider coming in and trying to tell local folks what to do.
It can be taken that way. However, although it’s counterintuitive, I have found that when I start a new job I get my best ideas right off the bat. Ideas that people who have been there longer haven’t apparently thought of. Then I quickly grow accustomed to the situation as it is and have fewer insights. Maybe I’m lazy or maybe that’s human nature?
Feather River College should definitely be involved. They have the economic resources and the experience to put on big events. They have the young people who have so much enthusiasm and fresh ideas.
The rest of our educational system as well. They know how to instruct in ways that educate people and get people involved and enthusiastic about what they learn.
The arts community, because they also have the experience to run an event, plus the creativity and networking required.
The county government too, because they lead this county and want to see the county prosper.
The business community, especially Quincy business community, because they stand to gain the most economically from the event and from a greater recognition for Quincy.
There you have it. An idea. Perhaps whose time has come? Or perhaps not?
It’s up to you. It’s up to us.