“We are lost. Can you help us?” says a couple entering the Lost Sierra Visitor Center next to the chamber office in Blairsden.
This is music to our ears at the Lost Sierra. While the Lost Sierra Chamber of Commerce exists to promote commerce, assist with economic development and provide access to a business center, the Visitor Center is the area’s hub for maps and historical (as well as up-to-date) information on local flora, fauna and places of interest.
“We welcome hundreds of folks to our area each summer,” says Jan Tew, the Visitor Center’s office administrator. Jan and her husband Roger have lived in the area since 1975 and possess a wealth of local information. Jan’s warm and cheerful demeanor puts people at ease the minute they walk through the door.
The Center’s walls are covered with maps, photos and local information. Most impressive are the two wall maps of the United States and the World added this past spring. We invite our guests to pin their home and sign our guest book. And though information is available online (if you know where to look) our visitors appreciate guidance and hard copy maps and brochures to take with them.
Another frequent question we hear is, “Why are you called the Lost Sierra?” Our membership voted to change our chamber’s name a couple years ago to make it more reflective of the area. More and more businesses are adopting the nickname, rebranding our area back to its forty-niners roots.
The Lost Sierra received its name from William Berry in the early 1930s — a ski historian who set out to prove that organized ski racing in the United States began with the forty-niners. The area encompasses approximately 1,600 square miles in northeastern California, from north of Quincy (Rich Bar) to the South Fork of the Yuba River, and from Oroville east to the Nevada border.
Back in the day, the isolated “Lost Sierra” was home to hearty, mostly Scandinavian, men and women in search of gold who conquered the long, treacherous snowbound winters with ten-foot long ‘snow-shoes’ (referred in recent times as ‘longboards.’). If you haven’t been in a while, please stop by our Lost Sierra Visitor Center. We have a lending library, which includes an in-depth history of the Lost Sierra.
Fast forward to 2019. Though many of the original families have long since passed and businesses come and go, the pioneering spirit of the Lost Sierra lives on. We are seeing more and more business start-ups, a welcome sight after the long, dry recession. Breweries, wineries, mom and pop shops. It seems folks move to the Lost Sierra to discover a new gold: a chance to live life on their own terms, away from the hustle ad bustle of city life.
All of the staff and volunteers at the Chamber and Visitor Center love living where we do. We work hard to keep our doors open with our various fundraisers throughout the year and would like to thank the many Chamber sponsors, merchants and community volunteers that help us with these efforts. Just as in the ‘old days, we see the value of working together to accomplish the greater good for our little community. A special thank you to Plumas-Sierra Telecommunications, the City of Portola, River Pines, Plumas Arts, and Graeagle Land and Water for helping make our summer fundraisers a success.
On a closing note, we are seeking volunteers to help staff the Chamber and Visitor Center. This is a great way to get out of the house, meet your neighbors and to learn new things about the place you call home. Why not give us a call at 836-6811? Better yet, stop by and see us. We’d love to work with you.