The Far North

On KQED-FM (public radio in San Francisco), a boost for:

Redding — the best of far northern California

You see the problem: Northern California takes in way too much (if it’s understood as covering the northern half of the state), and, worse, it’s likely to be interpreted as a regional name centered on San Francisco (or maybe San Francisco and Sacramento) and actually excluding the far northern part of the state. The designation far northern California is an attempt to carve out a culturally relevant area.

Recall my discussion of Southern California in connection with the town of Ojai, here. We do in fact need more regional designations, if we hope to capture the culturally relevant regions.

The Wikipedia entry for Redding uses two different designations in close proximity:

The city is the medical hub of rural far northern California, with two major general hospitals, Mercy Medical Center, and Shasta Regional Medical Center, as well as other specialty hospitals. It is also the major retail center of the North State and the headquarters for many regional government operations.

There’s a fair number of other occurrences of far northern California. And a new commercial competitor for it. From Wikipedia:

Upstate California is the name of a marketing campaign which seeks to promote business in the northernmost 20 counties of California. Roughly the upper half of Northern California, the “upstate” designation encompasses primarily rural areas which contain 4.5% of California’s population.

Redding, with a population of about 90,000, isn’t rural itself, but it serves as a kind of capital for a region that is largely rural.

In any case, far northern California is certainly useful terminology.

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