This huge water cannon takes aim on the hillside in the distance.
Malakoff Diggins is one of the 48 California state parks proposed for closure in January 2008 by California’s Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as part of a deficit reduction program since rescinded following public outcry.
From the gold rush era, now a ghost town, Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park is the site of California’s largest “hydraulic” mine. Visitors can see huge cliffs carved by mighty streams of water, results of the gold mining technique of washing away entire mountains to find the precious metal. Legal battles between mine owners and downstream farmers ended this method. In the late 1860s, the towns of Marysville and Yuba City were buried under 25 feet (7.6 m) of mud and rock, and Sacramento flooded repeatedly.3 The farmers in the valleys complained about the tailings that flooded their land and ruined their crops. Thousands of acres of rich farmland and property were destroyed as a result of hydraulic mining.
The “canyon” is 7,000 feet (2,100 m) long, as much as 3,000 feet (910 m) wide, and nearly 600 feet (180 m) deep in places.