Mapping Land Use in the Mother Lode
The images in the introduction suggest a variety of historical land uses in California's Mother Lode region ranging from that by Native Americans, to mining, logging, forestry, agriculture, and increased urban development. The maps below are also an introduction - geographic this time.
California Tribal Map
Mother Lode Gold Mines
Map of the Mining District of California

California Demographics
California Forest Cover
California Farmland

To Start You Thinking

Click on the smaller maps above to open a larger version that you can use to answer the following questions.

1) The Mother Lode region is highlighted in gold on the map of California. Open the California Tribal Map. Identify the native tribes that lived in the Mother Lode prior to the gold rush by tribal name and the modern counties that they occupied.

2) Zoom in on El Dorado County in the Map of Mining Districts of California and locate the Over Land Emigrant Road. Describe its route from the point at which it enters California to its end.

3) Examine the USGS Historical Mine map. Which of the colored river systems has the greatest concentration of gold mines? of placer mines?

4) Sacramento is in the Central Valley of California east of San Francisco. Open the California Forest Cover map and examine the Mother Lode area east of Sacramento. Describe the predominate forest types you would encounter moving east from Sacramento up into the Sierra Nevada Mountains towards Nevada.

4) Study the California Farmland map and compare the significance of the Mother Lode region to other areas in California in terms of agriculture.

5) Describe the population density of the Mother Lode in relation to the city of Sacramento and to the areas along the major rivers of the region.

map courtesy of Solano Archeological Servies, adapted from R. F. Heizer, editor, Handbook of North American Indians, Washington D.C.: Smithsonian Institution, 1978 and Herbert Luthin, editor, Surviving Through the Day, Berkeley: U.C. Press , 2002.

William M. Eddy, Official Map of the State of California, Marysville: R.A. Eddy, 1854 in the David Rumsey Collection

Charles N. Alpers, Michael P. Hunerlach, Jason T. May, and Roger L. Hothem, Mercury Contamination from Historical Gold Mining in California, Sacramento: US Geological Survey.

Population per Square Mile by Census Tract in Census 2000: California Profile, U S Census Bureau

USGS, "Forest Cover and Shaded Map of California", National Atlas, 2007.

California Department of Conservation, Important Farmland of California,2008.
Last modified in June, 2019 by Rick Thomas