Rios 5 - camp

The river basin was lightly populated by Native Americans before, and for decades after the European settlement of California. The region remained little traveled until 1850, when Josiah Gregg and his exploring party arrived in search of land for settlement. The river was named after they traded a frying pan to a group of Wiyot fishermen in exchange for a large number of Pacific lampreys , which the explorers thought were eels. [8] : 91 [9] Explorers' reports of the fertile and heavily timbered region attracted settlers to Humboldt Bay and the Eel River Valley. Starting in the late 19th century the Eel River supported a large salmon canning industry which began to decline by the 1920s due to overfishing. The Eel River basin has also been a significant source of timber since the days of early settlement and continues to support a major logging sector. The river valley was a major rail transport corridor ( Northwestern Pacific Railroad ) throughout the 20th century and also forms part of the route of Redwood Highway (US Highway 101).

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