Initially, I hated this idea because it wasn't quite how I'd divide the state. But I've come to love it because it divides it along semi-reasonable lines, it's an extremely precise division with well-defined boundaries, and it also avoids us having to work out this hard problem on our own. -- Colin 13:45, 6 Aug 2005 (EDT)
I should actually modify the comment above, since the current map doesn't exactly follow what the CA department of tourism used (Wikitravel's regional breakdown had a few pre-existing differences):
Wikitravel splits the Central Valley region into the Sacramento Valley region & the San Joaquin Valley region.
Wikitravel includes Sacramento in the Sacramento Valley region instead of the Gold Country region.
Wikitravel combines the Los Angeles County, Orange County, and San Diego County regions into the Southern California region.
That said, the current list seems pretty complete, and there should be a discussion if anyone wants to add a new region. Also, I agree with Colin that having a map w/ a clearly-defined set of regions makes it much easier to figure out what goes where. And Colin, if you'd rather change any of the regions around, let me know your thoughts and I'd be happy to modify the map. For the most part I'm happy with the breakdown, although if it was solely up to me I don't think I would have split the Central Valley into two regions, and I would probably have lumped Gold Country into the Sierra Nevada region. However, since Wikitravel had already split the Central Valley and defined a Gold Country region it didn't seem to hurt to keep them that way. -- Ryan 14:00, 6 Aug 2005 (EDT)
I've been populating the Bay Area by filling all the counties with cities, and then populating the cities with hotel content. I do this because it's easy: there are simple ways of researching which cities are in each county so that we get a complete set of city articles. Yay! Easy way to get complete content! And there's also the possibility that we could eventually automatically generate maps of California showing both counties and also city locations much as Wikipedia has done.
But this is also bad because we don't divide California into county divisions -- which is good thing if you've ever seen a map of the counties. Along the Sierra, they tend to be highly elongated west-east along rivers, and encompass parts of the hot valley, the gold country, and the high sierra. They make no sense as divisions generally.
Here's what I propose: we have a complete set of counties for now to gain content. And then we link the articles into the Correct System of subdivision. Later we can either delete the county articles or just leave them around as another way of seeing travel.
My thought is that counties are about as good a region system in California as we can get. Let's take a look at the California county map  and make a poke at doing a hierarchy with one layer between state and county. --Evan 16:21, 21 Aug 2005 (EDT)
Well, some counties are insanely shaped. For example, Kern county starts in the Coastal Range, crosses the heat of the Central Valley (including Bakersfield), crosses the Southern Sierra (including Lake Isabella) and heads out into the desert (including Edwards Air Force Base where the Shuttle lands on the dry lake bed).
But that said, I think I'm overstating the problems with Counties. Most of the proposed division already lies along county lines. Only Kern will be totally carved. Most others will be carved sensibly like dividing the Central Valley portion of the county from the Sierra portion. So I think this will work out. -- Colin 18:11, 21 Aug 2005 (EDT)
I'm in favor of trying to create regions that have borders corresponding to county borders so long as the resulting regions make sense. Your example of Kern County is a good one -- it just doesn't make sense from a traveler's point of view to have a region that includes coast range, desert and the Sierras. In some cases I'm not exactly sure where the division should be though -- Benicia is obviously in the Bay Area (it is on the Bay!) but most of Solano County is really more Central Valley, or Sacramento Valley as Wikitravel has chosen to call it.
Having now thought through this problem a bit more as I've been typing, I guess maybe a good rule would be to try and stick to county borders as much as possible (which we already do, I believe) but to remember that there are fuzzy areas and do our best to define those areas (see Kern County & Benicia above). Rather than trying to reinvent things from scratch (which is not what you're proposing if I read it right), why not just find places where the current regional breakdown doesn't seem to work, and then address those specific problems? Your approach of creating county articles and putting city information into those articles, and then feeding the city articles into regional articles where we can sounds good. Over time I imagine that everything else will work itself out. -- Ryan 18:40, 21 Aug 2005 (EDT)
I guess this is not a live issue any more but even where I live, in Tuolumne County, which is an odd mixture of gold country and mountains, county borders do make some sense. The larger towns, and culture and shopping and such things as visitor bureaus, are in the foothills. They serve the mountain areas, and the roads go from the foothill areas of the counties to the mountain areas. Counties also gain some identity because they are pretty isolated. People who live in Tuolumne County are pretty aware that they live in that county, and actually have occasional feuds (sometimes lawsuits) with neighboring counties like Calaveras and Mariposa.
On the negative side, WikiTravel is supposed to be a guide for tourists, and the fact is that tourists are rarely aware of what county they are in. It doesn't help much in the Sierra either, when, as has been pointed out, the county boundaries are a huge mess. Lake Tahoe is a particular mess, with the place carved up into slices and crazy naming, like Placerville being in El Dorado County rather than Placer County. (And many tourists think Nevada County is in Nevada).CraigWill 03:58, 7 September 2006 (EDT)
Riverside and San Bernardino Counties are part of Southern California according to all conventions. Riverside County, for instance, is home to a popular travel spot, Palm Springs, which is always considered part of So Cal. Together Riverside and San Bernadino Counties form the Inland Empire, which is part of Southern California, although virtually never used by locals (as in "I'm from the Inland Empire").
I would tend to agree. Would anyone (Colin?) be opposed to redefining California's top-level regions to lump the Inland Empire into Southern California? We already differ somewhat from the official state of California regional breakdown - what we're calling Southern California the state breaks into Los Angeles County, Orange County & San Diego County - so lumping the Inland Empire in there as well wouldn't hurt and would (I think) make more sense from a traveler's perspective. -- Ryan 12:40, 8 Nov 2005 (EST)
I didn't realize until now that the Cal State divisions place Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties into the Central Coast. Wikitravel currently has them in Southern California. I think the Cal State division is more useful in terms of breaking things more evenly, though as a Northern Californian I think of those counties as being part of the evil megapolis to the south. Your map also puts them in the Central Coast. I'll put them in the Central Coast for now, but I thought I'd just raise those issues in case it worries you. -- Colin 20:19, 28 June 2006 (EDT)
I didn't realize we had anything north of LA County in the SoCal region either. The SoCal region is so huge that I don't think we need to expand it further - Santa Barbara is Southern California in the same sense that Redwood National Park is in Northern California, so putting Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties into the Central Coast region seems sane enough.
And evil megalopolis? Were I not still a Northern California boy in spirit I'd sense a shallow-actor-wannabes vs. protesting-pot-smoking-hippies flamewar beginning ;) -- Ryan 20:33, 28 June 2006 (EDT)
I'm not sure a hippie is aerodynamic enough to launch, flaming or otherwise. So we'll have to say no to the flamewar, though it did briefly give us hope of solving our hippie problem.
I'll put Ventura and St. B into the CC, and see how well that sticks. - Colin
I'm not so crazy about this. I also don't think it makes sense to balance things out by square mileage. I definitely think V and SB are in SoCal, and that Santa Cruz is in the Central Coast area. --Evan 23:19, 28 June 2006 (EDT)
It's not by square milage -- there is actually some travel sense to it. Santa Barbara county is a lot like SLO, and very unlike LA. Ventura County is a bit odd though. We've altered the definitions a bit in the past, and it can certainly be discussed more. But on the whole, the region breakdown that we've agreed on for the past year has been working well. -- Colin 23:42, 28 June 2006 (EDT)
As an addendum: I think Santa Cruz in the Central Coast works just as badly as in the Bay Area. If SC moves from the Bay Area, I suspect we're going to have to use Monterey Bay as a region. But then Monterey gets sucked into the Monterey Bay Region. Then what to we call the central California coast? If we still call it Central Coast, well, Monterey is definitely part of the Central Coast too. And there's no other word for the California coast in that section.... Makes you start to wish that people would organize the geographic vocabulary to better serve travel guide writers :-) -- Colin 00:20, 29 June 2006 (EDT)
I'm confused here as well - currently Southern California is defined as the Los Angeles to San Diego area, and Central Coast (seems) to be defined as the area north of LA up to and including the Monterey Bay. Since we have some flexibility to choose where the borders of the Wikitravel regions are, it seems to make sense to slim down the SoCal region by saying that Santa Barbara and its neighbors are in the Central Coast region. The whole point of having regions is to break a large area into logical units that are easier to deal with - putting Santa Barbara and everything south into a single region doesn't seem to achieve that goal. Is your argument that Santa Barbara can't be considered anything other than SoCal? From a travel standpoint I'd tend to disagree with that, and would agree with Colin that Santa Barbara is more like SLO than LA. -- 00:49, 29 June 2006 (EDT)
In my mental geography, the borderline between SoCal and the Central Coast is the junction of 1 and 101 right by Gaviota State Park, and between the Bay Area and Central Coast when the freeway ends at Gilroy. But I'll accept that those are highly subjective dividing lines and that I have probably driven the route too many times to make sane decisions about them. I buy the new split. In the larger picture, I think sticking with counties is a good way to save heartache. --Evan 02:18, 29 June 2006 (EDT)
I hate to dredge up old discussions, but I've noticed that Santa Cruz County is currently paired with the Bay Area rather than the Central Coast, which I don't quite agree with. As you might be able to tell from the history, I changed it around, then flipped it back when I figured I'd be opening up a big can of worms without explaining myself.
More than a personal preference, putting Santa Cruz with the Bay Area is messing up what otherwise could be a neat division for the Bay Area. The Bay Area has been divided up into the North Bay, East Bay, Peninsula, and South Bay regions - but Santa Cruz doesn't fall into any of those. What's more, the Monterey Bay sub-region of the Central Coast has to be dragged into the Bay Area as well, since Santa Cruz is part of that region. But no one would consider Monterey Bay part of the Bay Area. I'm not convinced by any of the arguments stated above for putting Santa Cruz into the Bay Area - we're not going to have to make Monterey Bay a region of California just because we put Santa Cruz in it. I think we should move it to the Central Coast, change the CA regions map, and be the happier for it. PerryPlanetTalk 12:23, 13 July 2010 (EDT)
I'd be in favor of this change as it makes both Bay Area (California) and Central Coast into more cohesive regions, but as I recall there have been strong feelings in the past for including Santa Cruz as part of the Bay Area so it might be worthwhile letting this discussion stew for a few days before making any change. -- Ryan • (talk) • 13:06, 13 July 2010 (EDT)
Well, I've forgotten about this and just rediscovered it. Having let it stew for several months, I'm thinking I'll go ahead and change it, unless someone else would like to pitch in with their thoughts. PerryPlanetTalk 13:54, 11 October 2010 (EDT)
All I know about the Bay Area I learned from watching Star Trek. I do recall that in The Voyage Home, they placed the Cetatean Institute (played by the Monterey Bay Aquarium) in Sausalito so that it was closer to San Francisco. But I don't know anything of Santa Cruz. LtPowers 09:34, 18 October 2010 (EDT)
Another issue is reference to cities and towns. In the Gold Country/Sierra Nevada, including Tuolumne County, where I live, there are very few cities. In my county, there is only one city, Sonora. Everything else is a town (or less).
I have noticed that in other areas of WikiTravel, such as Scotland, there is considerable reference to towns, but it seems that it is assumed in the California part that everything is a city. Tuolumne County, for example, lists everything as a city, although everything but Sonora is really a town.
Obviously, a big problem is determining what is a city. I assume there is some reference for this, other than checking the incorporation records in Sacramento!
The word "city" in the United Kingdom has a very specific definition: it means that the place has a "Royal Charter" or something like that. So when they use "town", they're refering to a populated place that doesn't have a charter. The UKians get very uptight if you refer to a town as a city ;-). In the US, we don't have such specific meanings, so we can generally get away with calling everything a city. So for the section header ==Cities== in the region text, just leave it as Cities per the Wikitravel:Region article template, but in the actual article go ahead and call it a town if you think it appropriate.
And a tip: you can sign your post automatically with your user name and timestamp by typing four tildes like this: -- ~~~~ -- Colin 14:17, 6 September 2006 (EDT)
Well, it seems odd to me, because I think that we do have a specific meaning for a city, but I suppose there is also some ambiguity and if nobody is upset with calling everything a city I guess it is OK.CraigWill 16:55, 6 September 2006 (EDT)
To add another twist; I know there are many locals who consider their region to be defined as a "valley" - Imperial Valley, Owens (River) Valley, Central Valley, and of course "The Valley" San Fernando Valley. Usually these are classified in smaller subdivisions than state regions. Just thought I'd mention it.--justfred 14:32, 11 October 2006 (EDT)
From the article: "All major road and airport entrances (including entrances from other US States) to California have agricultural inspection stations"
Airport entrances? Really? I've flown in and out of California several times and never had to go through any inspections. I've never heard of it happening to anyone else either. Maybe this is referring to having your plane inspected if you fly a Cessna in from out of state or something? Any pilots here that can comment?
BTW, for the past 3 years or so, I've never seen anyone actually manning the inspection stations on the freeways when I drive in from out of state (usually 10, 15, or 80). 126.96.36.199
I've seen the stations manned. And you're right about airports -- I can't remember ever being asked about fruits when flying home on a commercial airline. -- Colin 20:44, 25 October 2006 (EDT)
I've seen the highway stations manned most of the times I've been through, on 8, 15 (near Barstow), and 395. But I've never seen it done at the airport. As a private pilot - never flew out of state, but the inspections would be nonexistant since you generally just fly direct to your destination airport or fuel stop.--justfred 23:17, 25 October 2006 (EDT)
My experience with the highway agricultural stations has been that they're usually only manned when there's some general concern - I was stopped a few years back during some scare over some moth or other, but haven't been stopped again during probably 10-20 trips in the past couple of years. We could probably remove the note about checks in airports, although you do occasionally see dogs in the bag check areas, again usually during times when there's an alert going on. -- Ryan 23:28, 25 October 2006 (EDT)
The following was deleted from the article without comment. It's been there for a while, so it probably deserves a fair hearing before being dropped completely:
* California Wildflower Hotline, (818) 768-3533, . From March through May, the California Wildflower Hotline at (818) 768-3533 or visit www.theodorepayne.org offers the latest information on the best places to view wildflowers throughout California. The hotline and website are updated every Thursday evening. The hotline covers Southern California and the website covers the entire state. More than 90 wildflower sites are included. The hotline, now in its 25th year, is operated by the Theodore Payne Foundation for Wild Flowers and Native Plants, Inc.
It seems like worthwhile information to me, although something that may be a bit specialized. If it isn't kept in the California article is there a better place for it? -- Ryan • (talk) • 02:55, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
I vote for keeping it on the California page, who doesn't love a good Wildflower? – cacahuatetalk 20:16, 7 April 2007 (EDT)
It's springtime, and the flower hotline is back. -- Ryan • (talk) • 16:26, 15 April 2007 (EDT)
Pinnacles National Park needs to be added to the National Parks section of this page. Also, if someone feels up to it, the page for Pinnacles needs revamping as it just acquired national "park" status rather than national "monument"