Humboldt’s Wildlife Gem: The Samoa Boatramp County Park
Just down from the pulp mill, and across the street from the Samoa Drag Strip, you’ll find one of Humboldt County’s most unique camping experiences. While not exactly scenic, and often shrouded in fog, the Samoa Boat Ramp Campground offers exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities.
Besides supporting the largest population of rabid foxes anywhere in the county, You’ll invariably spot migratory Hippies,
Scarlet-throated ATV Nuts,
and Hermit Campers (Veteran Post-traumaticus)
making a stop-over at The Samoa Boat Ramp. You’ll also see whole families of Car-dwelling Crackers
who stop here to take advantage of the best coin operated showers anywhere in the county. But, the real attraction of that rectangular slab of asphalt on the edge of the spit, happens just west of the parking lot. On these dunes, you will find the preferred breeding grounds of the North Coast Tweaker.
In ratty little dome tents, all along the west edge of the parking lot, newly paired Tweaker couples conceive their young. They return, year after year, to teach their children to tweak, in the same nest sites where they first learned to tweak themselves, just a few short years ago.
Observing these night active creatures means staying up very late at night. Many find that a little methamphetamine makes it much easier to stay awake late enough to observe the Tweaker’s unusual mating and child-rearing behavior. Generally, you can find a vender on site.
Once the Tweakers have set up camp, the male Tweaker begins his courtship by building a campfire. Tweakers start their campfires with broken up pallet wood and some form of chemical accelerant. To this, each Tweaker adds a collection of materials he has gathered during the day. This will include, household garbage, laminated countertops, vinyl siding, automotive floor mats, foam mattresses, cigarette butts, and broken pieces of particleboard furniture.
The Tweaker uses this fire, and the thick cloud of black smoke emanating from it, to establish his territory, driving any other creature that breathes, running for cover. The Tweaker also brings dogs, usually pit-bulls to help establish his territory. The pit-bulls bark at neighboring Tweaker’s dogs, and the neighboring Tweaker’s dogs bark back. Each Tweaker then smacks his own dogs, and screams at them for barking, in a display of violence meant to intimidate the neighboring Tweaker.
This yelling barking and smacking ritual goes on for hours, punctuated by the hoarse screeches of toothless Tweaker hags. Copulation usually occurs in the dome tents or coin-operated showers, and hags deliver their tweaklets in 5-7 months. Young tweaklets imitate their parents in play, by yelling at and smacking each other incessantly. By age 15 most acquire their own ratty tent and establish or join neighboring Tweaker camps, to begin the Tweaker life cycle anew.
While not exactly an endangered species, Tweakers’ often bizarre behavior draws wildlife enthusiasts from all over America to the Samoa Dunes Recreation Area for the rare chance to observe them in their natural habitat.