“What a Dump!” Named Official Sierra County Slogan

By Stephen Kulieke

SIERRA CITY — A line uttered in the biggest Hollywood film shot on location here in Sierra County is now the county’s official slogan.

Legendary film actress Bette Davis famously declared “What a dump!” as her dissatisfied character assessed her home’s squalid surroundings in the locally filmed Beyond the Forest. The 1949 film inspired a trifecta of woe–derided by critics, ignored by audiences, and skewered by Davis herself.

Nonetheless, Sierra County officials quickly latched on to the film given its ties to the county and a message that resonates with locals.

“Making ‘What a Dump!’ our official county slogan is long overdue,” said the Sierra County Board of Supervisors (BOS) in an April 1-dated press release following the board’s unanimous vote. “Most of us can’t count the number of times we’ve heard our fellow citizens spontaneously say those very words while experiencing the sights and sounds of the county. And we firmly believe these immortal words from Beyond the Forest apply not only to our largest town, Loyalton, where the film was set, but to all our communities on the east and west side, as well as to the county at large.”

In their proclamation, the BOS urged that the “What a Dump!” slogan be posted prominently in signage across the county—not only at landfills and transfer station locations.

The board also is requiring that the words be used as a tag line on all county communications, posted prominently on county websites, and featured in all social media outreach. “‘What a Dump!’ will ring throughout California and indeed the nation and globe as Sierra County’s calling card,” stated the board, with unbridled enthusiasm.

The slogan’s approval was one of a number of actions taken April 1 by the board to create a wide-range of new designations, proclaiming official county plants, insects, birds, etc.

In unanimous votes, the BOS declared the following:

Official County Plant

A tie: Poison Oak and Mountain Misery

Official County Fungi

Fuligo septica, commonly called Dog Vomit Slime Mold. “We think the name speaks for itself,” noted the board.

Official County Plant-with-the-Weirdest-Name

Stout-beaked Toothwort

Official County Plant Non-Native-and-Dangerous

Poison Hemlock (Best to avoid, according to Socrates)

Official County Very-Apt-Flower-at-Sardine Lake

Woolly Mule’s Ear

Official County Bug for-Reasons-that-are-Unfathomable

The nearly invisible, always irritating, painfully biting No-see-um

Official County Butterfly AND Colorful-Punctuation-Mark

Green Comma

Official County Aquatic Insect Suggesting-You-Should-Always-Wear-Water-Shoes

Toe Biter

Official County Non-Candidates-for-a-Petting-Zoo

A tie: Western Black Widow Spider and Northern Pacific Rattlesnake

Official County Aquatic Bird AND Frequent-Customer-at-Local-Watering-Holes

Ruddy Duck

Official County What-They’re-Not-Even-in-This-County-Buttes

Sutter Buttes

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