Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Monday, November 14, 2011
End of an era: Park Service takes over cattle ranch on Santa Rosa Island - video
Ranch once ran 8,000 head of cattle
The cattle grazing on grass-covered hills that tilt toward the Pacific Ocean are long gone. So are the vaqueros who rose at "dark thirty" to round up the cattle while the glowing red embers of their hand-rolled cigarettes pierced the night. Soon, the nonnative deer and elk that wander through the craggy valleys of Santa Rosa Island will be a thing of the past, too. Although Will Woolley is still there, he knows his family's time on the island also is limited. "We are living the last days," said Woolley as a hard wind blew across the island. "It feels like a death in the family. This has been much harder than I anticipated." For 25 years he has known Jan. 1, 2012, was coming — the day his family, the Vails, will no longer live on the island and Channel Islands National Park will take control of it. The Park Service bought the roughly 83-square-mile island 26 miles off the Santa Barbara coast for $30 million in 1986. But the Vail & Vickers operation was allowed to remain on the ranch. Through lawsuits and settlements, the cattle ranching eventually was phased out, and the deer and elk are being eradicated. These days, the families are moving on, too, packing up memories and heirlooms and looking around their home one last time. "It's a sad time," said Nita Vail, 54, who spent much of her child hood on the island. Her dad managed the cattle that would come from the mainland in the winter and leave fattened up two springs later...more