In the Kern River Valley, not far from the cowboy town of Bakersfield, a rancher looked through a new set of lenses. The environmental movement created the Endangered Species Act (ESA), which many on the ground are fearful, will put them out of business. However, this California rancher used the ESA to preserve his ranch and livelihood.
Bruce and Sylvia Hafenfeld of Hafenfeld Ranch in Weldon run a cattle operation on private land, U.S. Forest Service permits and an Audubon California preserve. This ranching operation has been in existence for more than a century in the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range.
The Hafenfelds have watched the valley they live in transition over the years. Sylvia, who was born and raised here, saw the Kern River dammed, creating the Lake Isabella Reservoir that provides water for families and farmers in the Central Valley. With the lake also came tourist and vacation homes, forever changing the area.
Source: California Cattlemen’s Association