BASTION MOUNTAIN RANCH - TALES OF A FARM FAMILY


My family lived on a Ranch full time from 1993 until 2015. We were a 5th generation family farm.
I am writing this blog to share my experiences living there. It is best to read the blog chronologically by going through the archives, starting with the introduction in January of 2010.
The blog starts with the arrival of my great-grandparents to the farm in 1947 and will follow the families to the present.

Friday, January 22, 2016

FREEDOM ON THE RANGE

Freedom on the Range

Open range is the freedom of movement for livestock, regardless of land ownership. At one time this was the only method of raising cattle, slowly declining with the pressures of urbanization. In open range country people who don’t want the livestock on their property have to fence it off. Canoe Point was an open range territory until tourism and population increase forced the cattle behind fences. The practice came under attack in the late 1980s with complaints of cattle in gardens, manure on the road, and the danger of a slumbering cow lying on the warmth of the dirt road. At the time I was enraged, as was my father, that our cow’s freedom was being restricted and with that their access to roadside grass.
During those years much of the livestock grazing took place on crown land, with only the occasional visit onto neighbour’s properties.  The use of crown land for livestock grazing goes back 140 years, and has been regulated since the formation of the B.C. forest service in 1912. The cows during the time of free range navigated the rough bush for many months of the year, heading down to the barns in the late fall with the cooler temperatures. They enjoyed complete and unrestricted access, unlike today with the prolific fencing and “No Trespassing” signs. 
The beginning of the Ranch was posted with a sign warning that livestock was at large. 
Watch For Livestock

The “Watch for Livestock” sign marking the start of cattle country. 
We were living on the Ranch at the time when the pressure had started to fence in the cattle. It  accumulated with the arrival of the Range Officer. The official explained to my father that if the cattle were not securely contained he would arrive within a week with a cattle hauler and confiscate the herd. My mother phoned us in a panic stating to “come quick and help Eddy”. There really was not much to be done but comply, and slowly the cattle on the ranch lost their freedom on the range, moving from fenced pasture to fenced pasture. It was a huge loss in both available food but also in a way of managing cattle. The cattle were like free wild animals for so many months, falling victim at times to predators (primarily human unfortunately), but able to wander at will. I am sure it was a smarter and happier herd as a result. 
Fenced In
- See more at: http://shuswaplakeranch.com/freedom-on-the-range-2/#sthash.mb9s9xqr.dpuf

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