Historic Cattle Ranch Preserved in Bridgeport Valley

 Bridgeport Valley, in northern Mono County, once known as “Big Meadows”, is one of the largest mountain meadow areas in California. Settled by miners and ranchers 150 years ago, local ranchers in Bridgeport Valley now face rising pressures to develop and subdivide their land. Recently, Centennial Livestock has preserved 718 acres of working agricultural lands with a conservation easement. This important new easement extends conserved private agricultural lands all the way to the northern end of the valley and is an important part of the larger Centennial Ranch holdings, 6,390 acres of which are already under conservation easement thanks to these forward thinking cattlemen. “Conservation easements provide future generations the assurance that scenic open spaces and historical livestock grazing of range and pastureland are maintained for perpetuity,” said Dave Wood, who owns the property along with John Lacey and his son Mark Lacey. “I can think of no other area in California more deserving of protection than the Majestic Bridgeport Valley.”

Preserving working agricultural lands provides multiple benefits to the local economy by ensuring continued agricultural operations and maintaining the natural balance of ranchland. “This means the perpetuation of agriculture,” said Mark Lacey, who owns the property along with his father, John Lacey and partner Dave Wood. “It’s important to preserve and maintain the history of the area and the legacy of the cattle. The only way to protect the land is to not put houses on it.” The conservation easement is a voluntary, permanent, land
protection agreement. The landowners retain title and management of their property, while designating how their land may be used now and in the future.

The property that is now under easement was one of the earliest ranches in the valley and has been utilized for livestock production for 150 years. Under previous ownership, the property was also used for raising horses, sheep, and lamb, however in the years since that time the operation has shifted to cattle. “I have a great love for the Bridgeport Valley. I grew up out there as a kid. I always dreamed of owning a piece of it and keeping it in
conservation and running livestock in an economic way for future generations,” said owner John Lacey. Visitors travelling Highway 395 enjoy the outstanding vistas of the Sierra Nevada mountains, and the open ranchland of the valley below.

“The ESLT board and staff are thrilled to be partnering with these long-time landowners,” said Karen Ferrell-Ingram, Executive Director of Eastern Sierra Land Trust. “These cattlemen and their families have been working the land from Olancha to Bridgeport and providing food for people since the early days. Their work helps keep our valleys green and our rural lands productive and beautiful.”

The project was made possible by a number of funding agencies, including the Department of Conservation’s California Farmland Conservancy Program, the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP), and the California Department of Transportation’s Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation Program (EEM). “We’re pleased to have been a part of this project, which will help ensure the viability of the local economy and its western heritage,” said Brian Leahy, head of the Department of Conservation’s Division of Land Resource Protection. “We congratulate the landowners, land trust and our funding partners on the completion of this easement.”

Tom Hallenbeck, District 9 Director for the California Department of Transportation in Bishop said “The Centennial Ranch was a good opportunity for the department to meet the goals of our EEM program, help preserve this beautiful valley, and work in partnership with the other funding partners.”

Eastern Sierra Land Trust works with willing landowners to preserve vital lands in the Eastern Sierra region for their scenic, agricultural, natural, recreational, historical, and watershed values. For more information about this and other conservation easements, visit ESLT’s website at www.eslt.org.

About the Department of Conservation’s California Farmland Conservancy Program: Begun in 1996, the CFCP has provided $77.4 million in funding to permanently shield 52,293 acres of the state’s best and most vulnerable agricultural land from development. Landowners and trusts are encouraged to contact the Division of Land Resource Protection for information about the program and potential funding. For details, visit www.conservation.ca.gov/dlrp.

About the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP): The federal FRPP is a voluntary easement program that protects productive agricultural land by providing funds for the purchase of conservation easements to limit conversion of farm and ranch lands to non-agricultural uses. NRCS partners with state, tribal or local governments, and non-governmental organizations to fund the acquisition of conservation easements or other interests in land from landowners. More information is available at www.ca.nrcs.usda.gov.

About the California Department of Transportation’s Environmental Enhancement and Mitigation (EEM) Program: The Transportation Blueprint Legislation of 1989 established the EEM. The EEM allocates ten million dollars annually, to local, state, and federal agencies, and nonprofit organizations for grants to
provide additional mitigation for projects beyond what was required. More information is available at http://www.dot.ca.gov/hq/LocalPrograms/EEM/homepage.htm.

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10 Responses to Historic Cattle Ranch Preserved in Bridgeport Valley

  1. xain January 30, 2012 at 9:17 pm #

    How much did the taxpayers pay for this? The land is wetlands and not developable anyway.

  2. Ken Warner January 30, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    Some George Sorros quotes (I wish I had said them):

    Now that I have called you on your false accusation, you are using additional smear tactics.

    A full and fair discussion is essential to democracy.

    An open society is a society which allows its members the greatest possible degree of freedom in pursuing their interests compatible with the interests of others.

    Just as the process of repealing national alcohol prohibition began with individual states repealing their own prohibition laws, so individual states must now take the initiative with respect to repealing marijuana prohibition laws.

    Proposition 19 already is a winner no matter what happens on election day. The mere fact of its being on the ballot has elevated and legitimized public discourse about marijuana and marijuana policy in ways I could not have imagined a year ago.

    The people currently in charge have forgotten the first principle of an open society, namely that we may be wrong and that there has to be free discussion. That it’s possible to be opposed to the policies without being unpatriotic.

    The worse a situation becomes the less it takes to turn it around, the bigger the upside.

    We are the most powerful nation on earth. No external power, no terrorist organization, can defeat us. But we can defeat ourselves by getting caught in a quagmire.

    We must recognize that as the dominant power in the world we have a special responsibility. In addition to protecting our national interests, we must take the leadership in protecting the common interests of humanity.

    Well, you know, I was a human being before I became a businessman.

    When I had made more money than I needed for myself and my family, I set up a foundation to promote the values and principles of a free and open society.

    Who most benefits from keeping marijuana illegal? The greatest beneficiaries are the major criminal organizations in Mexico and elsewhere that earn billions of dollars annually from this illicit trade – and who would rapidly lose their competitive advantage if marijuana were a legal commodity.

    The main enemy of the open society, I believe, is no longer the communist but the capitalist threat.

    It is much easier to put existing resources to better use, than to develop resources where they do not exist

    It is credit that matters, not money (in other words, monetarism is a false ideology).

    I am for maximum supervision and minimum regulation.

  3. Wayne Deja January 28, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Ken Warner….Isn’t that the truth…..I’m sure they would see this as a perfect area to build the homes needed for the employees working at the Cougar Gold Mine operation they want so badly up in the Bodie Hills…..which ain’t NEVER going to happen.

  4. Ken Warner January 28, 2012 at 11:55 am #

    Cue the right wing nuts screaming about jobs…..

    • kaat January 28, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

      Name calling, taunting, generalizing comments help no one Ken….you cannot put people’s politics in a box….doing so shuts down communication….it puts people immediately on the defensive…and one wonders why there is so much hatred in the world..

      • Ken Warner January 28, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

        Tell it to the Republicans;Tea Bags and the rest of the right wing nuts who only seem to be able to blame others for doing what they themselves do.

        • Reality Bites January 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm #

          Ken, you seem like a pretty smart guy. You are starting to figure out that the Infinite Growth Paradigm that every economy in the world is based on, is simply not possible on a planet with 7 billion people and finite resources.

          It is time to take the next step Ken. Get over the Left vs Right, Republican vs Democrat Paradigm. They are all owned, bought and paid for. Quit playing the part of the angry liberal who is pissed off the world is not how you think it should be.

          Obama = Romney. The Banksters, Goldman Sachs & JP Morgan Chase win either way. They are making you believe you have a choice.

          The only honest man in the race is Ron Paul. That is why the controlled media, both left and right, first ignore then demonize him.

          • Ken Warner January 30, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

            I like parts of Ron Paul’s platform. The foreign policy part. I don’t like his domestic policy. His domestic policies are too simplistic for the complicated world society we live in.

            I’ll give you his honesty. He is consistent and seems to be his own man. But big corporations and big capital would eat him for breakfast….

          • Bishop Dude January 30, 2012 at 2:24 pm #

            Ken’s not smart he is just a Liberal Puppet for George Soros and MoveOn.org. He just speaks what they tell him to.

          • Ken Warner January 30, 2012 at 4:47 pm #

            Name calling, taunting, generalizing comments help no one [bishop dude]….you cannot put people’s politics in a box….doing so shuts down communication….it puts people immediately on the defensive…and one wonders why there is so much hatred in the world..


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