“It’s so green and there are mountains!” Those were my reactions when I first drove through Modoc County. While I grew up in neighboring Siskiyou County, I did not know much about the eastern side of northern California except there was an abundance of sagebrush. The first few weeks of the internship have been very educational, and I have fully enjoyed exploring and familiarizing myself with the local community.
View from the Warner Mountains
I am a recent college graduate with a degree in Animal Science and a minor in Rangeland Resources. I am excited to build on my passion for grazing animals and natural resource management this summer. The Devil’s Garden horses are a topic I think is very significant because it encompasses a huge variety of issues. The beautiful landscape Modoc County offers continues to amaze me, and I look forward to enjoying it throughout the next few months as I contribute to this blog. -sb
Plethora of Wild Flowers near Mill Creek
Moving from Siskiyou County to Modoc County in 2011 provided me with new opportunities. The town was bigger and people were friendlier. There were more activities to do in and out of town. Seemed like more places to go for sightseeing even though Mount Shasta was now a far silhouette. The wildlife seems more abundant and hunting occurred almost all year long for different species. Working and growing up on a cattle ranch has opened my eyes to see the role that permits for livestock grazing play on public lands. Being an intern encourages me to look at the grasses and the effects of grazing. It has showed me a different point of view and has helped to give me a better knowledge of the county and climate. -hmg
Ancient Cattle Guzzler in the Garden
Hi there, thanks for keeping up to date with our blog- I’m one of the “Wild Horse Interns” this summer, and it’s my first time in Alturas and generally this region of California! Coming from the east coast, it is certainly my first exposure to wild horses as a tangible issue to a big ranching and farming community such as Modoc County. Back home, wild horses are rarely discussed, and some even believe them to be mythical to American soil in this day and age (this never fails to interest me, the diametric daily realities we have in a country as big and diverse as the U.S. Some people who are very much interested in nature and wildlife say that the last time they heard about American wild horses was decades ago!).
I’ve been interested in the interactions between humans and the landscape and pastoralism since first exposed to the topics in college. I’m always eager to learn about the specifics of a new place in both a herding and greater ecological context. While there has been a bit of local jargon and acronyms that I’ve had to familiarize myself with, I’m learning a lot about the immense controversy surrounding wild horses. Horse lovers, cattle herders, Forest Service, and everyone else invested in this complex system is put in a hard place due to the politicized nature of the situation and binaries that have come to light. Just like any thriving ecosystem, the key to success is balance, which comes from respect and a willing to reasonably compromise. - kc