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Hansen/Sitze

Interview by Emilie Strauss. Mr. Walter Hansen - wh, Mrs. Verna Hansen - vh, Mr. Tim Hansen - th, Estel Sitze - es.

wh - I have to prune and cut willows and everything else to keep control over it. I would certainly hate to see the sheep, I don't, I think the sheep should be kept near the lake, you know, up in this part somewhere, because you get down around the lake, there's no sheep down there, although they've been for hundreds of years, I'm sure... So, it's just a matter of what you want... it's ahh, you don't want sheep then, you know, you're gonna' get ... all this like you've got here. Thompson Ranch is still pretty much like it was, uhh, because they still have sheep there, although this end of it is gone to desert now...

Emilie - So, this end is, like, down near here where it's all sage and rabbit brush again, between that row of trees?

vh - Yeh.

es - Where was the ranch house from the Thompson Ranch, is where those beams still...?

wh - Where the apple trees grow.

es - I think for the last five years or so, during the major drought, they simply haven't had enough water to get it down here. I've talked to some of the sheep guys, they've got the ditches there to irrigate it, but there just isn't the water.

wh - We used to get water on this property from the water that irrigated the east end of Thompson Ranch.

Emilie - Oh, really, so there was a channel or ditch that came..?

es - Ran down by the side of the house, yeh.

Emilie - Oh, wow.

wh - Yeh, some nice spring there.

th - But the thing about sheep and irrigation and stuff, it's like some Mexican guy that, you know, he doesn't care if the water gets down to the end, or they try you know, he doesn't see anything wrong with bedding the sheep down for four or five months at a time. And so, the impact that sheep have is because of the guy, you know, some guy that gets paid forty bucks a month and all the food he wants or something. I mean, you know what I'm trying to say?

Emilie - Sure. Yeh, that maybe a lot more education could help. It's interesting, I don't know if this is another issue, but this Bishop Resource Management Plan that's coming out now, which is going to affect the BLM lands in this area, and they may change some of the allotments in the Bodie Hills from cattle to sheep because they did feel that with education the herders could control the sheep in a certain way whereas the cattle just run loose, so, I thought that was interesting.

es - Well, I've spent alot of time the last three or four years with the sheepherders here, probably more than you ever have Tim?

th - Yeh.

es - And they're not Mexicans they're Peruvians, and I think they do a good job. The big problem is lack of water. I'm for the sheep. I'd hate to see the sheep leave out of this country. I think it's a problem of management, and maybe they're putting too many sheep in a given area, I don't know. You can see where they go across to your place there? That's just a mess. Too many sheep in one area. The last few years they just haven't had the grass. Now when they took the sheep out about 6 weeks ago, and really irrigated it, irrigated it like they should have, except for this end, the grass came back really good. It's a matter of controlling it.

th - I was glad to see it. All that clover and stuff going to seed, and it's not really a waste, but its better if something eats it.

es - No I think the sheep, I don't know how we got on the subject of sheep, but I think they belong here, they predated any of us.

th - Yeh, I do to. Well, it's a good topic because these people want, claim to want, what was natural in existence. And like what was in existence over a Dell's, you know they grew hay.

Emilie - Where the three cabins are at Mono Vista springs.

th - They did that here, too.

es - I think part of their problem over there, after ten single meetings with the scenic area advisory board and all that, seems to me that they're different. There's not too much correlation between what the city does in their leases, the BLM does in their leases, and what the private demand, on private land. I thought that was one of the things that the Forest Service was supposed to coordinate because the sheep doesn't know where he is. But, uh, I'd hate to see the sheep leave up here, because there's nothing more beautiful than the natural scene of sheep grazing on the natural food that's there. But, they can be mismanaged, and I don't know whether its the shepherd's fault or not, but I don't think its these particular shepherds, I get pretty well acquainted with these guys, and they seem like pretty responsible guys.

th - Well, if they, uh, that place they bed them down up there is desert, and its totally dry, and I suppose they could do it somewhere else, but maybe its good they do it in that one spot all the time cause it only wrecks that one spot.

es - You get the same thing up there by Lundy Canyon area, the power house.

Emilie - Do you guys remember, did they used to bed them in one spot years ago and have those scolded areas, or is that a new thing? When they had the freedom did they wander around more so they didn't have one spot.

wh - Far as I can remember, they've always bedded them down up there...

es - Up at Nellie's old place, yeh.

End of interview.

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