A new preserve for public enjoyment is in the works for Central California’s southern Sierra foothills.
Blue Oak Ranch is a 1,147-acre working ranch adjacent to Scicon near Springville that uses – among other conservation approaches – sustainable cattle ranching practices. It is one of six Central California preserves owned and managed by Sequoia Riverlands Trust, which also operates Kaweah Oaks Preserve near Exeter.
“SRT hopes that Blue Oak Ranch will become a great educational and recreational asset to southeast Tulare County, as well as an example of how sustainable conservation practices can benefit a working cattle ranch,” said Aaron Collins, SRT director of communications and community relations. He said that plans for the ranch also include residential caretakers, interpretive signage and other features to help the public learn about the ranch’s Blue Oak woodland.
“The preserve’s setting below Dennison Peak is breathtaking and offers nature lovers and photographers a place to roam,” Collins added.
In preparation for opening Blue Oak Ranch sometime in 2015, Sequoia Riverlands Trust is collaborating with Porterville Unified School District’s Environmental Sciences Academy (ESA), part of its Pathways approach to career-based learning. ESA students helped plan a preview day on November 22, where they designed and mapped trails, led interpretive tours, and enjoyed equestrian and archery demonstrations, showing the many possible uses of the preserve, which also include hiking, biking and other recreational and educational uses.
SRT has a number of other interests in the Springville area, including conservation easement partnerships at Circle J Ranch and River Ridge Ranch.