We ventured south, in a rare visit to the lower part of the state, and stopped at the top of the Grapevine at Frazier Park, in order to hike Mt. Pinos the next morning. Here’s what the summit of Mt. Pinos looked like that day.

Mt. Pinos

Along with USA Today, our motor lodge offered The Mountain Enterprise for our reading enjoyment. I’ve never read the USA Today (does it even have words?) so I picked up the Enterprise, not expecting to be completely and entirely blown away. The lede was something about the Super Moon, but the story about threatened condor habitat caught my eye. There was real journalism here: by researching the sale of land to the Tejon Ranch Company, they discovered that the Center for Biological Diversity had filed suit with the US Fish and Wildlife Service to stop the proposed development of  resort hotels, golf courses, and 3400 homes on condor habitat. So why did our USFWS grant the “incidental take permit” to Tejon Ranch, which will allow them to incidentally take some condors? That’s what I am asking, now that the Mountain Enterprise has brought the issue to my attention.

Reading on, I find that the Tejon Ranch Conservancy offers a California Naturalist course, which is highly regarded. So this led me to more intensive research (Wikipedia), and now I see that Tejon Ranch Company is the largest private landholder in California, and the Conservancy protects almost 1/4 million acres, that being the largest conservation pact in California history.

So I was all set to hate the Tejon Ranch because of the development/condor thing, but now I see that the circumstances are more complex. Why does it always have to be that way? I think I will leave this one to the interested local parties to sort out. But I will tune in again should I pass over the Grapevine in the future. The only reason that would ever happen is for the pizza at Caveman Cavey’s or the Mediterranean Skillet at Big John’s in Frazier Park.

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