HEAD ‘EM UP, MOVE ‘EM OUT
Transhumance in the California Foothills and Sierra Nevada: The End of an Era?
Opening in Fall of 2015
Since gold was discovered in California in the winter of 1848, cattle have roamed the foothills in winter and spring, summered in the rich grasslands of the Sierra Nevada, and returned to their lowland homes in the fall. This annual pattern (transhumance), with established ranches and farms in the lower elevations and summer camps and pasturages in the high mountain meadows, is rapidly disappearing. Threatened with the diminishing price of beef to producers, difficulties in transporting livestock to their summer ranges, and environmental regulations, this 160-year old California tradition may disappear in the near future. This exhibit will recount stories from historic cattle ranching families in the foothills, highlight current environmental and economic challenges and address the effects of its continued operation on mountain ecosystems.
The work on this project is made possible with support from Cal Humanities, a Non-Profit partner of the national Endowment for the Humanities.