29 August 2013

A Working Ranch in Carbon Canyon

Earlier this year, the opportunity came up for a rare experience in Carbon Canyon these days: the chance to visit a working ranch.  Two visits allowed for the opportunity to see and explore the Chino Hills spread, which includes two houses dating, it is said, back to the early 1900s, barns, stables, other outbuildngs, grazing areas, and open space for the property, which is something around 80 acres in extent.

The first trip involved walking through part of the ranch, especially the barns and stables and walking around the two residences.  On the other excursion, while the owner was away, his father led a personal tour for this blogger by electric cart through the rolling hills, small canyons or gullies, and other portions of the ranch, where an old water collection point was seen, oxen found grazing on pastures and hillsides, and information about the work done so far by his son was given.  On both visits, some amazing views of nearby areas was to be had.

At the barns and stables, there were a variety of animals, as well, including horses, chickens, goats and more and it looked like most of the structures there had either been built or remodeled by the current owners, who also did a lot with the houses, roads, fencing and other elements of the property.

Not very much of the history was learned about the place, the owner having bought the ranch less than a decade ago, being a nearby resident before discovering that it is was for sale.  With all of the investments, though, it is clear that he wants to be there for the long haul and keep it operating as a working ranch.  The canyon had several of these at one time, but this is really the last of its kind.  The photos give a decent idea of the special place this ranch really is.

The property is also is one of the last glimpses into what the canyon looked like prior to the development that, from the 1960s onward with subdivisions at Olinda Village, Western Hills Oaks and the Western Hills Country Club, began to transform the place.  Even now, a major approved subdivision could be breaking ground in the near future adjacent to this ranch.
Still, it appears very likely that, barring an offer too good to refuse, this property could be kept intact for as long as someone is willing to, which would seem to be a way to maintain a slice of Carbon Canyon that can only really be done there.

Let's hope that will be the case because the two visits here were really an experience, one of those rare instances in which you can feel like you're away from it all while still being near the slowly-encompassing development that inches along decade by decade.

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