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Autumn 2021



 


Bobcats on the Preserve

 

Bobcat Pass Trail

The Bobcat Pass trail is on the north side of the Kern River in the Panorama Vista Preserve. It was named for the numerous bobcat sightings along that trail.  The trail starts across the street from the Preserve equestrian staging area/parking lot where you will see the Educational Interpretative sign “Where Once There Was A Sea.”  Follow the trail east along the river all the way to the Rocky Point Weir, where it crosses the weir and connects with the Egrets Glen Trail.

Bobcats on the Preserve

Bobcats have a distinctive stubby or “bobbed” tail which gives them their name. They have black streaks on the body and dark bars in the forelegs and tail. They have sharp hearing and vision and a good sense of smell.  They are excellent climbers and swim when they need to but normally avoid water. They can weigh from 14 to 40 pounds and stand about 24 inches high. Their average lifespan is seven years but rarely exceeds 10 years.  They are active mostly during twilight hours. They are primarily territorial, they have numerous places of shelter, usually a main den and several auxiliary shelters on the outer extent of their range such as hollow logs, brush piles, thickets or under rock ledges.

Bobcats are able to survive for long periods without food but eat heavily when prey is abundant. They hunt animals of different sizes such as rabbits, squirrels, moles, muskrats, mice, birds, fish and insects.  They can also kill skunks, raccoons, small dogs and domesticated cats.  They have been known to kill deer and other animals up to eight times their weight.

Bobcats are not known to be aggressive to people, they are more likely to walk away or climb a tree. However, to be safe, individuals need to respect them and keep their distance from them as they are prey animals and the Preserve is their home.

Close Bobcat Encounter, a personal story. 
by Carolyn Belli

I was riding my horse on Mojo’s Pass on the Panorama Vista Preserve one morning, when exiting through some bushes I came face to face with two bobcats. We all stopped about three feet apart and looked each other over; they were not afraid of me or my horse and we were not afraid of them. 

The larger one left after a couple of minutes but the smaller one sat looking us over and we looked back at the beautiful animal for a few minutes longer; I was mesmerized. I did not want to leave until I decided it would be a good idea to move on before the larger bobcat came back for the smaller one.  It was an awesome experience. Although I have seen many bobcats in the years I have ridden on the Preserve I had never seen them up so close. My only regret was I did not bring my phone so did not get any photos. Still, it was an experience I will never forget. 


Trail of Interpretive Signs

 

Did you know Panorama Vista Preserve has many miles of equestrian, walking, hiking and non-motorized bicycle trails throughout the Preserve?  Most trails have trail posts with each trail name on it, some have the GPS designation in case of need.  Our new brochure has a map of the Preserve listing all those trails and their corresponding names.

One trail has twelve educational interpretative signs about the Preserve’s history, plants, animals and endangered species.  This two-mile circle trail begins on Bobcat Pass, just southeast of the Preserve Parking/Equestrian Staging lot on East Roberts Lane.  One can see the first sign entitled “Where Once There Was a Sea” from the road adjacent to the Parking Lot.  Each sign has a bench beside it for stopping and resting.  Each bench can be converted into a small table if one would like to stop and have a snack.
 

 

Milkweed Project- Progress Update


This past Spring, the Panorama Vista Preserve joined with seven other sites across California in the Monarch Butterfly and Pollinator Rescue Program, funded by a grant from the California Wildlife Conservation Board. We planted both Narrowleaf Milkweed (Asclepias fascicularis) and Desert Milkweed (A. erosa). The plants have matured nicely, and PVP volunteers will soon be harvesting seeds from the drying seedpods (seen in the photo on the right, above are seedpods from the Desert Milkweed.)
The hope is that restoration efforts to bring back these native milkweeds will help the population of Monarchs recover by providing food, shelter, and egg-laying places for the butterflies during their long annual migration.

Science Camp


We are sorry to announce that the Fall 2021 Science Camp has been postponed to Spring 2022. We'll look forward to seeing the students then!
 

New speed bumps installed!

On August 22, 2021 four speedbumps were installed on the Panorama Vista Preserve road inside the controlled white gate at the parking lot (East Roberts Lane extension).  Three are on the straight road between the controlled gate and PVP’s white gate at the end of the road, and one at the crosswalk between PVP’s white gate and River Ranches Homes.  These have long been needed to help control speeding along that road due to equestrians, walkers, bikers and our many little wild critters who use that road also.  The speed limit within the Preserve is 15 miles per hour.

West of the gate on East Roberts Lane, three speed bumps were installed by the private property owners along that stretch of the road.  In both cases, the speed bumps are painted white and can be easily seen by drivers.


Local groups advocate for the Kern River

 
Can you imagine seeing water in the Kern River every Spring, maybe even into the summer? Some of us are old enough to remember when that was a frequent occurrence. And most of us would like to see it again. Thanks to a reinvigorated effort by the City of Bakersfield and a new coalition of nonprofit groups, that might become a reality.
The Kern River Corridor Endowment- the non-profit group that owns and operates the Panorama Vista Preserve- has joined with other non-profits including the Kern River Parkway Foundation, Bring Back the Kern, the Kern Audubon Society, and the Kern-Kaweah chapter of the Sierra Club, to form the “Flowing Kern Coalition.” This coalition, along with a statewide environmental advocacy group called California Trout and the national Center for Biological Diversity, intends to represent the public’s interest in getting water back into the Kern River again.
This effort has taken on a new intensity recently, after more than a decade of legal stagnation. In 2007, a judge ruled that a local agricultural water district had forfeited water rights due to non-use. Rather than deciding who would own the forfeited water, the judge deferred the decision to the California State Water Board, who has let more than a decade lapse without making any decision. Now, after more than 13 years, the State Water Board held a hearing last month to begin the process of sorting out the complex issues surrounding this case. First of all, the state has to determine whether there is any extra water that can be reallocated, and if there is, how much. Only after that has been determined will the state then decide which of several interested parties should receive the extra water. Of the half-dozen or so interested parties, only the City of Bakersfield has committed to flowing the allocated water down the Kern River through the City of Bakersfield.
The key to the argument being made by the city and the Flowing Kern Coalition is the “public trust doctrine,” which, according to Lois Henry in her SJV Water newsletter, is the idea that the public has a right to natural resources, and the state holds that right in trust on behalf of the public. The attorney hired by the FKC reiterated that point repeatedly during last month’s hearing.
At this point, it’s impossible to know how much of an impact this will have on the parched Kern River Parkway. But even a small amount of water, flowing for only part of the year, could have a huge impact. The riparian habitat that has largely died off on both banks of the river downstream of the Panorama Vista Preserve could begin to recover, providing a much improved view along Truxtun Avenue, or from the many bridges that cross over the river. Water in the hot months would provide recreation and respite from the heat for many of our citizens who don’t have the luxury of a backyard swimming pool. And more specific to the Panorama Vista Preserve, the additional water in the river would help recharge the underground water table, which according to Carolyn Belli, the President of the Panorama Vista Preserve, “would be a huge plus for the Preserve as the survival of the trees during drought would be guaranteed.”
What happens next is not at all clear. The rules that govern the Kern River are different than just about every other river in California, and the process is likely to take a substantial amount of time. The Hearing Officer in charge of the case needs time for additional research, and will announce a schedule of hearings at a later date.

Thank you for your generous donation
  • Bakersfield North Rotary
  • Marjorie Bell
  • Buena Vista Group Sierra Club
  • Mic & Kay Hall
  • Team Ibprofun


Points of Historical Interest- Gordon's Ferry

 

Before 1853, the swift and dangerous currents of the Kern River were a barrier for east-west travel.  Travelers couldn’t go east or west down the San Joaquin Valley for the valley was covered by a large marshy lake called Kern Lake.  It was formed by the Kern River Water which had no outlet to the ocean. The gold rush of 1840 brought thousands of prospectors to California’s Mother Lode region. Travel was difficult as they had to come down on the other side of the mountains or the hills on the west side of the valley.  

In 1852 Major Aneas B. Gordon saw the need for a ferry crossing over the Kern River.  He was granted a tax free, eight month license to operate a ferry and sell goods and liquor on the Kern River.  By 1853 Gordon had built and began operating a ferry across the river on the north east side of what is now Panorama Vista Preserve, opening an important transportation link for travelers in the valley. 

The ferry was a flat-bottomed boat that was pulled across the river by a cable strung overhead.  Once people, wagons and livestock had boarded, the ferry operators pulled the ferry across the river to the landing on the other side where passengers disembarked and continued on their way.

In 1857 Congress passed the Overland California Mail Act, creating a stagecoach service carrying mail and passengers across the west to California.  The Butterfield Stage Company would establish a station at Gordon’s Ferry which was called Kern River Station. Gordon’s Ferry crossing at that time consisted of a handful of low adobe buildings and corrals on both banks of the Kern.  With the advent of the stage service, a stagecoach and horses were kept on each side of the river so passengers could disembark the stage on one side, take the ferry across the river, have a meal, and board the next stage waiting to take them to their destinations.

As the city of Bakersfield emerged and the population grew, competition from other ferries and eventually bridges put Gordon’s Ferry out of business in 1877.

Gordon’s Ferry was registered in 1915 by State Department of Natural Resources as a California historic site.  There is an historical monument marker south west of the current bridge on China Grade Loop.

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Panorama Vista Preserve is located at:
901 East Roberts Lane, Bakersfield, California, 93308
(the parking lot is about 100 yds. east of the sign) 

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PanoramaVistaPreserve · 901 E Roberts Ln · Bakersfield, Ca 93308 · USA

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