Sierra Tel’s 320-page 2017 phone directory features a cover photo of a Bohna family cattle drive - a part of Madera County history started in 1959 by Coarsegold cattleman Henry Bohna Jr. - a tradition that continues today.
The cover photo was taken by Diane Bohna, daughter of the the late Henry Bohna Jr., and she also wrote the back inside cover of the directory, detailing the history of the Bohna family and the historic cattle drives.
The new directory includes business and residential phone numbers for Oakhurst, Ahwahnee, Bass Lake, Fish Camp, Yosemite, Coarsegold, Raymond, North Fork, Mariposa, Cathy’s Valley, Coulterville, Hornitos, Mt. Bullion and Midpines.
The directories also include useful information including government representatives, emergency preparedness and emergency numbers, senior services, caller ID blocking, Sierra Tel customer services, schools, community information, maps and a calendar of events.
Nearly 23,000 copies of the the phone book will be distributed through the mail starting Jan. 2 and additional copies of the book will be available at the Sierra Tel office, 49150 Crane Valley Road (426) in mid-Feburary.
Family cowboy tradition
When you think of the traditional American cowboy, the image of a person decked out in chaps, boots, a Stetson and jingling spurs probably comes to mind – and that is actually pretty accurate, Bohna writes. Cowboys come in all shapes and sizes, and are both male and female. Their job includes helping with calving, branding, repairing fences and corrals, and gathering and driving cattle.
The Bohna Family, a well known, long time Coarsegold ranching family, has been driving cattle from Coarsegold and Raymond down to the Valley and up to the high country for years.
From 1959 - 1968, Henry Bohna Jr. moved his herd from the Coarsegold area down to the Adobe Ranch in Madera for the summer months. These cattle drives were at night to avoid the extreme heat in the San Joaquin Valley. A full moon was often chosen to drive under so light could light the way.
In 1968, the Bohnas acquired a High Sierra Permit, and from then on the herd was driven from where the current Coarsegold Rodeo grounds are located and cross country for seven days. All the while, the herd gained 7,000 feet in elevation and crossed the raging San Joaquin River with its fast moving cold water from the Sierra Mountain Range snow melt.
The daughter of Henry Jr., Diane began helping on the cattle drives at the age of 4. She believes her father was the master of cowboy ethics and a true cattleman, and that he passed an abundance of life lessons down to her that gave her a good foundation for learning the art of driving cattle.
“He taught that the key to driving cattle is in reading the herd, from the energetic front to the slow moving drag, making that the art of getting them to their destination,” Diane said.
Diane continues to carry on the family tradition of driving cattle. Family, including Diane’s husband and daughter, and friends drive the cattle to and from the high country annually. During the summer months, the cattle fatten up in the Sierras by grazing on lush grasses, getting plenty of water and thriving in cooler conditions in a natural environment.
Around the beginning of October, Diane and the cowboys gather the cattle off of the 38,000 acres of open range of Iron Creek above Fish Camp, and begin the approximate 80-mile drive lasting over four days that ends in Raymond. A portion of the drive requires closing Highway 41 in Fish Camp and also Highway 49 while the herd is driven on Road 628 past the Hitching Post and onto Road 619.
Though other methods might be easier, and certainly more modern, Diane holds dear to the traditions of her father. Cattle drives, rope brandings, good working ranch horses and tracking dogs harvest the cowboy ethics that she will always value.
The television network BBC accompanied the drive in 2015 and the televised documentary came out Oct. 16 this year.
“The iconic cowboy represents the best of America - the courage, optimism and plain hard work. Cowboys are heroic not just because they do a dangerous job, but also because they stand for something - the simple, basic values that lie at the heart of the cowboy way. Even though their way of life has changed over the last 150 years, cowboys still honor and live by their code. They are an abiding source of inspiration to do better and be better than we are.” - Center For Cowboy Ethics And Leadership
Cowboy Code of the West
☆ Live each day with courage.
☆ Take pride in your work.
☆ Always finish what you start.
☆ Do what has to be done.
☆ Be tough, but fair.
☆ When you make a promise, keep it.
☆ Ride for the brand.
☆ Talk less and say more.
☆ Remember that some things aren’t for sale.
☆ Know where to draw the line.