Papoose Meadows: The End of an Era

Cabin and water tank at Papoose, 2011.
Cabin and water tank at Papoose, 2011. Courtesy of Scott Grometer

In the mid-1880s when Albert Gallatin started purchasing property at Eagle Lake, his main intent was to use the region for summer grazing of sheep. He also owned a substantial ranch in Tehama County.  After his death in 1905, his widow, Malvena, scaled back the ranching operations, and most of it was leased to other operators. In 1946, Malvena sold all her Eagle Lake properties to the Lassen Lumber & Box Company.

In 1947, Papoose Meadows through a land exchange between the Lassen Lumber & Box Company and the Lassen National Forest became part of the public domain. Initially, Earl McKenzie had leased Papoose from Gallatin, which the forest service honored. In 1952, Lyman Willard succeeded McKenzie with the now forest service lease. The permit allowed for 470 head of cattle, though Willard did not own that many, so he shared the permit with Elwin and George Roney.  In 1966, Willard’s son-in-law and daughter, Bill and Jean Barton came to assist with the Willard operation. In addition, Wally and Billie Roney, like the Bartons, came into the fold of the operations.

It could also be called an omen when the barn at Papoose partially collapsed in 1995.  Within the next ten years relations with the forest service had become so strained that the Bartons and Roneys gave up the lease. In September 2013, the forest service demolished the cabin and water tower.

For a brief period there were riding stables at Papoose, that to be addressed in a future post.


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