An immigrant family in California’s Central Valley faces the loss of their land and way of life. One of the few remaining ranching families in the Bay Area watches urban sprawl creep in from every direction. Cowboys work in the shadow of the historic Hearst Castle. Wildlife find refuge on the biggest expanse of private land in Southern California. One of the largest Black landowners in the state discovers Native American artifacts on his ranch. Presented by California Rangeland Trust and directed by Keely Brazil Covello and Michaela Brazil Gillies, You Just Can’t See Them From the Road is a documentary portrait of modern West Coast ranchers—invisible to and misunderstood by the rapidly modernizing society they sustain.
The Elgorriaga family is one of the families featured in You Just Can’t See Them From the Road.
They are an honest and hardworking Basque-American family fighting to hold onto their land, livestock, and way of life in California’s Central Valley.
Most agricultural operations operate off debt capital, and the Elgorriaga family is no exception. To sustain their ranch into the future and ensure they would have access to a viable water supply, the family purchased a property adjacent to their home ranch. But that purchase involved debt. After years of battling unfavorable weather and market conditions, while also trying to comply with costly regulations, their ability to service the debt on their ranch has been challenging.
Having already had to sell off a portion of the ranch to make payments, the family hopes to avoid a similar fate. Instead, they are pursuing a conservation easement with the California Rangeland Trust to ease their financial burdens and simultaneously protect their beloved ranch in perpetuity.
What we stand to lose is more than just land. It’s safety against out-of-control wildfires, it’s our connection to the earth and one another, it’s the real food we eat, and the very air we breathe. It’s our livelihoods and the health of our children’s children that we must protect today. Ranchers, like the Elgorriagas, are fighting every day to ensure we all can have access to these gifts of the land. YOU can fight alongside them.
DONATE today to conserve the Elgorriaga Ranch and others like it. Together, we can secure a brighter future for all through Rangeland Conservation.
Keely Brazil Covello and Michaela Brazil Gillies are sisters and filmmakers. The daughters of ranch veterinarians in remote Northern California, they came together to co-create Go West Media after attending school and working in major cities across the country, inspired to bridge the rural-urban divide through storytelling. Keely and Michaela currently live in Orange County, California.
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