Why are Tehachapi residents territorial over snow?


Gabby Martin

Gabi Martin’s grandchildren sledding down a hill at Warrior Park.

Madeline Ruebush, Reporter

Tehachapi sees a lot of snow during the winter and that means that it sees a lot of people enjoying the snow. Enjoying the snow should be harmless and non-controversial, but some locals of Tehachapi have a problem with it, which tends to be a bit problematic…

In his post on the Facebook page “Tehachapi Raves and Rants” David Gerstenberger stated, “Can we not encourage bottom dwellers to come play in the snow…they obviously don’t live here, so tell them to stay the [expletive] home,” referring to people from Bakersfield and Lancaster.

This was followed by responses both agreeing and disagreeing.

Chad Self said, “it’s a simple question to ask but post after post says ‘NO’ and yet still seems like ‘outsiders’ still are careless and rude. There is no legal or safe place to play in the snow in Tehachapi,” agreeing with Gerstenberger.

Disagreeing with him, Peter Graff wrote, “Not a very healthy approach. They’re not bottom dwellers, they are…family’s just wanting to enjoy what we are blessed to live in.” He goes on to talk about how it would be more productive to guide people towards public parks.

But the former responses indicate the common thinking of a lot of people in Tehachapi. They call people from out of town “outsiders,” “flatlanders,” “bottom-dwellers,” and “low-landers” and rant about how “these people” leave trash and go on private property or how they don’t want them here at all.

This mindset generalizes everyone from outside Tehachapi negatively with no proof that they are necessarily the ones who littered. But people anywhere and everywhere can be disrespectful. Snow brings out both locals and non-locals to play and there is no way to tell them apart unless you are being racist or classist.

Additionally, visitors are a net good for Tehachapi. After playing in the snow, everyone wants a warm drink or meal and those without sufficient snow gear will shop in Tehachapi. Visitors boost the local economy and support local businesses.

Scott Steele’s children enjoying the snow at Warrior Park. HIs kids are on top of a snowy slide in their snow gear on a playground.
Scott Steele’s children enjoying the snow at Warrior Park. (Scott Steele)

Others in this Facebook discussion, such as Katrina Young Sills, in a different post in “Tehachapi Raves and Rants” mentions that the people who want to play in the snow should just go to Mammoth or some other place built for visitors to enjoy the snow. And while it is true that Tehachapi does not have a designated area to play in the snow, a lot of people cannot afford to travel to places such as Mammoth.

Instead, visitors who would like to enjoy the snow should stick to public areas such as parks. Central Park, Meadowbrook Park, Tehachapi Mountain Park, and Warrior Park are all good places to enjoy the snow and sled. One place that locals themselves take advantage of is the empty lot right next to the Walmart. The lot has hills galore and you won’t be disrupting any residents.

When it comes to enjoying the snow on private property, while it might seem innocent to ask someone, you need to remember that individuals are responsible for injuries acquired on their land and they don’t want to be sued. So, stick to public areas.

Come to Tehachapi and enjoy the snow! Just remember to be respectful of others’ property, stay safe, and to stick to public areas and parks.