The latest with Bar O Boys Ranch

By Donna Westfall – November 14, 2017 – 32 miles from Crescent City, up into the wilderness that makes up Gasquet, lies the 40 acres compound known as Bar O Boys Ranch.  For over six decades at- risk boys were placed there from various parts of the State.

For a historical look at the Ranch, you can listen to Ernie Bachelor’s story on about taking a job there 58 years ago that is both humorous and factual.  His narrative runs about 17 minutes specially the part about the mountain lions providing security.  They would see paw prints in the sand by the Smith River, hear their screams at night and runaways were not a problem.

At the August 8, 2017 Board of Supervisors meeting, (BOS) the decision was made to shut down Bar O.  Just when you thought the Ranch was closing or closed, it appeared on the BOS agenda today’s date.  According to Chief Probation Officer, Lonnie Reyman, the closure of the facility was effective in September. The one remaining item was in regards to Napa County.  They had to clean up “documentation and billing for both of our counties so that we have all the necessary pieces in place to close out billing for past Napa county youth housed at Bar-O. There was some bookkeeping that had to be finalized and that’s it.”

Employees were provided layoff notices.  While working with the union, seven employees were transferred to Juvenile Hall Division.  Some retired, some resigned and only two were laid off.

As to the future, Reyman said, ” County administration and building maintenance are currently overseeing the facility and any future use.”



14 Responses to The latest with Bar O Boys Ranch

  1. Joseph A. Smith Reply

    August 29, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Bar O Boys ranch was my home for 11 months. Steven Justice was the administrator of the ranch at that time. Alan Smith became administrator shortly after my arrival. The curriculum and disciplined teachings of Bar O, to me are to this day. Bar none, the best. Joseph A. Smith

    • Jason Reply

      October 1, 2019 at 9:36 pm

      Mr Smith and Mr Dave. Ha, this is really too bad.

  2. James W Isgrigg Reply

    June 14, 2019 at 2:09 pm

    My name is Jimmy Isgrigg I was at bar o back in 1975 it was the best thing that ever happened to me. Great program awesome experience beautiful location. I learned a lot

  3. Tim Lockwood Reply

    January 2, 2019 at 4:07 pm

    Wow WTF your lack of understanding is well is lacking. Your a joke and are clueless, out of touch with life in general. Don’t make senseless comments if you don’t know what you are talking about.

    • Webmaster Reply

      January 3, 2019 at 10:15 am

      If you know more, why don’t you put down some facts instead of making nonsensical comments? Where is there a lack of understanding?
      Clueless about what? What are the facts that you know?

      • Tim Lockwood Reply

        May 20, 2019 at 2:24 pm

        I was responding to a comment the WTF made not the article, he had made some really negative comments about BarO that I don’t see anymore. This place was a game changer for me! BarO corrected my path changed my thought process and created a humbled person. I agree somewhat with WTF that the responsibility belongs with parents but programs like this are a necessity for young men to get the direction they aren’t getting from home. Thank you BarO and all of the counselors MR Smith, MR Greener, so many people that worked there when I was there I don’t remember MR Appell for everything you did for me!!!!

  4. Fred Voss Reply

    January 19, 2018 at 3:58 pm

    Frederic Voss

    In 1958 I was in Bar-O. Stayed there about 7-8 months then was send back to Sacramento for some more rigamarole. Bar-O was by far the best of the places I frequented as a youth. Staff was straight forward and fair, food was good; there was not any hot water when the first of us got there, but there there was no school teachers either, so things balanced out nicely.
    Funny, I called Bar-O earlier this evening and a guy with a strong Asian-Indian ascent blubbered on about something. I heard a lot of shouting in the background, sounded like guys having a good time. I hung up. Are you sure the place is closed?

  5. Steve Killian Reply

    December 8, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    This is sad. I had no idea Bar O Boys ranch was closed. This is one of if not the best juvenile program in the state. I was there back in the mid 90’s. The program along with it’s great counselors is the reason why I am successful today. These people truly turned my life around. I can’t believe there wasn’t a way to save this program.


  6. Nicholas Maietta Reply

    November 16, 2017 at 5:45 am

    I must have missed something here. What are the reasons why it was closed down and where did all of the inmates go?

    • Webmaster Reply

      November 16, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      In August of this year, there were only 3 boys remaining. The County was running a deficit keeping the Ranch open. The State put in new models on how to deal with juvenile corrections. Bar O became obsolete.

      • Gasquet Reply

        November 17, 2017 at 11:36 pm

        Nicolas asked (WHY? NOT YOUR OPINION, WTF) If you must know other counties stopped sending their juvenile delinquents here and the money to house the boys disappeared. These counties either send to California youth authority or group home. All to supposedly save a couple bucks. And the boys now Will be through the revolving door forever, when they’d been successful after leaving there. I KNOW. IT’S SAVED MY LIFE.

        • Gasquet Reply

          November 18, 2017 at 1:05 am

          Sorry the response was aimed at (WTF) not webmaster.

        • WTF Reply

          November 18, 2017 at 3:45 pm

          Hi Gasquet:

          I will equate the juvenile delinquency problem, to adult criminals (some will get there some day). There is not enough space to house them. It’s that simple. That was the determination made by the State. What is the core problem? Bad parenting, I’m sorry to say. Parents who don’t care, parents who don’t communicate with their children, parents that have decided they don’t have time to raise their children. That is not opinion, sadly, that is fact.

          It does not mean that we ignore it and hope like hell it goes away, however. Let’s try and get “performance measures” that require parents to participate at school with their kids. Let’s mandate parenting classes for those feeling overwhelmed. Let’s set down the smart phones and computer games for a spell and communicate with our kids. If we don’t get going now, we’ll self-distruct.

          Based on high school drop-out rates, increases in CPS caseloads, illiteracy, drug abuse, homelessness- we know that throwing government money in the wrong directions will not solve it. Or am I wrong?

          I’m very glad that you were able to turn your life around. I hope you are serving as an example for others.

  7. WTF Reply

    November 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    It truly is a shame that Bar-O was closed. That being said, we continue to put band-aids on a lack of responsible parenting. At some point, we (Government) are going to have to social-engineer to make dead-beat parents more accountable. The school drop-out rates, lack of reading ability and speaking skills should not happen in a civilized society. It will all hit the fan at some point.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.