Hal Hamblin is a fifth generation rancher in the Kanab, Utah, area. He grazes cattle on the same land allotments his great-grandfather ran cattle on a century ago. He is related to Jacob Hamblin.
He was twelve years old when he started being an extra in Westerns such as the television series “Death Valley Days.” His family put their horses in the movies and he said the $35/day you could make in the 1950s was big money.
Tourists now flock to Kanab to see where the movies were made and to see the Cowboy life. Hal tells stories about the cowboy way of life in various productions.
Hamblin’s ranching operation has been impacted by the restrictions resulting from U.S. President Bill Clinton’s establishment of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in 1996. Hamblin said in 2019, “The rules and regulations that they’ve put in are destroying the land.” Hamblin said ranchers can’t extend or move water lines within their allotments to bring water to the traveling cattle; they can’t fence riparian areas; they can’t bring in foreign material, such as rock or gravel, to slow down erosion in washes, and they can’t take other erosion controlling measures; they can’t cut cedar posts to repair fencing; they can’t maintain roads; they can’t bring in mechanical equipment in many areas; and they can’t implement brush control measures.
“By not allowing any management on the land, we have lost acres and acres to erosion and encroachment of pinyon-juniper,” Hamblin said. As a result, he said, his operation cannot sustain as many cattle as it once did.