In the long history of the development of Bear Valley since the gold rush days of 1860, no
enterprise was more unique than that of Fox Farming.
The raising of foxes for their magnificent furs dates from the 1890ís, when Canadians Sir
Charles Dalton and Robert Oulton were able to develop a consistent strain of valuable silver
foxes from the common red fox.
Because demand was high, prices good and profits large, many in the northern area became fox
ranchers, including the successful R. T. Moore of Maine.
He heard about the climate of Bear Valley and realized it was ideal for fox raising. The high
altitude and dry air eliminated many internal and external pests, while the cool summer nights,
seasonal changes and cold winters were ideal for the industry.
In the 1920ís, Moore purchased 84 acres east of the Pine Knot, which he named the Borestone
Ranch, and quickly built extensive pens and kennels.
Today this site is bordered by Fox Farm Road, Teakwood Drive, Crater Lake Road, and the rocky
hills on the north.
The pen-raised silver foxes were flighty, nervous, unpredictable and required diligent care and
feeding. Superior breeding pairs would bring $2,000 to $3,000 and fine pelts would command as
much as $1,100.
The Walter McAllister family arrived in Bear Valley from Seattle on November 11, 1928 to take
over the management of the All Star Fox Farm Ranch. During the next decade, the business
prospered, even though these were Depression years. With a strong market, the All Star doubled
in size in the 1930ís when it took over the Wortley Ranch. During these peak years, there were
27 different fox farms between Sky Forest near Arrowhead and the Smart Ranch east of Cactus
Flat, eight being large, full-time operations. In this period, the All Star was producing more
than 1,000 pelts a year.
In 1936, the superb quality of Bear Valley furs was proven worthy when a large consignment to
the International Fur Exchange in London brought the highest prices of any shipment ever made.
In the early years, the sale of breeding stock was the prime
objective in Fox Farming, because it was much more profitable than
selling pelts. The quality of these animals was diligently
controlled by the official Fox Farmers Association, which
established strict rules. Each animal was inspected for color and
conformation. If accepted for registration, the fox was tattooed in
an ear. Those that failed were then pelted.
In the 1930's, Fox Farming was Bear Valley's second most important industry after cattle ranching.
The demise of the fox fur industry was the result of several factors: the increased cost of
food, a 20% luxury tax, and Russia and other lend-lease countries dumped shiploads of fur on the