Tree Foundation of Kern

About Kern County

Located in the heart of California, a horseshoe shaped rim of mountains surrounds the San Joaquin Valley portion of Kern County. With over 8,000 square miles, part of the Mojave Desert, containing Edwards Air Force Base and China Lake Naval Weapons Center, is in Kern County. Historically, the mountain passes provided the only year-round connection for travelers making their way through California.

A river runs through it: the mighty Kern River. Originating at Mt. Whitney, it enters Kern County at Lake Isabella and empties into Buena Vista Lake near Taft, carrying snow melt from the mountains to the fertile Valley floor, and providing a major source of irrigation and recreation. Elevations range from 270 feet in the Valley to 8,300 feet in the mountains. As a result, there are three distinct climate zones in Kern County: Mountain, Desert and Valley. Rainfall averages 3 to 7 inches in Valley and Desert areas, and 10 to 40 inches in the Mountains. Summers are dry, with no rain between June and September. Summer humidity is less than 40% with 9 out of 10 days of sunshine in the Desert, slightly fewer in the Valley.

A little over half million people reside in Kern County, 282,000 in the City of Bakersfield and an additional 175,000 in metropolitan Bakersfield. The population is expected to double to 1.2 million by 2010.