Fences. Fences. Fences.
On June 16th, Jenna Dohman and Asher Hudson began their work with the Leadore Range crew. Most projects were located within an hour radius of Moyer base. Their main tasks involved monitoring fences on land owned by the Forest Service. In the region, cattle are a very important resource and thus making sure fences are well maintained and functioning properly is a high priority.
Over the course of two weeks, a number of fences were monitored in areas including Camas Creek, 4th of July Creek, and Napias Creek. Monitoring involves a great deal of hiking; the hiking is mostly alongside fences where the task is to look for any damage or weak points on the fence. In some cases, cattle or other wildlife have broken the fences while other times trees have fallen down and destroyed part of the fence. Minor problems could be fixed upon discovery, such as small trees putting pressure on the fence that could be sawed off or loose barbed wire that could be tightened using fence pliers. For more serious problems, such as trees 1.5ft in diameter that have fallen on the fence, photographs of the damage were taken along with GPS coordinates of the location. This information would be passed along to the Forest Service Range Crew. During the first week, the SCA members were trained on how to build H-braces to stabilize fences as well as how to properly fix a barbed wire fence. On the second week of hitch, the project was based in Leadore. Forest Service worked together with the local ranchers on a jack fence in the Holly Creek area. About twenty people, twelve dogs and four horses came together to build 440ft of new jack fence. This involved a lot of organizing lumber into bundles while horses pulled lumber to the correct location on the fence saving the workers a great deal of manpower. The day was spent moving and holding lumber while hammers pounded spikes into the fence to hold it all together. It was really satisfying to see the final product.
On this first hitch, almost 3 miles of fence were monitored. The SCA crew assisted in the construction of 455ft of fence and repaired 120 feet of fence. Much more fence monitoring and repairing is in their future. They look forward to more hiking in the beautiful terrain of the Salmon-Challis National Forest while having the opportunity to work in a field that is so vital to Idaho’s economy.