WildCorps – Hitch 9


This hitch saw us way back out Shoshone way, where the horned lark and the chuckwalla roam. Our workplace was the Salt Creek Hills ACEC, while the Little Dumont Dunes we called home. Due to major last minute changes to our schedule, the job we were tasked with was renovating any and all facets of the interpretive trail at Salt Creek, which has not seen much maintenance since its installation in the mid 1990’s. Our work began with a basic cleanup of the trail; realigning rocks which lined the trail, installing steps at a stream crossing, rerouting around eroded banks, and learning about the sensitivities of the riparian and historical mining area itself. We then moved on to a picnic area beneath an athel grove, from whence we brought light back into that which had nought but shadows. After much chainsawing, pruning, trimming, and brushdragging, we proceeded to produce a prodigious pocket for practical picnicking. From the athel grove we spread out with various trimming apparatus, removing the reach of mesquite branches from passersby and loosing the tamarisk infestation from the runs of Salt Creek. Upon attempt to learn more about the trail, it was discovered that the majority of the informative signs at the trailhead kiosks and within the trail itself were illegible due to vandalism, the elements, and poor material. Thus we took stock of the BLM office yard and pulled forth from its depths a full replacement set of Salt Creek signs, which were soon thereafter fitted and installed in place of the decrepit. The same was done with several carsonites which demarcated the trail; more carsonites were installed in new locations as well to further aid the traveler. The end of the trail furthest from the parking lot bordered the Little Dumont Dunes off-highway vehicle recreation area, which meant lots of incursions and cut fences in to the Area of Critical Environmental Concern. The cut smoothwire fences were mended, incursions swept, and each of the signs indicating “no vehicular travel beyond this point” which had been shot and otherwise mutilated were replaced. A wooden set of fence-crossover steps was also repaired and refitted with a more user-friendly handrail. Our hitch also involved a field trip to Death Valley National Park for some environmental education.