September 22, 2011
Successes along the Summit Trail in the Santa Rosa Wilderness
At a mere 280,000 acres, the Santa Rosa Ranger District is the
smallest Ranger District in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest. But it has one of
the longest and prettiest trails in the state: the Summit Trail.
This trail, used by hunters, hikers, ranchers, and backpackers
has trailheads bracketing the extreme north and south sides of the Santa Rosa/Paradise
Peak Wilderness. This creates a traverse on which visitors who walk the 32 miles will
see much of what lies within this wilderness.
The Summit trail has not seen a whole lot of maintenance the
last couple of years. This year, in cooperation with the district, Friends of Nevada
Wilderness set out to begin what we hope to be years of care and stewardship on this
wonderful backcountry trail. So far in 2011, Friends' volunteers have cut back 12 miles
of encroaching brush, fixed 3 critically-eroded areas that were hammered by this year's
big winter, and logged out 53 downed trees.
Wes and Mike logging out a downed tree on the Summit Trail (c) Wes Hoskins
In addition, Friends staff and volunteers have documented campsites
along the whole trail. We arent done either. We will hold a National Public
Lands Day event on the trail at the end of September.
Recently, Friends signed a cooperative agreement with the
Humboldt-Toiyabe Forest to hire a small trail crew to work on the Summit Trail for
a short term until the snow flies.
Finally, you are invited to volunteer and camp with us on a
stewardship trip to continue restoring this spectacular trail.
Volunteer above Rebel Creek (c) Wes Hoskins
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Working for butterflies and hikers at Griffith Peak
Log work for the trail (c) Jose Witt
Working together for butterflies and hikers, over 20 Friends
of Nevada Wilderness volunteers participated in a two-week-long trail project near
the top of Griffith Peak in the Mt. Charleston Wilderness. Friends raised money
through a generous grant from REI to reroute the trail out of important habitat
for the Mt. Charleston butterfly. This shy, blue creature is found on only a few acres
and now it doesnt have to share them with hikers.
Dressing the trail (c) Jose Witt
Jose Witt, Stewardship Coordinator, headed up the volunteer
project which was a partnership with the Forest Service and other volunteer and
wilderness groups. Volunteers had to hike a 3,000-foot elevation gain to the project
site. Friends hired a local packer to bring up about 1,800 pounds of water, mostly,
and some supplies to support the volunteers.
Pack string hauling supplies into the wilderness (c) Kurt Kuznicki
The Griffith Peak trail project created a community of folks
who have taken real ownership of their public lands and built something that will be
there for the future, said Kurt Kuznicki, Friends Southern Nevada Director. A big
thanks to everyone who made this possible.
Volunteers are ready to set out from the trailhead (c) Kurt Kuznicki
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Barbed-wire miracles on the Sheldon
One of several "Monuments to Scrap Metal" (barbed-wire fence) accumulated by the Sheldon crew (c) Anna Breen
In a months-long project, volunteers and crew members from
Friends of Nevada Wilderness and the Oregon Natural Desert Association removed
over 75 miles of barbed-wire fencing from the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge
in northeastern Nevada. Over 1,200 hours of volunteer time was donated, for a total
in-kind value of $34,400.
Friends of Nevada Wilderness hosted trips to the refuge,
bringing volunteers to work with the four-person crew.
Carrying removed fence and stake-pullers (c) Anna Breen
Lucas Alvarez decided to help public lands in Nevada, coming
up to spend his summer pulling out barbed-wire fence. I like Nevada, I think
Sheldon is a unique piece of Nevada, said Lucas.
Anna Breen, assistant crew leader, spent 3 months pulling
and packing out fence while appreciating the wild landscape around her. The crew
lived on the refuge in a stone cabin courtesy of the USFWS venturing out to
restock every two or three weeks. Its something different, I like the
adventure of it, Anna said.
Anna also had a chance to spend her off time exploring the
refuge and spent August hunting with her archery tag for an antelope. Despite three
treks stalking pronghorns with her 50-pound bow, she came up empty handed. You have
to get within like 30 yards to hit it with a bow! she reasoned.
Sheldon crew: Mike, Caleb, Lucas and Anna spent the summer on the Sheldon (c) photographer unknown
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Upcoming volunteer projects and events
Friends of Nevada Wilderness offers up lots of fun opportunities
to help your Nevada wildlands heal and prosper.
Friday, September 23 — Sunday, September 25 National Public Lands Day
in the Santa Rosa Wilderness
Stewardship — Contact Wes at (775) 762-6730 or
(775) 324-7667 or send Wes an email for all
the details of this trip to a beautiful part of Wild Nevada — just an hour's drive
north of Winnemucca.
Contact Friends at (775) 324-7667 or by email for
more information or to RSVP for a project.
More projects will be announced as they are scheduled. See
later emails and the
stewardship events page.