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Successes along the Summit Trail in the Santa Rosa Wilderness

Working for butterflies and hikers at Griffith Peak

Barbed-wire miracles on the Sheldon

Upcoming volunteer projects and events

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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 aren’t 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

Mt Charleston butterfly (c) Jose WittWorking 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 doesn’t 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. “It’s 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.