Boundary fence – aka the fruit of the students’ labor!

28 03 2013

When the students finished work on the fence Tuesday, I was so excited, I forgot to take pix of said finished fence! So yesterday, on a near-perfect spring day in Disappointment Valley, I straddled my mountain bike for the first day this year and pedaled up to the boundary. I haven’t figured out a decent way to carry my camera while biking (it’s not little), so I apologize in advance for the crappy quality of these cell-phone images. But I believe they show the excellent quality of our new, student-built fence!

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I say, isn’t that a rockin’ mountain bike! Oh, wait, I mean, isn’t that a *tight* H-brace! This is at the road (the cattle guard  is immediately to the left), and the brace was loose. Despite the poor image quality, I think you can see the shiny new wire. The sign says something about no motorized vehicle access (because it’s McKenna Peak Wilderness Study Area).

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This was shot from in front of my bike looking up the fence line. Does it rock or what?!

Compare the above shot – brand-new fence – with the one below, the original fence, photo taken the previous weekend when the crew cleared the greasewood and other brush from the fence line so the students could build:

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This is from the other (west) side of the fence, looking back toward the road, but it’s the same section of fence.

WHAT A DIFFERENCE!

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The shadows don’t allow for much detail in this shot, but this is the first H-brace the students built, using the tree as the anchor. Notice the extra “padding” around the tree.

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Here’s a closer view. The staves protect the tree from wire biting into the bark – thank you (again), Tom Kelly, Forest Service fence-builder extraordinaire!

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This is the brace just to the left of the tree and shows – I hope – the somewhat intricate weaving of the wrap, which holds it all together.

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And here’s the fence continuing on up the hill.

Kudos again to the students for building this wildlife-friendly, mustang-protecting fence!


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4 responses

28 03 2013
baileytan

Great job! I am so glad they were able to get rid of that barbed wire.

28 03 2013
TJ

We got rid of the old barbed wire, but the two middle, new, strands of wire also are barbed. That’s probably because of the cattle also occasionally grazing in the herd area and outside, up to the eastern boundary. The top and bottom strands of wire are smooth, twisted wire, though.

22 03 2015
Shelly Bjerk

And how does the public gain entrance to see the wild horses? We went out for the first time in a few years and we couldn’t get in to see the horses. Sad thing. No longer are they wild, they are fenced in horses

23 03 2015
TJ

You couldn’t get into Spring Creek Basin … because of snow … wet roads? During dry weather, two main roads offer access to the basin from the northwestern (BLM road) and western (Road K20E) sides, and Disappointment Road runs along the southern portion for a few miles. Infrequently, mustangs are visible from the road.

Spring Creek Basin is surrounded by private and federal land, but as federally managed public land, it’s open to the public. Because of management constraints and other uses on that surrounding land, the herd management area is fenced (and bordered by natural boundaries). Outside those boundaries, the horses are not managed – and not protected. Although mustangs no longer really can be considered “free-roaming,” they clearly are wild.

At least one private landowner threatened to shoot mustangs that were on his land a few years ago when they went through holes in the fence created when someone cut the wires. The Missouri students helped fix that section, and for the last few years have rebuilt the fence from the road in an ongoing volunteer project.

Good fences keep the mustangs safe; they don’t make the mustangs less wild.

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