Work prep

24 03 2014

It’s that time of year again: spring. And March in Spring Creek Basin means a couple of things: We’re already bemoaning the dry forecast, and we’re looking forward to the arrival of University of Missouri students who come for alternative spring break. “Alternative” because these kids don’t ditch the books for sun, sand and booze. Instead, they raise money to send themselves from Columbia, Missouri, to Southwest Colorado, here to complete work projects on public lands. And they go home with terrific memories – as opposed to (possibly?) no memory at all.

Alternative spring break is next week – Tuesday and Wednesday in Spring Creek Basin; Monday and Thursday on other public lands, including Sand Canyon, in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument. For more than a decade, Kathe Hayes with San Juan Mountains Association has coordinated projects for the students. Much work goes into the actual work, and this weekend was no exception. She put together a volunteer crew, which included nearly every member of a local family, and they did a little prep work for the continuing project to rebuild the basin’s southeastern boundary fence.


The day started with a pickup bed full of these: wooden fence staves. This is the third year we’ve worked on this stretch of fence line, and the starting point gets farther and farther away from the road. Our task was to carry these staves to this year’s starting point. The students will have plenty of materials and tools to haul in next week.


Volunteers Chris and Keith also carried in more wire.


Photobombers and excellent workers Madison and Allison are cousins. They’re 12 and 11 years old, respectively, and we couldn’t have completed the project without them! They made numerous trips up and down “the hill” carrying staves – a distance of at least half a mile. These future alternative spring breakers come from a family of volunteers. We’re so proud of them!


Long-time mustang advocate and volunteer Tif carries a double load of staves.


Kathe Hayes, volunteer coordinator for SJMA, is our fearless leader. She shepherds the students while they’re here and makes everything run smoothly long before they ever arrive.


Curly and Keith use a two-person saw to cut a small juniper to use as a post or brace while Chris pushes to reduce drag on the saw. This part of Spring Creek Basin Herd Management Area also is McKenna Peak Wilderness Study Area – no motorized vehicles allowed. No chainsaws, either.


Lyn does everything with a smile! Like she said, no other group may laugh as much as this one. All work should be this fun!


Wife and husband Heather and Chris worked with Keith to cut the top off a future post.


Top row, left to right: Chris, Heather, Lyn, Madison and Curly. Bottom, left to right: Allison, Tif, Kathe and Keith. It’s worth noting that both Tif and Keith are adopters of Spring Creek Basin mustangs. All of them make up a great group of folks working for the benefit of our wild horses. 🙂 Thanks so much!



4 responses

24 03 2014
Puller Lanigan

Terrific jobs guys and can’t wait to see what the Spring break kids accomplish!!!

24 03 2014
Lynn and Kathy

All you folks are absolutely AWESOME!! 🙂

27 03 2014

Thanks for the report and the pictures. Looks like it was cold!! I a glad the 4CBCH chooses to support The Alternative Spring Break.

27 03 2014

It’s such a great program, and according to the group’s leader, it’s still growing and attracting more students every year. That’s phenomenal! Think about all the great work being done around the country. If the other groups are anything like OUR group, they’re making a huge difference! Kudos, indeed!

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