Beers, Bands, and Barbed Wire Strands: A Stewardship Event in Gunnison, CO

Photographer: Travis Bradford

When it comes to preserving our natural environment and ensuring the longevity of wildlife habitats, few efforts are as impactful as volunteering for conservation projects. In Gunnison, Colorado, a unique and exciting event named "Beers, Bands and Barbed Wire Strands" recently took place, bringing together over 100 dedicated volunteers for a weekend of fence removal, camping, live music, good food, and community engagement to celebrate Colorado Public Lands Day. Organized by Colorado Chapter Leaders and our Habitat Stewardship Coordinator, Britt Parker of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, this event showcased the power of collaboration and the passion for habitat stewardship.

A Community United 

The core focus of the "Beers, Bands, and Barbed Wire Strands" event was fence removal—a vital task for enhancing wildlife movement and preventing unnecessary habitat fragmentation. Over 100 enthusiastic volunteers from various walks of life gathered in Gunnison, ready to roll up their sleeves and contribute to the restoration efforts alongside the Bureau of Land Management and Colorado Parks & Wildlife. From seasoned conservationists to nature-loving locals, everyone shared a common goal: to make a positive impact on the local ecosystem.  

Fence Removal: A Key Conservation Effort: 

In one day, we managed to remove five miles of irrelevant fencing impacting wildlife movement. By removing barbed and woven wire fencing, the volunteers directly contributed to restoring wildlife movement corridors. This action facilitates the free movement of wildlife, reduces the risk of injuries or entanglements, and ultimately promotes the health and diversity of local ecosystems. The participants worked tirelessly and their efforts will have a lasting impact on the region's wildlife. 

Photo: Travis Bradford BHA Graphic Design & Video Production Coordinator 

A Gourmet Experience

The weekend kicked off with a wild game potluck dinner on Friday where attendees shared their season’s harvests with the community, fostering a sense of camaraderie among the participants. Sharing delicious homemade dishes, volunteers exchanged stories and formed new friendships, strengthening their connection to the community. Saturday evening all volunteers enjoyed a delicious BBQ dinner prepared by the acclaimed I Bar Ranch provided by 1% for Open Space. The team at I Bar Ranch crafted a delicious feast, tantalizing the taste buds of the hardworking volunteers. As the sun set over Gunnison, the participants indulged in a well-deserved meal and cold beverages, reflecting on the day's achievements and enjoyed connecting with their fellow public land owners 

Photographer: Trent Bona Meyvn Creative

Camping, Live Music, and More
The event was not all work and no play! The organizers ensured that the volunteers were treated to an unforgettable experience at the I Bar Ranch.

Photographer: Trent Bona

With a live music performance by the Colorado band ‘Storm Pass’ and insightful and inspiring talks delivered by our esteemed public speakers. Tim Brass, BHA's State Policy and Stewardship Director, captivated the audience with his expertise on stream access issues in Colorado and shed light on various state policy matters concerning conservation. His knowledge and passion for protecting the outdoors left a lasting impact on all who listened. Salif Mahamane, a professor at Western State University and a representative for Hunters of Color, delivered a powerful speech on the significance of inclusivity in outdoor spaces, sharing his personal experiences and highlighting the importance of diverse representation. His words resonated deeply, reminding us of the transformative power of embracing diversity. Brandon Diamond, CPW's Area Wildlife Manager, delivered an engaging talk on the importance of fence removal, habitat stewardship, and the vital role of collaboration in preserving our wildlife habitats. We express our gratitude to these exceptional speakers for their invaluable contributions to our event and their dedication to promoting environmental conservation and inclusivity in the great outdoors. 

Salif Mahamane speaking to a captivated crowd. 
Photographer: Trent Bona
Incredible performance by Storm Pass
Photographer: Trent Bona

We are incredibly grateful for the generous support of our sponsors including our headlining sponsors Savage Arms, the I Bar Ranch, and 1% for Open Space and to all our platinum sponsors Seek Outside, Mayfly Project (Ross Reels, Airflo, and Abel), Gunnison Country Outfitters, Burris Optics, OnX, Kryptek, Upslope Brewery, Nikwax, Chopwood Mercantile, and Meyvn Creative who made our habitat stewardship event a resounding success. Their contributions and those of our gold and silver sponsors played a pivotal role in our efforts to preserve and protect our natural environment. All volunteers were entered in to win products and trips from these renowned outdoor brands and many walked home with their hands full! We extend our heartfelt appreciation to each sponsor for their commitment to conservation and for empowering us to make a positive impact on our public lands and waters.  

BHA Armed Forces Initiative member and volunteer a little stunned after winning a Savage Rifle and Burris Optics scope.
Photographer: Trent Bonas

"Beer Bands and Barbed Wire Strands" was an exemplary stewardship volunteer event that showcased the power of collective action and community engagement. Thanks to the dedication and hard work of over 100 volunteers, miles of barbed wire fencing were removed, contributing significantly to wildlife conservation efforts in Gunnison, Colorado. 

The event planning committee should be commended for their efforts in organizing such an engaging and impactful event. By bringing people together, and promoting habitat stewardship, "Beer Bands and Barbed Wire Strands" has left a lasting impression on both the volunteers and the Gunnison community. 
As we reflect on this event, let it serve as a reminder of the positive change that can be achieved when we come together for a shared cause. Whether it's removing fences, cleaning up waterways, or advocating for conservation policies, each one of us can play a role in protecting and conserving our natural world. 


Photographer: Travis Bradford


About Brittany Parker

Habitat Stewardship Coordinator for BHA