MT BHAers are known to brave any kind of weather to get the job done for our public lands. Despite threats of rain, snow and howling winds, a small but mighty crew of eight dedicated public land owners braved the elements and camped out the night before or got on the road before the crack of dawn to make it to Fred Robinson Campground at 7AM on April 23, 2022 for a fence pull on the Charles M. Russell (CMR) National Wildlife Refuge between Grass Range and Zortman, MT.
With the guidance of local CMR staff, volunteers got to work doing whatever task was needed to get this fencing removed and make our refuge lands safe and accessible for wildlife, hunters and recreators alike. We spread out along the nearly 1 mile of unnecessary fencing, removing clips, rolling barbed wire, and pulling posts to get this fencing removed for good.
While our volunteers were ready to keep working, the fence continued into marshy grounds which proved difficult to traverse on an already wet day. We agreed to return on a drier day to tackle the remaining fencing and ensure the efforts of our MT BHA members do the most good for wildlife and hunters.
We surveyed the work we'd done all morning and it was hard to remember where the fence had been and but easy to feel a sense of accomplishment for improving migration routes for big game. As we packed up to leave, we saw some local wildlife watching, already eager to use the lands we had made more accessible for them.
We headed back to the campground and warmed up around the wood stove, shared stories, compared how much mud we had caked on our boots, and prepared to use the rest of the afternoon to fish the nearby Missouri for sauger, catfish and walleye, or scout turkeys for the next day. Never let it be said that BHA members don't know how to work hard for public lands in the morning then appreciate the fish and wildlife of Montana all afternoon.
We appreciate all the volunteers who showed up to help us on the CMR and our local refuge staff who helped us accomplish this project.
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Images provided by Central MT Board Member Doug Krings, Federal Policy Leader Dane Rider and Deann Blythe.