On June 12th, a soggy Saturday morning, ten Montana BHA volunteers teamed up with the four members of a longtime Montana ranching family to remove some unneeded and unruly fence.
Montana BHA, RMEF and HHA members helped out
Over the years, volunteers from Montana BHA, Hellgate Hunters & Anglers and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, as well neighbors, have helped the family install five miles of wildlife-friendly fencing on the Lolo National Forest where this family holds a grazing allotment; Saturday's crew aimed to remove the old fence. The project was the culmination of a six-year effort led by Missoula-based BHA member and conservationist Bert Linder.
Bert Linder, a conservationist, invasive weed warrior, environmental journalist and tireless wildlife advocate
The new fences primarily have three strands of smooth wire (42, 30, and 18 inches from the ground) with gates that are opened at heavily used elk crossings when cattle are not present. The new fences exclude cattle from the Marent and LaValle Creek riparian areas, reducing the size of the allotment by half, but protecting the valuable habitat. While some of these new practices have made grazing cattle on these lands a little more difficult for the ranching family, the changes have made the winters on the area's elk, mule deer and whitetail that much easier. We appreciate the family’s open-mindedness to these improvements, and the project is a shining example of collaborative conservation.
Out with the old and in with the new, wildlife-friendly fencing
Lunches this year were provided by Montana BHA via our new state-based corporate partner, Cambie Taphouse + Coffee.
If you're interested in joining us in a boots-on-the-ground project like this one, check out some of the upcoming stewardship projects we have lined up for the summer by clicking here.
Images courtesy of Paul Axelrod.