Montana BHA hosts fence pull in SW Montana with NWF

Last weekend, 22 BHA volunteers gathered in the Grasshopper Valley near Dillon, MT to remove nearly three miles of barbed-wire fencing in a crucial big game migration corridor. 

The project took place on a combination of public and private land. Staff from the National Wildlife Federation coordinated the project and secured access with landowners in the area. The weekend’s mission involved removing old, seven-strand wire fencing, stacking coils, pulling t-posts, and consolidating wooden posts to be repurposed.

We met in Bannack State Park early Saturday morning to receive a brief presentation on the impact this fence has on pronghorn migration in Southwest Montana, then a caravan of volunteers traveled to the site and got to work.

Volunteers spent the morning removing a half-mile span of fence in a riparian area, then relocated to a 1.8-mile stretch of fencing on a parcel of rolling hills dotted with sagebrush. While the first fence was removed completely, the latter stretch of fence will eventually be replaced with a wildlife-friendly design, complete with a raised and smooth bottom strand for pronghorn to travel safely underneath. GastroGnome provided delicious backpacking meals for lunch, and volunteers finished day one by staging coils of wire and posts. That evening, the team set up camp in Bannack State Park to enjoy a dinner of venison burgers, good conversation, and a brilliant Montana sunset. Before heading to their tents, some volunteers fished the nearby Grasshopper Creek, foraged mushrooms, and listened to live music offered at Bannack’s visitor center on Saturday evenings.

On Sunday, volunteers hiked more than six miles shuttling coiled wire and t-posts across the sage-covered hills. By noon, we had completed the 1.8-mile section and piled the wire and posts in vehicles to be transported. Hard work and positive attitudes made the weekend a productive one, and staff from NWF made logistics as smooth as possible. Thanks to all the generous BHA members who gave their time and labor to improve habitat and migration corridors for wildlife in Southwestern Montana!

 

Join us on our next project! Check out our upcoming stewardship projects across the state here!


About Micah Fields

Micah lives in Helena and is the Stewardship Leader for the Montana BHA Chapter.

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