The summer heatwave finally broke as the ECO interns returned to finish the project in Tongue Creek. With highs only in the mid 80’s and overcast skies, it was a much better day to remove the last of the fence.
Our secret weapon this week was the game cart. After collecting all of the metal t-posts and coils of barbed wire at the base of the drainage, we were able to load them into the cart and slowly make our way to the nearest road. The road was 3/4 of a mile away. It was slow going and took multiple trips. Over the course of the day, interns shuttled the cart 4 miles, with a few hundred pounds of fencing in each load.
This section of the fence was part of a line that nearly cut MPG in half from its northern border with the Sapphire Ranch to its southern border in Lower Woodchuck Creek. This fence was significant because it sat squarely in the heart of elk winter range and still had wire on it. This fall, when the elk return to Tongue Creek, they will no longer have to navigate this obstacle. Their well worn game trails to either side of the fence illustrate the effect fencing has on wildlife land use patterns.
These photos show the area before and after the restoration work on 7/24.
The blue line indicates the fence removed. The red line shows the route used to haul out materials.
Joshua graduated from the University of Montana, Missoula, in 2009 with an M.A. in Intercultural Youth and Family Development. Joshua has designed and implemented wilderness and experiential-based education programs for various agencies since 2001. He has worked in Missoula since 2005 predominately with disadvantaged populations providing challenging and empowering programming for youth and adults alike.At MPG, Joshua works to coordinate with local agencies and school districts as well as the university to connect students and members of the community to MPG’s work. He also recruits and mobilizes volunteers to accomplish various projects for the ranch. In his free time, Joshua enjoys exploring Montana’s wild places. As an avid outdoorsman, he enjoys any pursuit that keeps him connected to the natural world.