Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Mt. Rose- road restoration project

On Thursday, September 21st, a crew of five volunteers from REI joined Friends of Nevada Wilderness’ Forest Project Coordinator Angie Dykema for a road closure project in the north section of the Mt. Rose Wilderness. The project entailed blocking off a vehicle intrusion extending from Forest Service Rd. 462C past the western boundary of the North Mt. Rose Wilderness and well into the wilderness area.

The crew noted the remains of a destroyed Forest Service carsonite sign at the entrance of the illegal road and replaced it with a new sign which clearly designates the wilderness boundary and displays “no motorized vehicles.” The crew then went to work rolling boulders and large logs into the two-track in order to block off access by off-road vehicles. Because the intrusion has occurred in a place where there is not much material available for revegging, the volunteers had to focus mostly on placing obstacles in the path to discourage future access.

The hard work of the volunteers paid off by the end of the day, when the two-track was so blocked off by logs and boulders and minimal vegetation that it was almost impossible to walk down. The crew successfully blocked all the visible portions of the intrusion, and all in all stopped access on about a half mile of the route. Motorized vehicles will be discouraged from trying to drive down this route again, and the wilderness will be left to heal from the motorized scar.

*There was a total of 51 volunteer hours recorded for this project.

Arc Dome- North Twin trailwork

Friends of Nevada Wilderness organized another project to finish up the trailwork along Arc Dome’s North Twin River Trail over the weekend of September 16th-17th. Friends transported two volunteers from Reno and met two other volunteers from Las Vegas at the trailhead.

The volunteers started working at the point along the North Twin trail where the previous Friends crew had left off a month earlier. The crew worked quickly and efficiently with the goal of connecting to where the Sierra Club service group had left off with their work almost a month earlier. After a long afternoon, the crew quit for the day and set up camp outside the South Twin trailhead. Friends provided dinner and transportation to the nearby Spencer Hot Springs in the northeast part of the Smoky Valley.

The following morning, after coffee and breakfast, the crew set to work again. They hiked all the way to the point where the Sierra Club had stopped working, in order to assess how much work was left. From that point, the crew began working backward toward where they had stopped the day before. There were a couple sections where the crew moved some rocks out of the trail and also along a stream bank for stabilization. There were numerous sections of the trail where the wild rose was very thick and overgrown, but the crew persisted and cleared the brush back from the trail, making it accessible for future visitors. Eventually, the volunteers found themselves at the point where they had stopped the day before, and with the satisfaction of a job well done, began the hike back to camp.

The weekend’s work produced very satisfying results. The North Twin trail work is now finished and fully cleared of obstacles and brush. Thanks to the hard-working volunteers of Friends of Nevada Wilderness and the Sierra Club, visitors will now be able to enjoy this beautiful trail and appreciate a special part of Nevada’s public lands for many years.

* There was a total of 94 volunteer hours recorded for this project.

Mt. Moriah- Hendry's Creek


Friends of Nevada Wilderness organized a road restoration project along the Hendry’s Creek trail at Mt. Moriah over the weekend of September 9-10th. The project entailed restoring a two-track that began halfway down the Hendry’s Creek trail and led up to the wilderness boundary.

Two Friends volunteers left from Reno early Sat. morning with Friends’ Forest Project Coordinator Angie Dykema. After a seven-hour drive, the crew from Reno arrived at the site and met up with three other Friends volunteers from Ely, Friends’ Southen Nevada Conservation Director Susan Potts, and April Johnson from the Forest Service Ely Ranger District.

After a safety talk and a short hike out to the site, the crew of 8 set to work revegging the two-track back to a single tread path. After a few hours of work, the group went back to the campsite to enjoy a veggie stir-fry dinner provided by Friends. Susan and Angie talked to the volunteers about the current White Pine County public lands bill and encouraged letter-writing to the Senators. A hand-written letter was collected Sat. night and two other volunteers signed formatted letters.

Two volunteers had to leave Sunday morning to head back to Ely, but the rest of the group got up and was ready to go after enjoying breakfast. The remaining crew hiked the trail to the wilderness boundary and then set to work restoring the two-track. Although the entire site was not completely revegged during this project, the volunteers successfully covered up approximately 909 linear feet of the two-track. The efforts of Friends of Nevada Wilderness and volunteers will ensure that there are no future intrusions into the Mt. Moriah Wilderness from the Hendry’s Creek trail.


*There were a total of 101 volunteer hours recorded for this project.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

North Black Rock Range Wilderness, August 4-5, 2006

It's amazing what a few people can do with a little determination and muscle-power.

On August 5, I got the pleasure of covering for Pat, who was visiting family in Scotland, and participate in a restoration project in the North Black Rock Range Wilderness.

On a beautiful sunny day, with enough breeze to keep things from heating up, a total of 15 people, comprising volunteers, BLM staff, and an crew of international volunteers affiliated with the Nevada Outdoor School in Winnemucca, put to rest a three illegal vehicle routes in wilderness. The BLM's Brian Murdock, volunteer George Barnes, and I had restored the most aggregious route almost two years ago to the day, but it was quickly driven over during hunting season. This time we put a lot more work into it (having more people helps) to make sure the restoration work would stay.

We also hiked out an old refrigerator from the peak of the North Black Rock Range, perhaps a mile from the boundary. It had served as a housing for radio equipment for a local rancher in the past, but it had long since become litter. We hiked it out.

Removing the refrigerator was nothing more than picking up litter, really. But it was deeply rewarding to be able to move this beautiful wilderness area somewhat closer to its original state. Now, anyone who hikes to that peak will say, "Wow, look at that view!" instead of "Jeez, what's a refrigerator doing up here?"

After a long good day of work, we drove back to our camp among the beautiful aspens of Lahontan Cutthroat Trout Wilderness Study Area and enjoyed a wonderful dinner of Tamale pie, fajitas, and Dutch oven apple crisp. Despite all the work that day, I think we ended up gaining weight.

It was a wonderful way to spend the weekend.

Brian Beffort
Associate Director
Friends of Nevada Wilderness