Monday, March 12, 2007

Rainbow Mountain Wilderness

On February 21st and 22nd, Friends of Nevada Wilderness organized a volunteer restoration project with the Spring Mtn. District of the U.S. Forest Service. The project involved restoring an illegal route in the Mountain Springs area of the Rainbow Mtn. Wilderness. There were a total of 9 volunteers present with Friends of Nevada Wilderness, 3 Great Basin Institute Restoration Techs, and 5 employees from the Forest Service.

The crew began the day with a safety talk and sign-in, followed by a visit to a previous site completed by the Great Basin Institute to observe proper restoration techniques. The group then drove up to the Wilderness boundary and set to work at the first site. Boulders from the surrounding area had already been put in place behind the Wilderness boundary sign to help create a natural barrier. The volunteers went to work “pitting” the route (using pulaskis and pick mattocks) in order to decompact the soil to allow for seed collection and future growth. The volunteers also collected dead and downed plant materials to use for slash, and scattered it across the route to help disguise the scar. Because the site was located in a sensitive archaeological area, there was no vertical mulching or uprooting of live plants. The Forest Service provided mulch to distribute onto the site in order to help in seed collection and restoration.

The first day was spent entirely on one site; the next day was spent completing the first site and a second intrusion further down along the boundary. By the end of the second day, both sites were finished. The volunteers enjoyed the chance to get out and enjoy the Wilderness on a beautiful winter day in Southern Nevada while also working to restore the natural character of the land.

*There was a total of 180 volunteer hours recorded for this project.
*There was a total of $2,700.00 saved that the U.S. Forest Service would otherwise have had to spend on in-kind labor.

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