Monday, July 09, 2007

High Schells Wilderness-
Timber Creek restoration project

On June 9th, Friends of Nevada Wilderness organized a volunteer restoration project in the newly designated High Schells Wilderness. The project involved restoring an old jeep route along the North and South Forks of Timber Creek from a two-track down to a single tread trail. Friends of Nevada Wilderness partnered with the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation to complete this project, and was also able to get a crew from the Nevada Conservation Corps, Great Basin Institute, to join in the efforts for the day. There were a total of 13 volunteers present for the project, including six Americorps volunteers with the NCC, five Friends of Nevada Wilderness volunteers and staff, and two Forest Service officers.

The crew arrived to the site and after a safety talk and sign-in, split into two to work on both the North Fork and the South Fork. Each group decided which tread to erase and which to keep as the hiking/horse trail, then set to work “pitting” the route (using pulaskis and pick mattocks) in order to decompact the soil to allow for seed collection and future growth of native plants. Dead and dying pine saplings (affected by beetle kill) were utilized for vertical mulching and to help delineate the trail. The volunteers also collected logs and branches to use for slash, and scattered it across the route to help disguise the scar and define the path. Using rock bars and manpower, the volunteers moved large rocks and boulders into the route to help block access by off-road vehicles while still allowing for hikers and horse travel. A couple of water bars were also built in order to guide runoff off of the trail and prevent erosion.

After a long day’s work, the Friends’ volunteers enjoyed dinner provided by Friends of Nevada Wilderness back at the campsite and relaxed while taking in the scenic views of the new wilderness area. The next morning a few of the volunteers went for a hike along the South Fork of Timber Creek up through Bristlecone Pines and a beautiful aspen grove, along the ridge, and joined up with the North Fork of Timber Creek where half of the volunteers had worked the day before. The volunteers enjoyed the chance to get out and enjoy this new Wilderness on a beautiful day in eastern Nevada while also working to restore the natural character of the land.

*There were a total of 169 volunteer hours recorded for this project.
*There was a total of $2,535.00 saved through the use of volunteers that the U.S. Forest Service would otherwise have had to spend on in-kind labor. (Based on government protocol $15.00/hr)

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