Tuesday, September 08, 2009

South Fork Work Day

Each summer, The Nature Conservancy's Idaho staff meets at one of our projects--to camp out, see our conservation work on the ground, discuss future efforts--and to do some field work to benefit the preserve we're visiting.
This year, we met at the Conservancy's preserve on the South Fork of the Snake River, an incredible conservation success. It's one of the West's most scenic rivers, with lots of cutthroat trout, bald eagles, ospreys, moose and other wildlife.
It's hard to believe, but at one point it looked like this beautiful canyon would be lined with houses, resorts and a golf course. But thanks to conservationists, almost the entire South Fork Canyon is protected.
More than 300,000 people visit this river each year, to fish and float. The beautiful scenery and abundant wildlife are now protected by conservation easements throughout the canyon. How awesome to see such a conservation success--and to know it's going to stay this way.
Of course, even at a successful conservation project, there is always work to be done. Some staff devoted time to building a fence at the preserve entrance. We welcome walk-in visitors to the preserve who come to hunt, fish, hike, watch wildlife and explore. However, unauthorized, off-road vehicle use can damage habitat, so we need to fence off these illegal trails.
The steep terrain meant that some of us dug the fence holes by hand...
While others found that a power auger requires a bit of effort, especially when it hits buried barbed wire or rocks.
Of course, you couldn't ask for better scenery. Not a bad place at all to spend a few days.
Associate state director Lou Lunte and East Idaho conservation manager Chet Work--both of whom have played key roles in conservation along the South Fork--put the finishing touches on the fence.
Our staff at the South Fork. It was gratifying to meet in a place where our work is having such benefits for people and for nature. We hope you have the chance to visit the South Fork yourself and enjoy its scenery, wildlife and world-class recreational opportunities.
Photos by Sara Sheehy.

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