Absaroka Fence Initiative Celebrates a Productive 2021

Absaroka Fence Initiative Celebrates a Productive 2021

Written by on January 19, 2022

The Absaroka Fence Initiative made a significant impact during its first year, removing or improving 14 miles of fence and improving wildlife migrations.

After its first full year of on-the-ground projects, the Absaroka Fence Initiative is looking back at the successes of 2021 with gratitude for its many partners and volunteers from the community.

The Absaroka Fence Initiative comprises landowners, community members, land managers, non-governmental organizations, and local government agencies in Park County. The group aims to ensure fences are functional for livestock management and wildlife movement across the landscape through projects, public workdays, and outreach to the community.

Courtesy Absaroka Fence Initiative

In 2021, the Absaroka Fence Initiative removed 8.2 miles of fencing and modified 5.7 miles, thanks to the donation of 788 volunteer hours.

Overall, the group completed several projects that removed 8.2 miles of “obsolete” fence. 5.7 miles of fence were modified to make it wildlife friendly;

10,000 pounds of metal fence material – old wire, clips, and t-posts – was collected and recycled. And volunteers gave 788 hours of their time to make this progress possible.

“What started out as a small endeavor with a few partners working together on fences has grown to become a much larger and more successful initiative than we could have hoped,” said Alicia Hummel, Bureau of Land Management range specialist who serves on the Absaroka Fence Initiative Steering Committee.

Collaborators targeted areas where fencing could be improved to have the greatest impact on wildlife migration while still managing livestock effectively. This target resulted in project locations on a mix of public and private lands.

A highlight of 2021 was the Four Bear Fence Tear on May 1.

During the Four Bear Fence Tear, 80 volunteers – including Cody Cub Scouts Pack 3050 – removed three miles of unneeded fencing, and 4,000 pounds of metal was recycled.

The largest Absaroka Fence Initiative fence project of the year took place in August along Highway 14. More than five miles of fencing was removed, and another 1.5 miles modified on public and private land between Wapiti and the Buffalo Bill Reservoir.

All the 2021 projects wrapped up on Nov. 6 in the same area along the North Fork Highway right-of-way fence. Forty volunteers pulled 500 pounds of stays from 3.2 miles of fence in only two hours.

Courtesy Absaroka Fence Initiative

These fence modifications enable wildlife to navigate the North Fork landscape in their crucial winter ranges without as much effort.

The Absaroka Fence Initiative is looking forward to several projects in 2022 and seeks opportunities to connect with willing landowners and community members.

This spring, an event is already scheduled 12 miles up the Lower South Fork. However, as of Jan. 19, the event has been postponed until a TBA date later this year.

“We are grateful to our volunteers, partners, donors, even those who just follow our progress online,” Hummel says. “Your support helps us make our landscape better for livestock and wildlife.”

If you are interested in learning more about this work or getting involved, visit the Absaroka Fence Initiative website to sign up for the organization’s newsletter, follow on Facebook, or email absarokafenceinitiative@gmail.com.

Courtesy Absaroka Fence Initiative

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