In which the writer proposes:

Splitting conventional wisdoms and inspecting for rot.
Wrestling with the status quo.
Weighing environmental and economic absurdities.
Disentangling metaphors.

Monday 7 December 2015

Our Fencing Project on Nature Trust Land: Revisited


 As told in an earlier article July 2015:      

 A portion of damaged Nature Trust property in the Gilpin Grasslands has been fenced by volunteers to protect a spring and riparian area. This will be the first time since the property was acquired by Nature Trust in 1973, that this piece, approximately 6 acres, will be protected from range cows and off-roaders.

The fence was proposed at meetings of the Committee for the Enhancement of the Gilpin. Work began late 2014 and was completed June 2015.

Approximately 6 acres of Nature Trust land is now protected by wildlife friendly fencing as per recommendations of Montana State Wildlife Friendly Fencing Brochure. See details on Lost Lake blog of Nov 2014.
For more on that story see the link above.

Volunteers returned to the newly fenced area Oct 2015 to remove the dysfunctional fence installed a few years earlier by Range Branch, Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations.
That Range Branch fence deserves further comment as it was a non-wildlife friendly fence installed too close to a spring and seasonal flow to provide any worthwhile setback or protection from range cows. The Range Branch fence was constructed in a U shape, open at the North end where it was apparently assumed that dense brush would prevent cattle access. The assumption was wrong, cattle pushed into the supposed enclosure and having done so, exited through the wire, damaging the fence. The fence did not extend into the headwaters area of the spring which remained open to cattle damage. In order to construct that fence, Range Branch or designates felled numerous trees in the area and left them where they fell. That fence and the damage were done on Nature Trust property without permission or notice to Nature Trust.

Other examples of Range Branch’s work can be found in the Gilpin and elsewhere in the Boundary. Poorly planned, poorly executed, non-wildlife friendly fencing and fencing along the edge of riparian zones that are hazardous to wildlife. See more on that in our Nov 2014 article:

The following YouTube video shows the new fence construction and the take down of the older Range Branch dysfunctional fence.



 If your device and download speed allow, select up to 1080 high definition video.




It is our hope that this initiative will:

  • Allow recovery of the Nature Trust Spring and surrounding area.
  • Demonstrate improved natural values in the absence of cattle grazing and off-roading.
  • Demonstrate the effectiveness of wildlife friendly fencing in the face of Range Branch’s reluctance to use same.

On the latter point we are less than optimistic. Range Branch has shown no ability or inclination to change their practices for the benefit of anything other than cattle grazing.

This article and video link are also available as a printable pdf at