Crew 1/Long Hair Don’t Care, Lake DeSmet Conservation District – Buffalo, WY, July 11-20 – Chainsawing. This crew spent long, 10 hour work days buzzing through invasive Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia) around Buffalo High School. The overarching plan with the multi-year project is to build a nature trail near the school with interpretive signs focusing on ecology education. The hitch allowed for our crew leaders to teach some of our members how to safely fell trees.

Education Day – Zach Byram, Lake DeSmet Conservation District’s district manager and primary contact for the project, organized an amazing line-up for our crew members and leaders. Rod Litzel, Johnson County weed and pest supervisor introduced Russian Olives’ history of introduction to the area and management practices. Todd Caltrider, biologist for Wyoming Game and Fish, spoke about the overall ecosystems of the area and highlighting the use of the work our crews are providing. Kelly Norris, Wyoming State Forest’s district manager, spoke on what trees should be planted. To cap it off, Buffalo High School’s own Jake Evans spoke on the use of greenhouses in schools and their educational benefits.

Day off – The crew headed out to Ten Sleep canyon to camp, fish, and rock climb. While in Ten Sleep, some of the crew even checked out the Ten Sleep Fish Hatchery.

All Said and Done:

  • 160+ Russian Olives felled, dissected, and chipped
  • 1/2 acre of thick olives tree grove removed

Crew 2/Thad/Mad, Fort Fred Steele State Historic Site & Seminoe State Park, Near Rawlins, WY, July 11-20 – Crew 2 not only worked on some historic buildings but the deeply needed fences around them. At the fort, they crew worked on shoring up the building’s irrigation with gravel, built new fence tore down old, Thad got to drive a tractor, and everyone moved historic railroad ties for a day. In Seminoe, they worked on the wind fences near the reservoir in anticipation for the long winters ahead.

Education Day – Thad/Mad traveled to Encampment, WY to the Grand Encampment Museum where they looked at the area’s mining history and affects as well as exploring some of the original buildings in town. Afterwards, the crew headed to the hot springs for a relaxing debrief.

Day Off – For a day of rest, Crew 2 tubed down the Platte River, read their books, sat in more hot springs, and ate some great food.

All Said and Done:

  • .3 miles of complicated wire fence removed
  • 275 feet of buck and rail fence repaired or built
  • .25 miles of rotten posts removed
  • .25 miles of new posts installed
  • 300 feet of gravel laid for trails
  • All of the historic Fort Steele buildings packed with gravel aprons to relieve irrigation issues
  • 49 historic railroad ties moved and placed for display

This crew, though they took pictures, we could not get our hands on them before they left for their next hitch (Hitch 5). We apologize.

Crew 3/Baby Geniuses, Thunder Basin National Grasslands and Laramie Peak District, July 11-20 – Crew 3 yet again had two hitches in one. They started their journey in the Thunder Basin removing invasive juniper trees (Juniperus occidentalis) and pinyon pines (Pinus edilus). They also picked up some trash around the Weston Recreation Area near Gillette and repaired a steel fence. Moving to Laramie Peak District, the crew repaired some fences and benches as well as trail maintenance and trail signs. They did a little of everything under the big “C” of conservation. To cap it off, the crew saw an elk heard of 80 + elk and experienced the beautiful roaring fork trail.

Education Day – (Part 1) Devon Energy took the team around an drill pad learning from industry professionals about the history of Devon Energy’s involvement with conservation and the general outlook of energy extraction in Wyoming. (Part 2) The crew traveled down to the Douglas ranger district office to learn about the area’s geology and the importance of the work this crew has given to the soils.

Day off – This crew drove to Douglas on their day off stopping to have some fun on the way. We thank them for their service.

All Said and Done:

  • (about) 100 invasive juniper trees removed
  • 22 invasive pinyon pines removed
  • 700 yards of barbwire fence repaired
  • .25 miles of buck and rail fence repaired
  • 4.5 miles of trail maintained and improved
  • 3 campgrounds cleaned up
  • 1 steel gate repaired at a camp entrance
  • numerous benches painted and repaired

One thought on “Hitch 4, 2016

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