Eight members of Trail Wildlife Association did some heavy lifting last week in a project that aims to remove nearly 1.5 km of fencing in the Pend d’Oreille Valley.
The three-strand barbed wire fence with metal posts poses a serious hazard for ungulates, especially white-tailed deer.
The effort is being funded by the Fish & Wildlife Compensation Program and FortisBC.
The April work-party is part of phase I of the project, with more volunteer work planned for the fall and for 2022.
“The key problem is that this fencing bisects a major corridor for the movement of white-tailed deer,” says TWA executive member and work-party organizer John Gwilliam. “And we often observe deer hair on the fencing barbs, so we know they’re getting caught up on it.”
The fence, located at the top end of the Pend d’Oreille Valley next to the electrical substation, was originally installed in the 1990s to keep cattle off the right-of-way that had received some restoration work. Now it serves no purpose, and not only poses a threat to wildlife but is also an eyesore.
Some of the metal posts and wire will be re-purposed at TWA’s shooting range, and the remaining metal was taken to the recycling depot in Salmo.
“We’re spacing out the work parties because none of us are spring chickens, so we need a good rest between each push,” joked fellow TWA executive member Rick Fillmore.
Humour aside, it is an accurate description of the hardy group of volunteers—after all, pulling metal posts from rocky ground is no mean feat.
The youngest among them is in their mid-60’s and the eldest, Laurie Bursaw, turns 90 later this year. Now that is something to inspire anyone.