This post was contributed by longtime ESLT Stewardship Volunteer and member, Wally Woolfenden.
The protection of natural, non-human dominated ecosystems has been an important effort, especially the preservation of wilderness. Wilderness, however, is usually of marginal interest for settlement and commercial land use, offering primarily aesthetic and recreational benefits. Rural lands outside of the mountains, natural grasslands, and other protected areas have been heavily altered by decades of land use – yet they often contain important remnants of habitats that contribute to biodiversity.
I have chosen to volunteer with ESLT’s stewardship projects because the objective of this work is to rehabilitate ecosystems damaged from overuse and inappropriate use, and to realign their natural functions.
Of all the ESLT projects I have volunteered on, one of my favorites was the restoration of Greater sage-grouse habitat at Sinnamon Meadows. I love the heavy work of pulling, cutting, and rolling fencing to remove barriers to sage-grouse roaming, especially in the gorgeous landscape of the ranch. I appreciate the comprehensive restoration work that involved not only the removal of fencing but the attachment of fence markers to provide visual warning to the grouse, and placement of raven perch deterrents on poles. A bonus is working with a very delightful group of volunteers.