Press Release in Island Park News 8/26/2021
Island Park Idaho – August 19, 2021 — Henrys Fork Wildlife Alliance (HFWA) has a goal to remove obsolete barbed wire fences that are no longer needed or used, and are barriers to wildlife movement. The group completed its first fence removal project on private land in July and its second project this month.
When HWFA inquired for permission to remove an old fence on Forest Service land near Raynolds Pass in Island Park, Ashton-Island Park District Ranger Liz Davy said their volunteer work would be great and much appreciated. The fence was on an old sheep allotment that had not been used for many decades and was both an eyesore, and a hazard to wildlife movement. Sheep were first grazed north of Henrys Lake around 1900, and by 1903 there were millions of sheep in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. But it has been a very long time since sheep were grazed in this particular area.
The Ranger got her wish regarding the fence on the old sheep allotment. HFWA volunteers responded enthusiastically to the new challenge. On Wednesday August 18, volunteers showed up despite rain and 46 degree temperatures, and removed 1,100 feet of barbed wire, woven wire, and metal fence posts.
Now the meadow and sage brush on this section of USFS land is restored to its natural state and the seasonal movement of pronghorn, mule deer and elk through the area is no longer disrupted by the fence and downed barbed wire.
Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, which champions both conservation and hunting, says “many animals become entangled [in fences] and die from either starvation, dehydration, hypothermia, or predation. Juveniles are especially vulnerable and make up a large percentage of big game animals killed by fences. . . . “ It’s not just existing fencing that can cause trouble—dilapidated fences that are no longer being monitored, used, or maintained can be a real danger to critters, too.”
Several volunteers said it was a great day, they enjoyed the camaraderie of the group, and they look forward to future projects with HFWA.