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Dillon Field Office
Release Date: 10/02/09
Contacts: David Abrams 406-533-7617    

Youth, Local Volunteers Team Up To Help BLM Remove Fence

Wildlife will now have a little more freedom to roam in an area south of Ennis, thanks to volunteers from the Montana Youth Challenge program and members of the Madison River Foundation and the Madison Valley Ranchlands Group who recently helped Bureau of Land Management employees remove nearly three miles of fence at the Palisades Recreation Site.

The area, previously grazed by sheep, was criss-crossed with a fence that was nearly 50 years old and presented a barrier and entanglement hazard for wildlife.

“This is not just a playground for fisherman and campers, it is also a place where the elk and antelope roam,” said Kelly Bockting, wildlife biologist with the BLM’s Dillon Field Office. “The Palisades provides year-round habitat for antelope and is a migration corridor and winter habitat for elk.”

On Aug. 27, six volunteers from the Madison Valley Ranchlands Group and Madison River Foundation along with 13 permanent and seasonal BLM employees and two Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks employees met at the recreation site 20 miles south of Ennis to remove the old fences.

“It was very hot but that didn’t stop us from removing one-and-a-half miles of fence,” Bockting said.

One month later, 17 BLM employees along with six Montana Youth Challenge Academy cadets and seven volunteers from Madison River Foundation went back to finish the project, hauling away a total of nearly three miles of fence. The Youth Challenge cadets earned community service hours as they wrestled with the old wire, some of which, over time, had embedded firmly into the ground.

As he leaned back to pull out a fencepost, 17-year-old Cameron Cables from Belgrade talked about the importance of the day’s work. “I want to see access to these areas because I like to come down here a lot,” he said. “I want to be a part of everything, especially if it means making it easier for wildlife to move around.”

A new fence, meeting BLM specifications, may be constructed on the northeast end of the property in the future, if the location is needed for an overnight holding facility for trailing livestock, Bockting said.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to manage and conserve the public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations under our mandate of multiple-use and sustained yield. In Fiscal Year 2013, the BLM generated $4.7 billion in receipts from public lands.

Dillon Field Office   1005 Selway Drive      Dillon, MT 59725   

Last updated: 06-28-2012