A Letter to the Granby Work Project Volunteers
By Jerry Pelis, Greeley Chapter
For nine years, the Greeley Chapter and the Arapaho National Forest’s Sulphur Ranger District have partnered to make public land near Granby, Colorado, safer for wildlife. Each year, RMEF volunteers work with USFS and Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff to remove old, hazardous fencing. On July 29, the volunteers removed two miles of fencing in an area frequented by elk, mule deer, bears and other wildlife. Below, Jerry Pelis addresses the volunteers who spent a soggy weekend making a difference for elk country.
To all who took part in the Granby Work Project,
These two boys from the Upper Williams Fork River Valley would like to thank you for all your hard work on a soggy July morning. You headed out in the persistent rain, slid through wet grass, slogged through the mud and swished through dripping willows and wetlands. Pleasant conditions for the neighborhood boys, perhaps—not so much for you when you found the leaks in your raincoats. And you don’t even eat the willows!
All 29 of you—24 RMEF members and family, four U.S. Forest Service stalwarts, and one damp but fearless Colorado Parks and Wildlife biologist—labored to pull barbed-wire long buried in the grass and soil. It was difficult to be sure, but not as hard as pulling the deeply buried steel fence posts.
Some of the posts were in the middle of the knee-deep, beaver-produced wetlands with posts out in the middle. A couple of lanky teenagers may have muttered something like, “We’re already wet; we don’t need no stinking waders,” as they plunged in to retrieve the posts. Only you blessed lunch makers who remained in camp to feed us stayed mostly dry. Success depended on those dry lunches.
Not a single complaint was audible. You didn’t even notice when it stopped raining, did you?
By day’s end, you had taken down two miles of barbed-wire fence, pulled all the associated steel posts and loaded it all on trucks to haul to recycle. The fence was a barrier and an entanglement hazard for wildlife crossing from the woods to the grass and on to the willows and river. Some of you may have seen a cow moose with twin calves and a doe also with twins cross where once there was a fence. That should have brought a satisfied smile to your faces.
The neighborhood boys and I would like to, again, extend our heartfelt thanks to all of you for a job well done.