Nevada Hosts First Summer Rendezvous
By Nate Bradley
Good food, new friends and time spent at both a historic camping spot on the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest and a nearly one-million-acre ranch—these are just a few of the highlights that made Nevada’s first summer rendezvous a success.
Held in late August, RMEF volunteers kicked off the weekend gathering around a burrito bar at Camp Lamoille, built by the Boy Scouts of America in 1939 in the Ruby Mountains near Elko.
The next morning, 15 volunteers met at the Winecup Gamble Ranch to convert just under a mile of six-strand barbed-wire fencing to a wildlife-friendly four strands on the border between Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land and private ranch land. The nearly one-million-acre cattle operation checkerboards with BLM land and is home to about 1,800 head of elk and other wildlife. The ranch allows both public access for hunting and access to adjacent BLM land.
The effort to make fencing friendlier for wildlife here began in 2013 when the ranch swapped two- and-a-half miles of sheep-wire fencing for three-strand barbed-wire. An RMEF grant helped to fund that first project, but this was the first time RMEF volunteers joined in on the effort. Cindy Kaminski is a longtime RMEF volunteer with the Tonopah Chapter and a volunteer hunter education instructor. She says getting out on the ranch and working on the fence removal was one of her favorite parts of the weekend.
In the afternoon the group relaxed back at camp, played corn hole, looked for wildlife in the hills and chatted before Saturday evening’s wild game potluck, featuring dishes like elk chili and deer spaghetti. Afterward, the participants discussed recruiting volunteers in Nevada and RMEF’s future in their state. This networking session was an important part of the weekend for Kaminski, who says it was helpful to hear what other chapters are working on.
“Now whenever we talk about an area, we have a face and name for that area. It gives you some glue to the rest of the state,” she says.
Nevada Regional Director Les Smith says some of the ideas from the rendezvous are already coming to fruition, including new volunteer information packets and banquet placemats featuring RMEF projects across the state. The Nevada chapters also hope to recruit new college-aged volunteers in the coming year.
Smith is excited about the increasing interest he’s seen in Nevada RMEF. He is optimistic about next year’s rendezvous.
“Word’s going to spread. We’re going to have a full house next year,” Smith says.
Kaminski hopes more people will attend the rendezvous next year, too, and says she will advocate it at her chapter meetings.
“We will definitely talk to everybody about what they’ve missed,” she says.