On the weekend of August 27th, SUWA’s Field Service Volunteers ventured into the Henry Mountains to participate in a first phase reclamation work event at Horn Spring, located in the Mt. Pennell Wilderness Study Area in the heart of the mountain range. Hailing from Ogden, Escalante and Moab, the crew of eight convened Saturday morning for a full day of work under cool, cloudy skies with magnificent views of the Dirty Devil region, Waterpocket Fold, Capitol Reef National Park, and the Abajo and La Sal Mountain ranges.
Volunteer efforts focused on cleaning up several runs of juniper and t-post fence line surrounding Horn Spring. These structures – long since stripped of their wire and, thus, usefulness – were dismantled in an effort to increase the wilderness character of the site.
Participants discussed the long-term vision for Horn Spring, including the establishment of a more efficient and contained enclosure, native plant revegetation, and additional land-based erosion prevention techniques. With this in mind, volunteers removed the non-functioning fence from the landscape and stored the materials for future re-use.
At work, the crew took time to observe the resiliency of the natural landscape. In the aftermath of a decade-old fire that has left behind the shadowy standing remains of a pinyon forest, and despite years of unchecked grazing and non-compliance in off-road vehicle use, old roadbeds have begun a hearty revegetation. In the shade of browsed sagebrush grow lupine (Lupinus sparsiflorus), Indian Paintbrush (Castilleja angustifolia), wild rose (Rosa woodsii), young spruce, and a range of native bunch grasses including Indian rice grass (Achnatherum hymenoides). All of these are signs of an ecology highly capable of healing itself given the right and proper management practices. Carefully considered, these aspects – plant palette, wildlife patterns and human usage – will inform future work in the area as well as recommendations for local land managers.
The clean-up efforts in the Henry Mountains are a collaboration between SUWA’s Field Service Volunteers and the BLM’s Henry Mountains Field Station (Hanksville).
We are grateful to the volunteers who participated in our first event in the Henry Mountains. Thank you to Greg, Rita, Gabe, Melissa, Stephanie, Kelton, John M. and John G. for your work and commitment. We look forward to meeting more of our members and wilderness protectors in the coming months and years.
If you would like to join to SUWA in the field, October’s scheduled trips include a workday in the San Rafael Swell on Saturday, October 15th and a day at Corona Arch (outside of Moab) on Saturday, October 29th. Contact Jeremy at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information and to Register.