Alex Hole: Protecting a Gem
Alex Hole consists of a high elevation wet meadow, and every year cattle from the adjacent Klamath National Forest “drift” over the Crest and trample into it, destroying fragile plants and whole ecosystems. Therefore, KS Wild annually partners with the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest to put up and let down a barbed fence to keep out the illegal cows during the allotment period. KS Wild continues to legally challenge the unauthorized damage resulting from trespassing cattle.
Alex Hole is on the tip of the Rogue River Siskiyou National Forest that lies in California. After a myriad of winding roads and false leads, we stood looking over the cliffs, greeted with an expansive meadow and untouched forests of the Condrey Mountain Inventoried Roadless Area. Every color on the pallett was present: lime and dark green grass, blue sky with white clouds, purple and red wildflowers, gray boulders streaked with white marble, chestnut and dark brown tree trunks, black cows with silver bells. Most importantly, we saw a crew of KS Wild land stewards working on mending a fence in the valley below.
The stewardship project consisted of KS Wild volunteers and Forest Service staff, who worked together ratcheting the top line of barbed wire on the fence, mending other wires, and repairing damaged posts. Equipped with a pair of wire cutters, extra non-barbed wire, and a strong desire to protect the wildflower meadow, we went off to mend the fence.
Four pieces of barbed wire reach from one pole to the next, tightly wound to each other and each pole. In some places the topmost and second top most wires needed to be repaired. To do this, we had to split the woven barbed wire into its individual wires, and then mended the individual strands of both together. With the next extension, the old wire was now more then long enough to reach past the pole, so we wound it around and tied it. After fixing the second wire, the fence was back to being an anti-cow barrier. After doing the same thing towards the end of the fence, it was time to ratchet it. Only a few minutes later, the fence was fully up and tight, the perfect cow-prevention, meadow-saving system!
Join KS Wild volunteers in mid-October as we return to this incredible place to let the fence down when the cows are no longer grazing on public lands.
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