Sierra Club
Jump to
Search Ventana Chapter All Sierra Club
Ventana Chapter  
Explore, Enjoy and Protect the Planet  
Home
Home
Politics and Issues
Schedule
Chapter Organization
Join
Resources
Contact Us
National Sierra Club
California Sierra Club
Old Baldy, Canada | photo by Cameron Schaus

Sierra Club
   Conservation Issues of the Ventana Chapter | monterey county

A gift for the Carrizo Plain pronghorn

January 2008

Corrizo Plain

March 2005 was a banner year for wildflower displays on the Carrizo Plain. Debbie Bulger is surrounded by acres of goldfields and tidy tips.
Ventana staff photo.

by Louise "Letty" French

The bone-chilling wind drove right through sweats and polypro clothing as a dozen volunteers waited for a radio to direct our next move. We had stopped in a swale on the American Ranch overlooking the vastness of the Carrizo Plain. Cal and Doug had driven ahead on the tenuous dirt road to try to find the closest approach to that elusive fence. I held the radio, which finally spoke, "Come on here." Around the big curve and over the hill, there was the BLM truck.

We grabbed wire cutters, universal fence tools and post pullers and trudged up the ridge to that last section of fence. We needed to pull it down; we could see the animal trails along side where the fence had interfered with their migratory pattern. With the strong incentive to work hard to keep warm and the desire to destroy this fence, this amazing group of 14 volunteers took care of that section in less than 2 hours.

Rolled up barbed wire and heavy T poles were left in neat piles about every 30 yards. Doug Wreden, our volunteer BLM resource person, stated that he would collect them with his ATV which saved us a lot of heavy carrying. As we finished lunch, a shower came down from the black cloud overhead; we piled into the cars and left.

What's next? Doug had the job: a quarter mile of hog wire at the Washburn Center which he had wanted to tear out for a long time. Hog wire is nasty stuff. It's a square mesh of heavy wire sunk about 6-12 inches into the ground and deeply anchored to T-poles. Our group set to work. Many had never seen hog wire, and exclamations warmed the air at the difficulty of freeing it from the T-poles. Half an hour later, we had that bottom half of the fence neatly rolled up and carried over to the maintenance shack. In a few days it would be loaded onto a dump truck and taken to the steel recycling station in Taft.

Tidy Tips and Goldfields

Ventana staff photo.

"Got anything else, Doug?"

"Sure."

Back up the road six miles to the Sprague road. Here we took down the bottom two wires of maybe half a mile of fence. When that is done, the pronghorn neatly slip under the fence and barely break stride. Eventually, Doug will get a smooth wire laid along the stretch which will be 18 inches above the ground. That keeps the cattle (what cattle?) and the ATVers on the road. So, it's now 3:45 p.m., and Doug has run out of suggestions. We laid a few plans for Sunday. We'll do one more section that Doug has his eye on. Those who want to work can work; those who want to play can play.

Ouch! It was cold! We pulled up to our site in Selby Camp, parked the camper so it shielded the campfire from the wind, and immediately started the campfire. Next came happy hour. When darkness fell, the wind died and the heat from discarded oak logs spread out to warm us. Lots of good food and good conversation along with some chocolate and libation sent everyone to bed tired and happy.

Sunday dawned clear, sunny, and cold. We met Doug at the Visitors' Center again and drove towards the American Ranch. Here was a long stretch of fence just begging to be modified. We yanked the bottom wires off rapidly. Old rotten wire and T-poles give up rather easily. By now, the sun had warmth, and we were ready to go. But Doug had run out of work! OK, time to play!

Craig Deutsche led us on an easy walk to some very interesting areas. One big rock was pockmarked with holes up the face overlooking the Plain. We could clearly see four raptor nests. All were empty this time of year. Underneath one I picked up owl pellets with intact little mice and kangaroo rat skulls. Fascinating.

Finally, it was time to leave. As we came down the road from Selby Camp, there, close on our right beside Soda Lake Road, was a herd of about a dozen pronghorn. They were alertly watching us, and the faint breeze seemed to carry their message, "Thank you so very, very much."

Their thanks go to Doug Wreden, BLM maintenance manager. Our volunteers came from all over: Eric Rorer from Mill Valley, Jane and George Collier from Oakland, Jim VerSteeg from Porterville, Glenn Gragg from Santa Cruz, Tony Loftin from Sacramento, Sid Silliman from Upland, Alice Bond from San Francisco, Greg Frugoli from Cambria, Joan O'Keefe from Atascadero, and Jason Hashmi and Craig Deutsche from Los Angeles. They braved rain and cold and did a fantastic job.

 


< back to all issues

In This Section

Current
Humpback whale visit poses eco-ethics questions
December 2011

California leads in fighting oil addiction
October 2011

Plastic bag ban gaining momentum
October 2011

WTO rules dolphin-safe tuna a trade violation
August 2011

WTO may cut US meat labeling
October 2011

Club's Beyond Coal Campaign awarded $50 million
August 2011

Whales store carbon
August 2011

Watershed Dippers
August 2011

Richardson Grove redwoods get reprieve
August 2011

Richardson Grove redwoods threatened by highway widening
June 2011

Resilient Habitats Campaign will address effects of sea level rise
April 2011

Enviros defeat Bohemian Grove logging plan
April 2011

Sierra Club works to phase out coal
April 2011

Protect CEQA and Environmental Laws in the State Budget Process
March 2011

FDA ponders genetically engineered salmon
December 2010

State of the air
December 2010

Antibacterial soap affects fish reproductive behavior
December 2010

State bill would ban single-use plastic bags
August 2010

Atrazine affects fish reproduction
August 2010

New law will protect Americans from formaldehyde
August 2010

Opt out of unwanted phone books
August 2010

You might not be planning for climate change, but the State is
June 2010

Club report explores ending oil dependence
June 2010

American pika
June 2010

Will Commercial Whaling Resume?
May 2010

Our national parks: a vision for the second century
February 2010

Former Yosemite Supervisors call for restoring Hetch Hetchy
December 2009

Assembly resolution puts pressure on Feds to enforce Marine Mammal Act
October 2009

Report proposes sustainable water solutions for California
October 2009

Free online course on Clean Water Act
October 2009

Only 11 states have bottle laws
October 2009

UCSC makes list of “Coolest” Schools
Sierra’s top 20 coolest schools of 2009
October 2009

Farr seeks upgrade of Pinnacles to National Park
October 2009

Fishing rods donated to youth programs
October 2009

State releases climate change adaptation plan
October 2009

State still considering new logging rules
August 2009

Old Growth Redwoods
August 2009

Protected land database now available
August 2009

How much would you save by ditching your gas guzzler?
August 2009

NOAA website provides resources for coastal cities dealing with climate change
August 2009

Stimulus funds to benefit national forests
August 2009

New report shows birds in decline
June 2009

700,000 acres of new wilderness designated in California
June 2009

Researchers map West Coast ocean threats
June 2009

Sierra Club successfully challenges Stockton’s General Plan Update
June 2009

Say NO to bottled water
June 2009

Local residents propose environmental laws
June 2009

Traffic pollution linked to new cases of asthma
June 2009

County Supervisors support net metering
June 2009

Labor and enviros join forces
April 2009

Restore Hetch Hetchy moves HQ to San Francisco
April 2009

Carl Pope to step down
January 2009

Border wall harming wildlife
January 2009

Learning bird behavior turns kids into scientists
January 2009

Air Board warns consumers about air purifiers
January 2009

Green Streets improve water quality
January 2009

State body proposes plastic bag fees
January 2009

Clean coal is a myth
January 2009

Cutting their carbon footprints
January 2009

Carl Pope to step down as Executive Director of Sierra Club
January 2009

Legislation needed to increase amount of renewable energy
December 2008

Recycling alone is not the answer
December 2008

Patented seeds violate farmer's rights
December 2008

Sierra Club organizer mobilizing volunteers against clearcutting
October 2008

PG&E invests in gas, nuclear and hot air
August 2008

Help prepare Sierra Club huts for winter
August 2008

Air Board develops draft plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions
August 2008

Eating for a Healthy Planet
May 2008


Global Warming rekindles nuclear power debate
May 2008


Volunteers needed for LeConte Lodge
March 2008


Action Alert!
Tell the Governor to support Zero Emission Vehicles
March 2008


A gift for the Corrizo Plain pronghorn
January 2008


SB 375 would link land use planning and transportation
January 2008


Governor proposes closing state parks & cutting lifeguards
January 2008


Track green-ness of your electricity
December 2007


UC named 4th in Sierra's list of cool schools
December 2007


Clair Tappaan Warming Hut property protected by conservation easement
October 2007


Cutting back on meat can help global warming
October 2007


Disappearing polar bear habitat
October 2007


International trade
August 2007


Green wedding
August 2007


New roles for our National Parks
August 2007


How we reduced our carbon footprint
April 2007


Joyce Stevens turns 80!
February 2007


Sierra Club launches weekly radio show
February 2007


Co-op America's 12-Step Plan for Climate Action
February 2007


A visit with the great California condors
June 2006


Bush administration abandons long-standing protections for critical wildlife habitat on Alaska’s North Slope

Chapter opposes water management scheme for Seaside Aquifer

Chapter and Group events to highlight marine sanctuary

End of an era: Ventana Chapter Bookstore closes

California has opportunities to reduce mercury poisoning

A biting issue

Sanctuary Draft Management Plan due out this summer

Nature Conservancy acquires gateway to Pinnacles National Monument

Elkhorn Slough threatened by subdivisions

Open space preserved on San Mateo County Coast

Greased lightning - Peregrine falcons in California

It’s time to restore Hetch Hetchy

Appeal to deny subdivision near Elkhorn Slough successful

Chapter revises Los Padres National Forest map

Forest geneticists visit Point Lobos

Methyl bromide poisoning devastates farm workers’ health

Resurrect those old Sierra Club cups?

Transit - highway rules unfair

California's oak woodlands need your help!