If you’re looking for ways you can get outside and help enhance wildlife habitat, below are two great projects that are seeking volunteers.
Buck Springs wildlife habitat project northeast of Payson, July 14-15
The Arizona Elk Society, Arizona Game and Fish Department, and U.S. Forest Service are conducting a volunteer work project the weekend of July 14-15 in Game Management Unit 5A, in the Coconino National Forest northeast of Payson. This is a unique area with high wildlife value and is home to elk, turkeys, bears, songbirds, native fish and a host of other important wildlife species.
Many of the area's meadows and associated riparian areas are becoming overrun with young pine trees. Unless the pine trees are removed, the meadows will be entirely overrun in time, and the important water storage role the meadows have will be lost.
In a cooperative venture, volunteers are invited to assist other volunteers from the Arizona Elk Society and personnel from Game and Fish and the Forest Service with cutting these young pine trees down, lopping the limbs off, and stacking them into piles so they can be burned by the Forest Service when dried.
Due to the remote location, it is suggested that volunteers come up on Friday and camp. The Arizona Elk Society will provide meals for participants on Friday night (dinner), Saturday (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and Sunday (breakfast and lunch).
Please bring gloves, long-sleeve shirts, hats, sunscreen, safety glasses and handsaws if you have them. Some items will be provided. Be prepared for cool mornings and rain. Old clothes are recommended.
This year’s camp is located in Game Management Unit 5A. Take Highway 87 to milepost 299.8, which is just northeast of the Blue Ridge Ranger Station. Turn south onto Forest Road (FR) 95 and go about 8.5 miles. Turn left onto FR 139 and proceed about 3.8 miles, then turn right on FR 139G. The campsite is about 200 yards from the intersection. A map can be found at www.arizonaelksociety.org. This is primitive camping, however, port-a-johns and wash stations will be on site. Space is available for vehicle, tent and RV camping.
If you would like to volunteer, please RSVP at www.arizonaelksociety.org so the Arizona Elk Society can plan meals. For more information, contact Tom Schorr with the Arizona Elk Society at Tomschorr@arizonaelksociety.org or Troy Christensen with the Arizona Game and Fish Department at (623) 236-7492 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
20th anniversary Boquillas Ranch cleanup near Seligman, July 28
The Mohave Sportsman Club, in cooperation with the Arizona Game and Fish Department, is hosting the 20th annual cleanup project at the Boquillas Ranch in Unit 10 in northwestern Arizona. This scenic ranch offers some outstanding wildlife habitat, and the one-day volunteer cleanup helps assure that it stays open for hunting and some other types of recreation.
Participants will meet at 8 a.m. on Saturday, July 28, at Pica Camp to receive information and supplies (gloves, bags, tools) from the Arizona Game and Fish Department. Pica Camp is located west of Seligman. Take State Route 66 to milepost 123.5, turn north through the gate and go two miles. Volunteers then will use their own vehicles (or carpool) to disperse across the large ranch and search for litter while exploring the area. After spending the day in the field, bring your trash back to Pica Camp where it can be transferred to Game and Fish to haul away.
Camping is available at the ranch or you can just come up for the day. Along with cleaning the environment, this cleanup project will help maintain public access on or across private property to public lands, and help maintain good relations between landowners and the public. Note: The Boquillas Ranch does not allow ATVs of any kind.