Youth Corps helps protect wildlife, clean up open spaces in Eagle
Workers clean up 7,000 feet of hazardous barbed wire fencing from open spaces
The town of Eagle hosted the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps this week to complete multiple projects to improve trails and open spaces for all the locals who traverse them, whether it be on two legs or four.
The group’s main project was the removal of nearly 7,000 feet of unused and unmaintained barbed wire fence from the Abrams Creek Open Space property southwest of Eagle Ranch, according to a recent press release.
The town’s open space and trails manager Brian Lieberman said Eagle was lucky to benefit from the help of the Youth Corps for 10 days before the workers made their leave Friday.
“It was awesome,” Lieberman said. “You get a big crew, you can just get a ton accomplished … I think it went a long way.”
Otherwise, open space and trail maintenance work is left to Lieberman and a seasonal trails technician, and there are certain things that you simply cannot accomplish with a two-man team, he said.
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The Youth Corps’ time in Eagle was the product of a funding partnership between the town of Eagle, the Eagle Ranch Wildlife Committee and the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Habitat Partnership Program. The group was in town from June 21 through July 2.
“The Eagle Ranch Wildlife Committee contributed funding to help the town purchase the Abrams Creek Open Space property in 2016. Owing to the critical winter range the property provides for big game, the Committee is excited to partner with the town and CPW to help improve habitat conditions in the area,” said Jamie Harrison, administrator of the Eagle Ranch Wildlife Committee, in a release.
The fence project had been on the town’s to-do list for a while, Lieberman said. The old barbed wire fence is unsightly and hazardous for local residents, but is potentially life-threatening for the wildlife passing through, he said.
“It’s a hindrance to wildlife that overwinter or migrate in that area,” Lieberman said. “A lot of our open spaces are critical habitat for the elk and deer that come down and spend the winter with us.”
The hardworking team crushed the fence removal project in eight days, forcing Lieberman to come up with other work for them to do, he said.
When the Sylvan Fire broke out and necessitated the closure of many area trails, the Youth Corps stepped in to put up fireline tape and blockades to inform the community of closures, Lieberman said.
Workers also cleaned up trash in open spaces and trails around Eagle and removed another old fence near the Haymaker trailhead, he said.
The Rocky Mountain Youth Corps program engages youth and young adults to “make a difference in themselves and their community through meaningful service opportunities, educational experiences, and employment,” according to the release.
Their two-week-long stay was made possible through CPW’s Habitat Partnership Program, which develops partnerships with landowners, land managers and the public to reduce the conflicts caused by deer, elk, pronghorn, and moose to agriculture.
Email Kelli Duncan at firstname.lastname@example.org