Volunteers remove 1.5 miles of old fence from Gila Wilderness

Removal reduces entanglement hazards for native wildlife and improves wilderness character


Volunteers and Gila National Forest staff recently set out on a chilly February weekend to improve wildlife habitat northeast of Mimbres, New Mexico. 

A crew of four volunteers and one pooch from the New Mexico Chapter of Backcountry Hunters and Anglers joined staff from the Gila National Forest to clean up an old fence at Turkey Cienega in the Gila Wilderness. Together, they rolled up and staged for removal 1.5 miles of barbed and woven wire fencing from the Gila Wilderness, near Turkey Cienega tank. The site is located west of the North Star Road on the Gila National Forest, Wilderness Ranger District.

“My sincerest thanks go to the volunteers who took out time from their busy schedules to help eliminate this outdated and unnecessary section of fence,” said Wilderness District Ranger Henry Provencio. “In addition to removing entanglement issues for wildlife, removal of the fence helps improve the undeveloped character and untrammeled quality of the Gila Wilderness.”

The old fence was dilapidated, partially buried under vegetation, and no longer needed for management of any grazing allotment. Volunteers removed wire and steel fence posts, staging the material to be packed out later by the Gila Wilderness pack string and their handler on a future date. To view photos of the project visit Turkey Cienega Fence Removal | Flickr.

Volunteers contributed nearly 17,000 hours of service on the Gila National Forest in 2022. Learn more about opportunities for volunteering on the Gila National Forest at Gila National Forest - Volunteering (usda.gov).