ELKO – The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest is teaming up with numerous partners to host another Volunteer Day to continue the rehabilitation of Lamoille Canyon.
The event on Oct. 19 will begin at the Powerhouse Picnic Area’s parking lot at 9 a.m. Efforts will focus on planting sagebrush, bitterbrush, chokecherry and mountain mahogany, as well as cleaning up trash, stacking and loading deadfall, and mending fence that was damaged by the Range 2 fire.
The Range 2 fire was fully contained in October 2018 and restoration efforts have been ongoing ever since. The USDA Forest Service, Nevada Division of Forestry, Nevada Department of Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Friends of the Ruby Mountains, Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group, as well as other community partners and members, have been working together to successfully rehabilitate the burned area.
“Lamoille Canyon and the fantastic recreational opportunities it provides is very important to our local community,” said District Ranger Josh Nicholes. “The willingness of everyone to work together to help restore it has been great to see.”
Right after the fire, a Burned Area Emergency Response Team focused on mitigating safety hazards that occurred as a direct result of the fire. One of those hazards was the potential for rock falling onto the Lamoille Canyon Road, so a retaining wall was constructed.
In addition, approximately three miles of burned guardrails were replaced. Ruby Dome Construction and Cashman Equipment out of Elko, Nevada, provided assistance on the project, and the Forest Service was able to open the entire road for the public by Memorial Day weekend.
Another important part of the restoration effort in Lamoille Canyon is the revegetation work. In the fall of 2018, the Forest collaborated with the Friends of the Ruby Mountains and Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group to host a Volunteer Day where mountain mahogany seed was gathered from living trees in the canyon and distributed throughout the area where the mahogany had been killed by the fire. More than 140 people participated in the event. NDOW hosted a similar event to collect seed to use to rehabilitate the sagebrush over the burn area in December 2018.
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When federal employees were furloughed in winter of 2018/2019, NDOW also stepped in and led the aerial reseeding effort, yet another example of the collaboration of agencies to get the job done.
“We were happy to step in while everyone was on furlough. We cannot make things happen unless we all work together,” said Madi Stout, NDOW wildlife habitat biologist.
“So far the area is looking great. The seeding took really well and I think that this upcoming volunteer day is really going to further the success that we’re already seeing,” added Stout. “It is also a great way to get the community involved and to better inform them on the types of projects that we do as partner agencies.”
In addition, local businesses and organizations joined together to raise funds for the restoration effort, with High Desert Imaging contributing $10,000 toward the planting of native species such as sagebrush and bitterbrush.
“I am very pleased with the recovery that we are seeing overall, and I very much appreciate the community coming together to help restore such a special place,” said Nicholes. “The canyon is recovering quickly.”
The Ranger District continues to work closely with the Thomas Canyon cabin owners’ association as well as the Lions Club to facilitate approvals for reconstruction of the structures that were lost, including the historic lodge at Camp Lamoille.
Lamoille Canyon, one of the Humboldt-Toiyabe forest’s most visited and beloved canyons, is the largest valley in the Ruby Mountains. It provides the local community and other forest visitors numerous year-round recreation opportunities.
For more information about Lamoille Canyon and how you can assist with restoration efforts contact the Mountain City-Ruby Mountains-Jarbidge Ranger District Office in Elko at 738-5171.