A member of the National Parks Conservation Association partners with the Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation and Nature Valley in Wyoming to tag barbed wire fences in Teton National Park. Photo by David J. Swift, courtesy of NPCA flickr.com.
Fences. Perhaps the only item more symbolic of a lack of public access than a “No Trespassing” sign is a fence.
Three strands or five. Barbed or high-tensile. A fence sends a pretty clear message: Keep out. To wildlife, it can carry another message: Death. The Jackson Hole Wildlife Foundation is trying to change that, one mile at a time.
“Fencing does more than keep people out, it also impacts the movement patterns of wildlife,” said Corey Hatch, executive director of JHWF. “A fence isn’t just a reminder that access might be limited, it can also mean that wildlife are facing an unnecessary risk. We want to remove as much of that risk as we can.”
In 1996, JHWF conducted a project to remove unwanted fence from private land near Wilson, Wyo. From that single effort, a movement was started and a new mission for the organization was launched. In 2006, the group and its team of volunteers topped the 100-mile mark for fence removal. That number has steadily risen since.