Humboldt-Toiyabe NF News: Thanks to Community Support Lamoille Canyon Made Great Strides in Recovering from the Range 2 Fire

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Thanks to Community Support Lamoille Canyon Made
Great Strides in Recovering from the Range 2 Fire

Elko, NV., Dec. 10, 2019 – The Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest’s Mountain City-Ruby Mountains-Jarbidge Ranger District would like to thank all the volunteers, organizations, agencies, and companies that have assisted with the Lamoille Canyon fire recovery efforts.

Since the Range 2 fire was fully contained in October 2018, the USDA Forest Service, Nevada Division of Forestry (NDF), Nevada Department of Wildlife (NDOW), U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Natural Resource Conservation Service, Friends of the Ruby Mountains, Northeastern Nevada Stewardship Group, High Desert Imaging, Elko County, and around 250 volunteers and various local companies have put in thousands of hours 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 (BAER) 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.

With help from the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest Road Crew, Ruby Dome Construction, Cashman Equipment, Komatsu Equipment, Coastline Equipment out of Elko, Nevada, the Forest Service was able to open the entire road for the public by Memorial Day weekend. A special thanks go out to Gun World, who opened the store one Sunday, so the Forest Road Crew could purchase winter gear when the weather unexpectedly turned bad, which allowed the road work to continue despite the weather.

Recently, the Forest Road Crew with the help of a contractor completed a rock scaling project remove hazardous loose rocks from the canyon slopes that the winter snow and spring rains could cause to fall onto the roadway. “I again want to thank the public for their patience when we had to close the road into the canyon again,” added Nicholes. “This scaling effort was to head off possible public safety issues by diminishing the risk of rocks falling onto the road.”

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. Over 140 people participated in the event.

“Lamoille Canyon is a very special place to the people of Elko,” said Larry Hyslop, Friends of the Ruby Mountains President. “The volunteers who donated their Saturdays wanted to do what they could to help the canyon recover.”

NDOW hosted a similar event in December 2019 to collect seed to use to rehabilitate the sagebrush over the burn area. In October 2019, another volunteer day was organized and 65 volunteers helped plant 700 shrubs and trees and spread 80 pounds of grass seed.

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 incredible 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 our continued efforts are 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 towards the planting of native species such as sagebrush and bitterbrush. Other donors included Elko Federal Credit Union, Carter Engineering, Vanguard Charitable, Bree Richardson, Gerry Miller, Teresa Weaver-Davis, Byron Ingels, Egor Nozdya and Ann Patton. Bree Richardson has also been a great community advocate promoting the work being done in the canyon and all the volunteer opportunities.

“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 Forest’s most visited and beloved canyons, is the largest valley in the Ruby Mountains and located in northeastern Nevada. 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, please contact the Mountain City-Ruby Mountains-Jarbidge Ranger District Office in Elko at 775-738-5171.

Photos:

Filename: 191210-FS-Humboldt-GR-001
Caption: Volunteers pick mountain mahogany seed in 2018 to spread on burned ground from the Range 2 Fire.
Byline: Forest Service photo by Gary Reese (Nevada Department of Forestry).

Filename: 191210-FS-Humboldt-DC-002
Caption: Newly sprouting aspen trees two years after the Range 2 Fire.
Byline: Forest Service photo by Doug Clarke (USDA-FS).

Filename: 191210-FS-Humboldt-DC-003
Caption: A 2018 seeded mountain mahogany sapling continues to thrive one year later,
Byline: Forest Service photo by Doug Clarke (USDA-FS).

Filename: 191210-FS-Humboldt-GR-004
Caption: A group photo taken on October 2019 of volunteers who collected seeds.
Byline: Forest Service photo by Gary Reese (Nevada Department of Forestry).