( Report from Dan Hicks ) On Sunday morning (June 27th), the Cranbrook Community Forest’s new Padawan Trail vicinity at Eager Hill became a safer playground for people & critters alike when 16 volunteers from three Kootenay outdoor societies – gloved & armed with wire cutters – aligned to sever, coil, & remove 1.1 kilometers of dangerous derelict barbwire fencing strands. The coils were piled high onto a trailer pulled by an all-terrain-vehicle trailer which made multiple unloading trips back to the highway pullout. The leaders of the three societies involved all participated; Joseph Cross of the Cranbrook Community Forest Society, Brian Marriot of the East Kootenay Backcountry Horsemen – he supplied & operated the ATV barbwire coil collector, & Chris Bullock of the Kootenay Orienteering Club.
Although people moving cautiously in daylight through terrain with derelict barbwire strewn about can usually avoid it, creatures which have either been spooked into quick action or are moving in lowlight conditions risk being lacerated by the barbs; swiftly moving people are susceptible to the same fate – overland bicyclists & orienteering cross-country racers.
Horses are ever susceptible to panic when they encounter unexpected threats.
So thanks to these determined enviro-volunteers, there is now an area of our community forest that is as benignly open to easy traversing as it appears, devoid of any hidden artificial hazards lurking within.
Derelict barbwire fencing is simplistically emblematic of the threat we humans pose to the natural world as we become ever more sophisticated. Once upon a time, when old log fences fell into disuse & disrepair, like dead trees – they crumpled and decayed into the earth quite naturally; but when barbwire fences fall into disuse & disrepair, they remain a threatening presence on the landscape forever unless proactive measures are undertaken to remove them.
Dan Hicks Cranbrook, BC/ 250 464-5399/ [email protected]
An open Rocky Mountain Trench Douglas fir forest where sheep & other creatures may safely graze.
Near the Cranbrook Community Forest’s new Padawan Trail at Eager Hill, coiled strands of derelict barbwire fencing hang on an old tree-fencepost; awaiting pickup & removal in an enviro-cleanup project undertaken by volunteers from the Cranbrook Community Forest Society, East Kootenay Backcountry Horsemen, & Kootenay Orienteering Club.
The Rockies are visible through the trees (right). DH photo