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Repairs underway for wildlife fence

With herds of free-roaming wild horses and burros calling the open land surrounding Pahrump home, car-versus-equine crashes are an unfortunate but all-too-common occurrence.

Fencing is a one solution that can provide a barrier to direct these animals away from roadways, thus reducing the potential danger to both drivers and the horses and burros. However, the wildlife fencing that formerly offered a layer of protection along the northern end of one the valley’s main corridors, Highway 160, has been in poor condition for several years.

But it won’t be that way for much longer. Nye County officials and a group of volunteers are now working to repair the fence in what has become a true community effort.

“We had a heck of a weekend! Last weekend, we started on the BLM fence,” Nye County Commission Chair Debra Strickland announced at the board’s most recent meeting, held May 7. “Now you’ll recall, when you leave north out of Pahrump (on Highway 160), there is a cattle guard. At that cattle guard, there is a fence going up into the mountains. That fence has been torn down in several sections… The first mile was the worst of it and we got the first mile done!”

Commissioner Frank Carbone and Strickland both took a hands-on part in the effort, as did Nye County Public Works Director Tom Bolling and Southern District Road Supervisor Andy Raetz, along with several others.

“I’d like to do a shout-out to the Death Valley Market for providing the shade, water, ice and tables. Angela Shillings did the same thing. The port-a-potty… Joe’s Sanitation paid for it. We had a gas-powered fence-post driver by Rent-to-Go. The fencing material was from BLM, public works supplied a backhoe, a Polaris and a trailer and of course all the hand tools. Southwestern Wilds and the commissioners provided lunch and Pricilla Lane brought us Gatorade,” Strickland detailed with evident appreciation.

Those interested in participating in the project to protect the wild horses and burros will have their chance next month, when volunteers and the county head back out into the desert to repair more of the six-mile fence line.

“There is another five miles of fence to do, so our next fencing operation will be the first weekend in June,” Strickland stated, adding, “And if you don’t have interest in going out and getting dirty, think about baking us cookies or something, whatever you can do to give back to your community, because this is a community event.”

Strickland said she is hoping to see at least 20 volunteers per day for the Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2 effort.

“We prefer people to submit the volunteer forms in person because we need the original copy,” Nye County Public Information Officer Arnold Knightly noted. “It only takes a few minutes to do the form.”

Volunteer forms are available at the Nye County Administration Office, 2100 E. Walt Williams Drive.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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