Eagle Scout project removes old Valles Caldera fences

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By Special to the Monitor

More than 40 volunteers recently participated in an all-day Eagle Scout project on the Valles Caldera National Preserve to remove more than 1.5 miles of dysfunctional barbed wire fencing and metal posts from an area known as Alamo Canyon.

Originally used by the former Baca Ranch for sheep and cattle grazing, the fencing blocked the hillside migration paths of big game animals.

Eagle Scout candidate, 15-year-old Thomas Crotzer explained, the elk and deer would get injured trying to jump over or go through the fencing while daily grazing. The animals would also become entangled when they moved between summer and winter feeding grounds.”

Crotzer said he wanted to choose an Eagle Scout project that was conservation-based.

“This one seemed perfect,” he said.

In one day, the team of volunteers removed approximately four tons of steel, eliminating an eyesore that degraded the natural beauty of the area.

Of the project, Ranch Foreman Tim Haarmann said, “Thomas conducted his project in a very professional manner and was an exceptional ambassador for the Boy Scouts. It was a pleasure working with the group of Boy Scouts and adult volunteers. They were able to accomplish a task that would have otherwise not been. The project was a resounding success.”

In exchange for their labors, project volunteers enjoyed perfect weather conditions during their day on the Valles. A frito pie lunch provided by Crotzer was served in a clearing overlooking a meadow with scenic vistas of the surrounding pine-covered mountains. A choice of fruit pies for dessert provided by Mrs. Rebecca Stradling completed the meal for the workers.

A special participant in the project was Crotzer’s grandfather, Ray W. Guffee who traveled from Glendale, Ariz., to participate. Other project volunteers included several older Eagle Scouts as well as classmates, teachers, fellow church members, Scouts and scouting leaders, family neighbors and community friends of Crotzer.

Crotzer is a member of Troop 222 chartered to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He began planning for his Eagle Scout project in February and the project workday took place August 8.

Crotzer raised a portion of the funds required for the fence-removal by doing yard work for the last two summers. In partnership with the Valles Caldera National Preserve, corporate sponsors included Los Alamos National Bank, Children’s Clinic, White Rock Smith’s Food and Drug, Conoco Service Station and Metzger’s Do It Best.