The exclosures constructed in the 1990’s provided protection around aspen clones that had received vegetation treatments to improve the health of aspen in the area. Treatments included removal of conifers from within the aspen stands to open the area to sunlight and reduce competition for water from other plants, shrubs and trees. The intent of the treatments was to help aspen clones continue to grow and provide important habitat for a variety of local wildlife species.
The fencing was installed to temporarily keep wildlife from browsing on the aspen clones. Now that the clones have continued to grow, the fencing was no longer needed and became a barrier to wildlife movement.
Last fall, the Beaverhead-Deerlodge NF submitted a wildlife enhancement project proposal to the RMEF to remove the fencing, and the Butte Chapter volunteered to complete the work. “The work the RMEF volunteers did helped to improve the habitat in the Adson Creek area,” commented Wise River District Ranger Russ Riebe. “By opening access to these clones, it has enhanced elk habitat in this highly popular hunting area in southwestern Montana.”