10.28.13

Barbed Wire and a Slow, Steady Pace in the Badlands

“We don’t have to get it all out today” explained David Eddleston, Executive Director of the Friends of the Badlands. Our group was relieved by this direction, as we loaded up multiple coils of barbed wire, but leaving more on the ground in this GPS-marked cache of removed fence materials. We hoisted metal posts loaded with the coils onto our shoulders, and began our slow march out to the trailhead. We were taking our turn in a slow and steady project, lasting many months, to remove obsolete fencing from this basalt lava landscape a mere 20 minutes outside of Bend known as the Oregon Badlands Wilderness.

The Friends of the Badlands, known more popularly as the “Fobbits,” are dedicated stewards of this Wilderness area, which was protected by Congress in 2009. David Eddleston remembers the day President Obama signed the legislation, “we began our hike that morning in a Wilderness Study Area, later got news of the signature, and so then walked back out of a fully-protected Wilderness.”

Project volunteers hikingFor many years, the Fobbits have been stewards of the Badlands, active on projects remove obsolete fencing, post signs, and otherwise caring for this land shaped by ancient lava flows from nearby Newberry Crater. With the Fobbits as our hosts, our Friends Rendezvous work party had an opportunity after Saturday’s full agenda of speakers and breakouts to stretch our legs, do some work for our public lands, and get a taste of the solitude and beauty that is the Oregon Badlands Wilderness.

Thank you Fobbits!

Group photo of volunteers