Lop, Lop, Lop for Sage Grouse!

  • May 05, 2017
  • Posted by Jade Wennlund

It finally happened!  We went on our first nine day hitch to beautiful Malta, ID to work on sage grouse habitat improvement.  We learned from our project sponsors that sage grouse aren’t endangered yet but will be if their habitat continues to be compromised.  The major threat is juniper which is a native species but due to the lack of fire has encroached on the sage brush habitat that the grouse thrive in.  The large juniper trees allow predatory birds a much higher vantage point to hunt sage grouse and the grouse will not settle in an area with a lot of juniper. 

We took to the aptly named Jim Sage Mountains armed with loppers and hand saws to do our worst.  Luckily for us a crew from Central Divide arrived ahead of us and was able to line us out and give us all their tips and tricks they learned over their time on the project.  Over the nine days we cut acres of juniper, ate some great meals, enjoyed the sunshine, climbed Red Rock Mountain, wrote countless song parodies inserting the word “loppers” into numerous hit songs, battled with sleet and snow, and even celebrated a birthday.  The hitch was a great learning opportunity for us as crew leaders to go out into the great unknown on our own for the first time and I can’t wait for the next one!


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