Beatys Butte Fenceline Retrofit Project #1


The Land Between: The Greater Hart-Sheldon Region

The Land Between: The Greater Hart-Sheldon Region


John Cunningham, ONDA member and volunteer

John Cunningham, ONDA member and volunteer

Restoration is hard slow work. It takes hold, or it doesn’t, in fits and starts. The immensity of the need can be discouraging, but we must carry on. I am so thankful ONDA carries on.


Helen Harbin on Wildlife

Helen Harbin on Wildlife

Organizer: Renee Patrick

Dates: May 11 – May 14, 2023

Place: Beatys Butte near Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge

Difficulty Rating:  Level 4: Strenuous

Maximum Group Size: 15 participants

About the place

The Beatys Butte region includes an area of traditional aboriginal use by the Burns Paiute Tribe. The Tribe has a small reservation in Harney County, located near Burns; the Burns Paiute people are the descendants of the Northern Paiute, or Wadatika people. The Wadatika’s homeland encompasses a territory from the Cascade Mountains east past what is now Boise, and from the Columbia River south well into Nevada. Learn more about The Burns Paiute Tribe here.

Beatys Butte is an integral part of the “land between” Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge in south-central Oregon and Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge in northern Nevada. Explore ONDA’s Greater Hart-Sheldon Storymap to learn more about this region. The Beatys Butte allotment is 575,495 acres in total, 506,985 acres of which are public land. The area on and around the Beatys Butte Allotment supports a variety of wildlife and includes winter and migratory habitat for pronghorn antelope, and habitat for sage grouse, pygmy rabbits, western big-eared bats, ferruginous hawks, burrowing owls, desert and short-horned lizards, and other mammals and birds.

Almost 80% of the allotment overlaps the Beatys Butte Sagebrush Focal Area, one of the six most important areas identified by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the long-term survival of the greater sage-grouse. Beatys Butte provides both important migration corridors and critical year-round habitat for the regional pronghorn population.

Barbed wire fences present throughout the allotment pose risks to wildlife. Low flying sage grouse are known to become entangled in standing fence, while pronghorn and other ungulates may be unable to cross the fence, limiting both their daily movement and seasonal migrations.

About the stewardship work

This project will improve pronghorn passage by retrofitting barbed wire fence to wildlife friendly standards on the Beatys Butte allotment. We will start work at 8 a.m. and travel back to camp by 4 p.m. in order to leave time in the afternoon to clean-up, relax, and cook a well-deserved dinner. The work each day will involve hiking to the project location, running heavy wire spools, pulling staples and unclipping wire, walking along to spool it up, then stapling and clipping the new wire.

George Wuerthner

Trip timeline

  • Thursday, May 11, 4-7 pm: Meet at a primitive camping site near the project location.
  • Friday-Saturday, May 12-13: After breakfast we will travel to the work site and retrofit fence. Volunteers should plan to be out all day and be prepared for a full day of work. On Saturday volunteers are welcome to head home after the day’s work or spend one last night camping together.
  • Sunday, May 14: After breakfast we will head home.


We will be car camping on undeveloped public land. Please be prepared for primitive camping; you will need to bring your own water for the duration of the trip. ONDA will provide a pop-up toilet system.


Level 4

The physical demands of this trip are moderate to strenuous. Work involves driving on maintained and unmaintained roads, day hiking to the project site, carrying heavy spools of wire, and repetitive tasks like pulling staples and unclipping wire.

Participant responsibilities

Participants are responsible for their own food and water/beverages. Sturdy hiking boots, long pants, long sleeves and eye protection will be required for the work.

Gear provided

ONDA will provide the instruction, camping toilet, some shared camping equipment such as tables and pop-up shade tents, tools and supplies, and excellent guidance in the field.


An ONDA registration application and medical form are required for this trip.

Apply Now

You will receive a confirmation email within 2 weeks of submitting your form. The confirmation email will provide information regarding which trips you are on the “participant list” for, and which trips are full, and therefore you have been placed on the “wait list.”

Six weeks before the start of the trip, the trip leader will send out an RSVP to make sure everyone is still able to participate. Based on RSVPs, open spaces will be backfilled with people from the waitlist.

Three weeks before the trip start date, registered and confirmed participants will receive driving instructions, maps, carpooling options, and additional information in an email sent by the trip leader

If you have any questions in the meantime, please don’t hesitate to contact the trip leader.