Editor’s note:  This blog is by Casey Steenhoven, a BLM backcountry park ranger who recently led a group of volunteer wilderness stewards on a cleanup effort in Perjue Canyon.  ICL’s statewide wilderness stewardship program partners with agencies to get volunteers out into the wild places we have all worked so hard to protect. In the Owyhee Canyonlands wilderness areas, ICL is partnering with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Our volunteer stewards pour their love and service into self-directed projects, daylong cleanups, and occasional overnights with project leaders on this vast and rugged landscape. If you are interested in becoming an Owyhee steward, contact Lana Weber, ICL community engagement associate.

Perjue Canyon, in the Little Jacks Creek Wilderness of the Owyhee Canyonlands, is about 20 miles south of Grand View, Idaho. This rugged area is popular for hiking, backpacking, fishing and nature watching. The closest BLM wilderness to Boise and the urban area of southwest Idaho’s Treasure Valley, Little Jacks Creek receives a higher volume of recreational use than the other Owyhee Canyonlands wilderness areas.

Despite cool and windy conditions, on America Recycles Day this past November, seven stewardship volunteers and two BLM backcountry rangers adventured into the wilderness to work on a project. Surplus fencing materials needing to be cleaned up had previously been collected, but these big bulky items still had to be carried out of the wilderness. The group ended up carrying eight bundles of metal a mile and a half to the trailhead.

The wilderness stewardship program provides a unique opportunity for citizens to engage in the stewardship of wilderness and other public lands managed by the BLM. These volunteers help to restore, protect and enhance the wilderness character of the Owyhee Canyonlands wilderness areas. The partnership and program foster a cooperative relationship between the Idaho Conservation League and BLM.

– Casey Steenhoven, backcountry park ranger, BLM Bruneau Field Office