Friends of Northern Arizona Forests

Preservation of Vulnerable Natural Resources  

A significant part of FoNAF’s efforts has become the construction, repair, and maintenance of hundreds of miles of wire and log fences on both the Flagstaff Ranger District and the Mogollon Rim Ranger District.   

These fences are integral to the preservation of our natural resources.  

More specifically, they:

  • protect  young aspen and bebb willows from elk, deer and livestock who find  these trees to be delicious and, if allowed, will eat saplings, preventing them from reaching maturity
  •  protect sensitive riparian areas and meadows
  •  designate highway rights-of-way and pastures and other utilitarian   purposes
Below are three specific fence applications FoNAF builds and/or maintains at the request of the Forest Service.

Aspen Fence Exclosures

The Flagstaff Ranger District alone contains more than 65 fence “exclosures” that keep elk, deer, and livestock out.  Their locations range from the Hochderffer Hills (just north of the San Francisco Peaks) to five miles south of Mormon Lake.  There are approximately an equal number on the Mogollon Rim Ranger District.  Experience has shown that these fences need to be 7.5’ – 8’ high and maintained for 20-30 years.  If they are removed any sooner or are allowed to deteriorate, the elk, deer and livestock make short work of the young aspen or willows.

The aspen program has been our most successful project to date and has a set of pages devoted specifically to it. On the main menu bar at the top of the page, click on Aspen Program for a complete overview of aspen propogation and FoNAF's efforts to preserve them .

Riparian Fence Exclosures

These fences surround sensitive areas including springs, riparian areas and meadows to keep ungulates (elk and deer), livestock, and motorized vehicles out, allowing natural vegetation to flourish.    The fences must be 8’ high – not necessarily aesthetically pleasing but effective.  Fences designed just to keep out motorized vehicles are a log-worm design and can be very attractive.  FoNAF builds and maintains a variety of these fences on both districts. 

Pronghorn Friendly Fences

Many right-of-way and pasture fences were built using 3, 4 or even 5 strands of barbed wire.  These present a challenge to pronghorn antelope that do not jump over fences but scoot under them.  The Flagstaff Range District, in a joint effort with AZ Game and Fish, are converting some 50+ miles to be pronghorn friendly, i.e., replacing the bottom strand with smooth wire and insuring it is at least 18” above the ground.  FoNAF is assisting in this effort.

As a member of FoNAF you help with fence building by joining the Aspen Team 

Regardless of your knowledge and/or abilities in fence construction, there is always a way to help out.  You can come for just one or two days each season (June through September) or you can become more involved by joining the “Aspen Team.”

To participate or for more information, contact FoNAF's  Aspen Team Coordinator, Dave Downes. Phone: 928-522-9207 Email:

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