Friends of Northern Arizona Forests

FoNAF Aspen Team

The Aspen Team is a group of FoNAF members who go out as a work team to repair and maintain aspen exclosures, Bebb willow exclosures and fences protecting riparian and other threatened areas. A fence "exclosure" is similar in purpose to any other fence except it keeps wildlife and humans out of the protected area so that new growth can mature unharmed.

During the months from May until November (depending upon the weather), we usually go once or twice a week. Several of us are retired and can go on weekdays while others are not and can only make weekends. Since FoNAF members are considered to be Forest Service volunteers, we are able to use Forest Service vehicles, tools and supplies. 

The coordinator of the team is Dave Downes, and he plans a schedule of workdays for each month at least a week before the month begins. But we all know that any schedule is subject to change due to weather or changes in members’ plans – hey, we’re volunteers.

Our goals focus on protecting and encouraging the growth of the natural resources, to include :

  •  bring all of the exclosures within the Flagstaff and Mogollon Rim Ranger              Districts up to our standards
  •  monitor and maintain them as needed
  •  react quickly when a steward reports a need for an urgent repair
  • ┬Ěconstruct some new ones as funding becomes available

But another goal is to enjoy each other’s company and to have a fun day in the forest. If this is an activity that you think you might like to try, let Dave know – 928-522-9207 or email at

Aspen Team Members 2017

  • Chuck Adams
  • Ron Bauman
  • Bruce Belman
  • Barry Brenneman
  • Ed Clark
  • Tony DeCou
  • Dave Downes
  • Bob Dyer
  • Jim Hoyne
  • Maynard Keenan
  • Bill Kluwin
  • Tom Mackin
  • Ron Norton
  • Curt Knight
  • Gary "Scotty" Scott
  • Doug Shepard
  • Mea Stees
  • Vince Stento
  • Bill Waters

History of the Aspen Team

In the summer of 2009, shortly after Friends of Northern Arizona Forests was formed, a small group of members began to visit the 40-some aspen exclosures that were located within the Flagstaff Ranger District to identify those that most needed repair. The original idea was that these exclosures would be the work sites for volunteer work days when the public would be invited to participate. We held two such workdays on Saturdays in November 2009 and were gratified at the turnout and the amount of work accomplished. But we soon realized that it would take many years of holding monthly workdays to repair all of the exclosures within the District.

                    An historic photo: our first public workday, November 2009

When we went out in the spring of 2010, we found most of the exclosures to be in need of even more work because the heavy snowpack of the previous winter had pulled the fences down. Several of us are retired, and we decided that we could spend a day or two each week working on various exclosures, and so the Aspen Team was created.   Over time, we have expanded to building and maintaining fences to protect Bebb willows, riparian areas and other locations that are at risk of being damaged by wildlife or humans.  In addition, we are assisting the wildlife crew in rebuilding many miles of pasture and right-of-way fence to make it pronghorn friendly (raising the bottom wire and replacing barbed wire with smooth).

Since 2009, the team has a significant list of accomplishments:

  • repaired/rebuilt more than 50 fences, ranging in size from a few hundred feet to more than a mile
  • constructed 16 aspen exclosures, 3 Bebb willow exclosures and one fence around a riparian area
  • and in 2015 alone we built six new exclosures and rebuilt three others.

                                  Public workday in Hart Prairie, July 2010

2017 schedule of fence workdays

Please see the Events Calendar for the latest information.

We will post information about public workdays for June through September as they are planned – click on Events Calendar under the banner. 

© Friends of Northern Arizona Forests
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software