Passage 40 – Kaibab Plateau South; Passage 41 – Kaibab Plateau Central

The North Kaibab Ranger District (NKRD)—the “north rim” in common terms—is a fabulous, distant pristine forest offering cool summer temperatures, billowing white clouds in incredible blue skies, and green forests, when much of Arizona is wilting in the summer heat.

The ATA has traditionally held at least one summer event to take advantage of these conditions, attracting stalwart volunteers willing to drive the distance for fun times in the cool pine trees.  This year’s objective was to help the NKRD rebuild the decaying log fences at Orderville and East Rim View trailheads.

The “usual suspects” plus a few more volunteers gathered at Orderville August 23 to get started.  After the early arrivals had set up camp, they gathered and hauled several loads of native rock to the site, to serve as foundations for the fence.

The fences are assembled out of the rock foundations, twelve-foot long pine logs up to nearly a foot in diameter, and two twelve-inch spikes for each log.  Specifications called for 5-7 inch logs but the logger delivered many much larger ones.  Other than that it took five people to lift the big ones, this was just fine, they make good tall fences.

The first task Friday morning was to demolish and remove the old fence, believed to be twenty-five or so years old.  While much of it looked sound, once demolition started it was obvious the logs were quite rotten.  Its time was up.  Volunteers cut the wires holding the logs to the poles and everyone pitched in to pile them where firewood collectors will have easy access.

Then layout began.  This was a zig-zag fence surrounding the parking lot and stretching along the AZT and roadways to keep vehicle traffic off the grass.  Some trial and error—what angle is each zig or zag from the previous one—soon resulted in a system that worked well and progress was quickly evident.  The original plan called for a log pattern where every other span would be higher than the two adjoining spans, but the old fence had one end of the span resting on the rock and the other on top of the next span’s bottom log.  This proved more attractive and easier to construct.

The spiking crew followed, pre-drilling and then hammering a 12-inch spiral spike through each log at each joint.  A generator kept several drills charged and ran a few of those old-fashioned corded drills.  Even with pre-drilling, the hammering proved to be quite strenuous.

By lunchtime of the second day, 103 spans were complete at Orderville.  Everyone loaded up and drove the ~40 miles to East Rim View where they demolished the old fences and prepared for construction.  A thunderstorm below the rim cut the day a bit short but no one complained.  One tourist commented that while enjoying the view they saw a lightning strike start a fire.  The FS fire crews were quickly on it.

Sunday morning work started on the new fences at East Rim View.  The crews had become quite proficient and progress again was impressive.  The heavy lifters sorted the logs and delivered them along the fence line with a trailer, speeding the work along.  By quitting time only a couple hours of light work remained.  Monday the crew took a rather leisurely pace and completed the 88 spans by 11:00 AM.

The trailheads at FR 610 and Murray’s Lake are on the list for similar treatment, perhaps next year.

Many thanks to long-time ATA volunteers John M., Liz G., Gordon H., Scott C., David R., Donovan., Tom K., Terry H., Jane H., Bill H., Zach M., Roger S., Jan A., Lee A., and Tracy F.  We welcomed first-time ATA volunteers Tom B., Cuyler B. and Mike R. to this event and hope we didn’t scare them off.  It was a joy getting to know the “newbies.”  Special thank you to Terry H. and Jan A. for handling the cooking duties so expertly, and to Cuyler B. for the dutch oven treats after dinner.  And of course, the project would never have gotten off the ground without support from Melissa Robinson and Allison Ayers of the NKRD, and Laura White, USFS AZT Administrator.  Thank you All!


For a fun video click here: IMG_9741


First, remove and pile the old fence, then you need the materials along the fence-line-to-be.


Laying up the base logs.


Lots of heavy lifting.


More heavy lifting. Sorting the logs by size helped make the work go smooth.


Putting them together.


One row at a time.


Pulling the old posts by hand took a lot of valuable energy, plan B helped.


Spacers needed at the end of each run.


The AZT south out of Orderville TH


New fence around the parking lot at Orderville.


The crew removed this fence at East Rim View which was not to be replaced.

All gone.

Getting with it.


Finishing crew East Rim View


All done and heading for home.


Pretty fence.


New fence, snaking through the aspens.

Crew at Orderville.