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Wilderness Volunteers

Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge, AZ (Nov 7th - Nov 13th 2021)

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The Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) was established in 1985 to preserve and restore the natural desert landscape and wildlife of over 115,000 acres in southern Arizona. The rolling hills of grasslands, river banks lined with Cottonwood and willow, and seasonal marshlands are home to a multitude of wildlife including pronghorn, mule deer, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, javelina, gray hawks, black-bellied whistling ducks, jackrabbits, skunk, rattlesnakes, desert tortoises, quail, and Gila monsters. Brown Canyon is located on the west side of the refuge at the foothills of the Baboquivari mountains; its sycamore-lined stream meanders through 200 million-year-old volcanic rocks and is home to coatimundi, mountain lions and maybe even an occasional jaguar visiting from Mexico.

Our service project will be removing old interior barbed-wire fences leftover from ranching days in cooperation with volunteers from the Friends of Buenos Aires NWR. The fence removal is part of an ongoing 15-year project by the Refuge to remove interior fences; only ~20 miles of the fence remains down from the over 150 miles of fences that originally existed. We will machine or hand roll fence wire, pull fence posts and carry them to a UTV to be transported out to trucks for later recycling. If the terrain is difficult, the UTV will not be used so materials will either be hand carried out or left in the field depending on the distance. Our volunteer group will also modify some boundary fence into wildlife-friendly fence if bordering rancher will accept that. This involves removing the top and bottom barbed wires and replacing them with smooth wire making it easier for wildlife to get over, under or through.

If the neighboring rancher will not accept wildlife friendly fence, we will replace damaged barbed wire boundary fence to keep cattle off the Refuge. The group will be camping in Brown Canyon near public restrooms and amid mountains and other great scenery.  Refuge volunteers will transport everyone to the work site each day.

For 2021 and due to COVID-19, participants will need to transport themselves to/from the job site. High clearance vehicles are preferred for the gravel dirt road (ex: a Subaru Outback works fine). Low clearance passenger vehicles are highly discouraged and will require slower driving.

Please note: Due to COVID-19, Wilderness Volunteers is operating our 2021 project schedule under our Modified Project Procedures for Volunteers. These project guidelines will be revised as needed. Please check back often for the latest version.

Due to additional COVID-19 precautions, we are prohibiting mixed household volunteer carpooling (with volunteers outside of the same household traveling in the same vehicle) to projects until further notice. Exceptions to this policy (eg close friends traveling together) will need to be discussed with/pre-approved by the office and will require additional precautionary steps for the individuals involved.  Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.

Come give something back to the Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge with Wilderness Volunteers!

This project is rated as a strenuous project.

Check out more photos from last years Buenos Aires project in our gallery.


Nov 7th - Nov 13th 2021

Service Project

Creating open spaces punctuated by brush-covered areas to enhance the habitat of the endangered Mask

Agency logo

Free Days

Hiking, photography, sunning, relaxing


Car/tent camping at volunteer campground

Project Difficulty

Strenuous : Bending, digging, lifting, carrying, cutting, hauling.


Don Meaders
Lee Cooper

Equipment List