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Four Wheel Campers Hosts Third Annual Volunteer Event in Southern Arizona

Four Wheel Campers Hosts Third Annual Volunteer Event in Southern Arizona

In March 2024, Four Wheel Campers returned to the Sonoran Desert for our third annual volunteer event with Friends of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge (Friends of BANWR). Located in Southern Arizona along the U.S.-Mexico border, the 118,000-acre Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge was established in the 1980s by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) to provide critical habitat for the endangered masked bobwhite quail. In addition to a wealth of desert fauna, including pronghorn, deer, javelina, coyotes and bobcats, the refuge has over 80 dispersed campsites, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

Four Wheel Campers worked with Friends of BANWR in 2022 and 2023 on several habitat restoration initiatives, and this year we completed an erosion control project on the trails at the Visitor Center. Between winter precipitation and monsoon season, these paths are prone to washouts, so our mission was to create channels on and around the trails to prevent further erosion. After a brief introduction from Refuge Manager Richard Albers and Friends of BANWR, our group of 25 volunteers grabbed shovels and wheelbarrows and dove in. The first two hours were spent digging large sections across the trail, and it took us the rest of the day to fill the channels with rocks of varying sizes.

We stayed in the Refuge’s expansive group campsite, which is structured like a large campground with two dozen numbered sites tucked among mesquite trees. The group site has a massive shade ramada, a fire pit and incredible views of the Baboquivari Mountains, so it’s easy to see why this is one of the most cherished locations for our volunteer events. A delicious dinner from BK Barbecue was delivered right to camp, and the grand finale was a cotton candy sunset, turning the entire sky a soft shade of pink.

We set up a breakfast station with fruit and granola bars around 8 a.m. the following morning, and we departed half an hour later to resume our erosion control project. Though we had blocked off two full days for the job, our group finished with several hours to spare. Some volunteers ventured into the charming town of Arivaca, while others explored popular sites in the Refuge, including the quail flight pen and Pronghorn Drive. When volunteers reconvened at camp in the evening, we devoured a spread of Mexican food provided by Rancho de la Osa, a historic guest ranch located in nearby Sasabe, Arizona. Everyone raved about their homemade tres leches cake with fresh berries, and not surprisingly, it was gone within a matter of minutes.

On the final morning, a dozen volunteers went on a bird walk with Friends of BANWR at the Arivaca Cienega Trail, which runs along riparian habitat a few miles east of camp. The most valuable feedback we received last year was to include educational activities and additional time to explore the areas around our work sites, and moving forward, we will be offering more of these opportunities at all of our volunteer events. The events are free to attend and open to the public, and some meals are provided, along with beverages, including beer and wine. For the latest details on volunteer events, please be sure to check the Events page, or sign up for the Four Wheel Campers newsletter.

Thank you to everyone who attended, and we hope to see you again next year!

Photos and words by Elisabeth Brentano

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Order turn times range from 15 – 18 weeks, depending upon location.

We hope to be part of your 2024 adventures!

Team Four Wheel Campers – Since 1972

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