Big things are happening in the surrounding mountains of Cats Creek. The Cats Creek Range Unit has been working diligently on constructing a fence that will range over three-square miles and create a boundary for tribal and private land.
The project began conception late 2013, with plans of making the fence a reality by late summer.
“This project was brought to me last year,” Doug Krueger, Range Technician for the Department of Natural Resources said. “By January of this year, we were able to have the project on the books and was able to survey the fencing area.”
There are many factors that must be taken in account before any fence could be constructed, mostly with private and tribal land.
When tribal and private land boarders each other a surveyor must come out and mark the land accordingly explained Krueger. Once staked, an Archeologist can find places of cultural significance, which can make a detour around the culturally sensitive area, he said.
Wild life is another big factor, which can happen building any fence.
“This fence has something we have never done before,” Krueger said. “We have decided to use a lay-down fence for this project.”
A lay-down fence allows for animals to have an easier and safer migration through the winter as well as reduced damage to the fence from snow.
“This allows the fence to have reduced damage and have a longer life,” he said.
Over three quarters of a mile will have the fence incorporated, with tribal land on both sides of the fence.
“We would never put a lay-down fence if it was a boundary to private land,” explained Kruger. “It’s just something we would never do.”
Other departments and divisions have been included into the project such as the Wood Yard, which takes away any wood that has been cut uses it for firewood for the membership.
For the project the Range Division teamed up with Zohnnie Construction Industries Inc. out of Farmington, N.M. to help get the fence up on schedule. Zohnnie Construction Inc. is a Native American-female-owned business.
“This is our first project we have ever done with Doug and the Range Division,” said Richard Phelps, manager at Zonnie Contruction.“We are looking forward to working more with the Southern Ute Tribe and the Range Division.”
The fence is expected to be finished by September 1, but could be finished by early to mid-August.