By Published On: July 30, 2021

Conifer Removal Restores Human and Wildlife Community Health

Shane Boren is a farmer and rancher in east-central Nevada from a small community near the town of Ely. He works for the region’s power company, volunteers with the area’s conservation district, and recently retired from the county game board after 20 years. He guided hunters and does some trapping. On top of that, he coached varsity basketball and loves picking wild asparagus.

When asked to describe the place he lives and works you can almost imagine him standing outside turning in a wide circle.

“We are literally on the edge of a dry desert where it meets our spring-fed valley before rising through high-country sagebrush to three mountains around 10,000 feet,” Boren said. “The valley has 11,000 gallons of water flowing out of springs feeding grass hay and alfalfa production all surrounded by cedar and pinyon pine country beyond. It’s a great place to live.”

Boren’s dedication to his community is reflected in his love of the landscape, as well as the many roles that he holds. One of the volunteer positions that keeps him particularly busy is as the Vice-Chair of the White Pine County Conservation District. As vice-chair, he works with ranchers, farmers, federal and state agencies, NGOs, and many other groups to write grant proposals to fund and enact conservation projects. These projects run the gamut from removing encroaching cedar and pinyon trees from sagebrush rangelands to soil conservation efforts like erosion control and water structure maintenance to noxious weed treatments. It takes a lot of work, especially as a volunteer, but Boren has a simple way of explaining why he attends (and often leads) all those late-evening meetings and conference calls.

“I like the accomplishment of seeing things happen to improve wildlife and rangeland health,” he said. “Just to see the country better off is enough for me. I’ve spent my life here and I want to see it better than how I found it.”

Read more about Boren’s work over at Partnering to Conserve Sagebrush Rangelands.