Ft. Grant Wildland Fire Crew builds erosion dams to protect EAC’s Discovery Park Campus

Contributed Photo: The Ft. Grant Wildland Fire Crew performs a variety of services at EAC’s Discovery Park Campus to better the area and hone their skills.

By Paul Anger

THATCHER – EAC’s Discovery Park Campus benefited from the hard work of the Ft. Grant Wildland Fire Crew as they honed their skills on a large-scale service project in continued preparation for the wildland fire season.

Contributed Photo: The Ft. Grant Wildland Fire Crew pose with one of their completed projects.

Under the direction of fire crew supervisors, Jeremy Rios, David Larson and Ivan Ponce, the Wildland Fire Crew regularly volunteers at the EAC Discovery Park Campus and complete important projects on the Campus that require much more manpower than the Discovery Park Staff has on hand. This includes trimming and cleaning several acres of mesquite and cottonwood trees that line the entrance to the lower campus and Ranch House Conference Facilities.  This year the crew “laddered” the vegetation along the “Nature’s Hide-Away” walking and jogging trails to eliminate dead or downward reaching branches and to make a healthier and safer environment for both the trees and visitors to the trails. It also promotes new growth.

The crew removed dead vegetation in the desert areas around the campus to promote “fuel reduction” or eliminating dried matter that could potentially fuel a wildland fire on the campus.
Beside their rigorous practice with chainsaws, hand tools, and hard work to prepare for the upcoming fire season, the Ft. Grant Wildland Fire Crew members take pride in improving and beautifying wherever they are with community enhancement projects.  While at the Discovery Park Campus, the crews cleared dead and fallen branches and beautified the new “Cottonwood Cove” next to the pond, where Eagle Scout Jacob Curtis installed a large concrete pad for environmental lessons, picnics and weddings.

They also installed two beautiful wooden beam steps leading from the Gila watershed Partnership’s Pollinator Garden area up to the bank of the DPC Pond, facilitating access for birdwatchers or hikers, and perfect for family pictures.

They also revamped the “Boot Hill” style Historical Graveyard just below the DPC Greenhouse. Originally created by Eagle Scout, Nick Knight, the site features faux graves and headstones with names and details of important individuals from Graham County history. The crew created a rustic barbed-wire and mesquite-branch fence two years ago.

Contributed Photo: The Fort Grant Wildland Fire Crew works hard at one of their work sites at Discovery Park Campus.

“Beside their willingness to protect our natural resources from wildfires and other natural threats, this crew is eager to provide service to our local communities,” said Paul Anger, EAC Discovery Park Campus, Director.   “Through hard work, determination and positive attitudes, these young men make a difference wherever they serve in the community. I’m impressed with their generosity and attention to detail and I appreciate all of their work and the improvements that they accomplished in such a short time. I hope the community will come out and enjoy their efforts.”

For more information on the EAC Discovery Park Campus or volunteer opportunities, visit or call the EAC Discovery Park Campus at (928) 428-6260.

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