Lightheartedness, laughter and camaraderie marked the early morning of Saturday, September 20, 2014, as almost 250 members of the Sierra Vista Stake of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints worked alongside Sierra Vista Ranger District employees in Brown Canyon to repair, reinforce, and renovate various areas of the ranch.Almost 250 people worked with rangers to beautify Brown CanyonEager to help, the volunteers gathered together at the Brown Canyon House and parking lot on Ramsey Canyon Road and were divided into groups. They were assigned to tear down barbwire fences and posts, pick up trash, reinforce trails with rocks and logs, rehabilitate the frog pond, dig trenches for proper drainage around the Brown Canyon Home. Some cleaned the rooms in the home itself, where many historical items are on display.
Sarah Barchas and her family owned the ranch until 1998, when they sold it to the National Forest Service. Sarah was on hand to thank members of the group. “It was amazing to us at Brown Canyon Ranch to see the extraordinary number of people from your congregation across ages from adults to children who came to be of service and to give of themselves so fully. They showed a degree of dedication, teamwork, and generosity that was exemplary. It was a pleasure to meet many of you and to see the spirit of hard work joined with spirit of good will which you embody, seeking to do good in helping others. We deeply thank you for accomplishing so much across many dimensions, and giving your time, energy, skills, and caring to help us at this beautiful historic site. We always welcome extra help on workdays, but you made this a phenomenal and unique workday of excellence!” “It was amazing to us at Brown Canyon Ranch to see the extraordinary number of people from your congregation across ages from adults to children who came to be of service and to give of themselves so fully.” ~ Sarah Barchas
Craig Williams, director of the Friends of the Brown Canyon Ranch, was also in attendance. “All our work, projects and restoration must be approved by the Forest Service,” he said, “and with or without their physical help, we maintain the grounds [and] trails, and with Forest Service assistance [we] help in restoration work in the ranch house and surrounding structures. Thanks for all your group’s help.”
Originally, the group was scheduled to perform work in Miller and Carr Canyons, but due to the recent rains, the forest was too wet. “I know the forest service is disappointed that we can’t help them this time with some projects that they have wanted to do, but I’m excited about developing a good relationship and partnership with the Forest Service going forward. We look forward to doing this again next year,” said Becky Evans, Sierra Vista Stake Public Affairs Director.
This day, the rain held off and many projects were accomplished, much to the gratification of the Forest Service staff. “I enjoyed the heck out of this,” said Ricky Darren, National Forest Service Ranger. “For sure we’re going to do this again next year.”
Cookies were provided by the Philadelphia Baking Company of 268 West Fry Boulevard in Sierra Vista. Owners Sam “Soup” and Jenné Campbell were happy to contribute. “It’s really not about the money,” said Sam. “As much as we take in, we try and give back to the community.” Originally from Philadelphia, the Campbells have tried “to bring the good things of Philadelphia here to Sierra Vista.”
“Mormon Helping Hands” is an annual project for which the members of the Sierra Vista Stake have come out in force to help clean up and beautify areas around the community. Past projects have included cleaning up neighborhoods off Fry Blvd, planting flowers around City Hall in Huachuca City, and cleaning up tree trimmings along Hwy 90.