Who we are
History & Growth
The seeds for Rim to Rim Restoration (RRR) were planted during work at Mill Creek Canyon during the late 1990s, with Canyonlands Natural History Association (CNHA) acting as the fiscal sponsor for the Canyon Community Awareness and Restoration Partnership. After several years, that collaboration became an organization and Rim to Rim Restoration applied for 501c3 status to continue and expand those early efforts. Permanent non-profit status was issued in 2007.
In the very early days, RRR founders worked with Moab’s Teen Summer Work Program bringing local youth into the canyon to identify trees and shrubs, remove invasive olives and define active trails. Over the course of several summers in the late 1990s, native and exotic plants in the canyon were mapped, cottonwood trees were protected from beavers and over 200 Russian olives were successfully removed by kids with hand tools. In 2003, RRR began work in the lower part of the watershed responding to the need for invasive removal and native plant revegetation in more populated areas. As of 2018 native plants have successfully regenerated over 150 acres of land thick with Russian olive along the stream in Moab.
In the last 10 years we have expanded our focus from work in Mill Creek canyon to locations throughout SE and Central Utah in riparian areas and upland sites on public and private properties. Since 2007 RRR has collected vegetation response monitoring data to foster a better understanding of the impacts of our work. Our collaborative work with the SE Utah Riparian Partnership has expanded to include a focus on documenting conditions at past project sites in coordination with various state and federal land managers to help inform future projects and planning.
In 2009 the Mayberry Native Plant Propagation Center was conceived as a project of RRR. The Plant Propagation Center tests and grows regionally sourced seed, and produces plants for revegetation on public and private land in the Upper Colorado Plateau. It is working to fill a critical gap in the growing need for Colorado Plateau sourced materials for regional land management and plant reestablishment efforts.
Rim to Rim evolved from a passion for finding ways to effectively care for and improve the plant communities in the delicate high desert of the Colorado Plateau. Increasing visitor numbers have made our efforts even more relevant today than in the 1990s, and our commitment to collaboration, regeneration, and our community are stronger than ever.
Our efforts are funded through grants, donations, partnerships and collaborations.
Rim to Rim Restoration works in the Upper Colorado Plateau throughout SE and Central Utah, and in locations in Colorado. Our area of the Upper Colorado Plateau is characterized by cold winters and hot summers, with only 6 – 10” of annual precipitation. The Colorado River is a central feature, with most watersheds draining to the river through varied terrain including deep canyons, wide open valleys, mountains and plateaus. Our office is located in Moab Utah, and we manage the Mayberry Native Plant Propagation Center 15 miles upriver from town on the banks of the Colorado.
Partners and Collaborators
All of Rim to Rim’s projects are collaborative in nature – regenerating native plant communities crosses boundaries. The following entities are partners in projects coordinated by Rim to Rim, or work with Rim to Rim in various partnerships including the SE Utah Riparian Partnership (link to that part of the page)
Bureau of Land Management: Moab Field Office
RRR provides restoration planning and project management technical assistance for the local BLM field office, as well as works to find appropriate plant materials and grow them for the region
Bureau of Land Management: Colorado Plateau Native Plant Materials Program
RRR works with the CPNPP to help explore species useful in regional restoration efforts as well as to test growing seeds in a way that is viable for large scale production
National Park Service: South East Utah Group
Through a cooperative agreement, RRR provides technical assistance for restoration planning and also grows plants and seed for NPS projects.
Forestry, Fire, and State Lands: Sovereign Lands & WUI
RRR works with FFSL to meet various land management goals in riparian areas along the mainstem Colorado and side drainages like Mill Creek and Castle Creek.
The Nature Conservancy
TNC holds the conservation easement for the Mayberry Native Plant Propagation Center, and also is a partner in many collaborative efforts that RRR participates in.
US Geological Survey, SW Biological Science Center
The Mayberry Native Plant Propagation Center houses the USGS’s first large scale attempt at growing biocrust for use in restoration projects in the SW.
Utah Conservation Corps
The UCC helps RRR and other collaborator implement projects along the River, at Mayberry and in various locations
City of Moab
The City of Moab works with RRR in the riparian areas along Mill and Pack Creeks in town.
The Grand County Weed Department and RRR work together whenever possible with other partners and collaborators to address invasive species issues across property lines and administrative boundaries.
Rim to Rim is a small organization with one part time Director and one Project Manager. RRR also has an intern program, with Interns working on vegetation propagation, monitoring and maintaining restoration sites, and community outreach.
Kara Dohrenwend, Director
Kara moved to SE Utah in 1993 to serve as a caretaker at nearby Horsethief Ranch. After moving into town and working with other organizations in Moab, she started Wildland Scapes, a for profit desert and riparian restoration company and landscape contractor. Wildland Scapes has shifted focus to propagating and selling plants in the Moab area, as well as some project planning work. Around that same time, over lunch at Honest Ozzies Café, Kara and some friends were discussing ways to engage local youth and community members in land management through hands on mapping, invasive removal and planting projects in Moab’s watershed. That discussion eventually led to the creation of Rim to Rim Restoration. Over the years, Wildland Scapes has supported Rim to Rim Restoration’s work of removing invasive plants from sensitive areas and facilitate native plant regeneration.
Kara holds a B.A. from UC Berkeley in Landscape Architecture with an emphasis on urban stream restoration, and a minor in City Planning. Additionally, she holds a Utah landscape contractors license, a Utah water rights certification, and is a certified Natural Resource and Conservation Service Technical Service Provider for Conservation Action Planning for Pollinators.
Kara serves the local community in many ways that relate to the work of Rim to Rim Restoration. She is an elected member of the Grand Conservation District, appointed to the Moab Water Conservation and Drought Management Advisory Board, is a founding member of the Bee Inspired Gardens Initiative, and has facilitates the SE Utah Riparian Partnership. She previously served on the City of Moab Planning Commission and on the Youth Garden Project board, and continues to stay active in local planning efforts.
Kara is passionate about finding ways to regenerate native plant communities in challenging settings found in the Upper Colorado Plateau through collaborations and partnerships with other organizations and efforts.
Ray Williams, Mayberry Property Manager
Ray Williams has lived in Moab off and on since 1976 when he spent the summers working for his Uncle Mitch at Tag-A-Long Tours. He moved here permanently in 1986 and recently restored his great grandfathers home on 100 N as his residence. He is the propagation center manager at Mayberry and the general repair man, logistics coordinator and all round troubleshooter. His time in Moab has also included driving for Sysco, working as the frozen food manager at Moonflower, and a season with Western Rivers. He can often be found at Mayberry enjoying the time away from people, and figuring out how to meet our most recent challenge.
Matt McEtrrick, Project Coordinator/Ecologist
Matt has worked for many federal agencies and non-profits, building trails and teaching trail building skills, conducting ecological monitoring, treating non-native plants, planning restoration projects, revegetating degraded sites and working with at-risk youth in the outdoors. He has also guided hundreds of outdoor trips ranging from multi-day southwestern river trips, to survial skills classes, to multiweek mountaineering expeditions on some of the highest peaks in North America.[
From its inception until now, Rim to Rim has intentionally operated with a small focused group of board members building the organizational foundation. With established groundwork, organizational success, and looking to the future, we are currently looking to expand our Board of Directors. If you are interested in serving in this capacity, please contact us.
Rusty Wheaton, Chair
Ginny Carlson, Vice Chair