We are an all-volunteer organization committed to the health and preservation of three Wilderness Areas, and to spreading wilderness ethics to all who visit. Won’t you join us?

Get ready for a great summer in the Wilderness.
1. Meet, greet and educate hikers – become a Volunteer Wilderness RangerDetails here.
2. Get down and dirty with our trail/campsite teamDetails here


Tens of thousands of annual visitors are placing Eagles Nest Wilderness (ENW) at increasing risk of being “loved to death.” Today the US Forest Service rates less than half of ENW as pristine – the purest, most natural state. Map & definitions HERE (pdf)).
While our fiscal condition is sound, we need more volunteers, both in the field but especially to help with administration. Yes, we do need more “boots on the ground” volunteers …
…but we also need to do more back office work in order to help increase our volunteer recruiting and promote the FENW mission.
You can help by working with the FENW Board on any of several new initiatives to expand our ability to preserve our wilderness resources:


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(fenwevents w**t*ne**)

RECORD SNOW! followed by EPIC MELTOFF! After January blast (most snow in 11 day period in 36 years of records), warm weather took us from 3rd to 18th place in 11 days in March, and 32nd place in April. Records from the Snotel station on Rock creek. Snow is weighed on a ‘snow pillow’ and reported as equivalent inches of water (SWE=Snow Water Equivalent).


Kay Hopkins, USFS Outdoor Recreation Planner, co-authored the just-released draft management plan for Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness. In our March Newsletter, Kay explains how, after exhausting available tools, still the campsite trammeling continues, leading them to propose mandatory permits. It’s an issue coming soon to a Wilderness near you, as we’ll explain next month…
Check out the map below.

Wilderness recovery – Our neighbor, Maroon Bells/Snowmass WILDERNESS (MBSW) is getting hammered from overuse and misuse, and the Forest Service is proposing a PLAN to limit the damage. The main feature is REQUIRED PERMITS FOR OVERNIGHT VISITORS.

Rollover to enlarge

The appalling cancer of spreading campsites – about half of them illegal – can be seen on the map – rollover to enlarge.

Years in the making, the USFS plan carefully and comprehensively documents the damage. It is evident to all who backpack there – limited parking, illegal and crowded campsites, illegal campfire rings, trash of all types, unburied piles of human waste and toilet paper, braided social trails… not the stuff of the 1964 Wilderness Act.

Download the PLAN (6.5 MB).
Detailed MAPS are HERE (6.5 MB).

Naturally, we wonder about EAGLES NEST WILDERNESS, which is being subjected to all of the abuses of MB/S Wilderness…. Please stay tuned, and let us know how you feel about it – Click HERE.

BILL REED’s “Cry From The Wilderness” kicks off a trilogy of monthly essays about overuse in the wilds, and what the Forest Service should, can, will do about it. Bill has spent countless hours maintaining trails and campsites in Eagles Nest Wilderness, and he is not sanguine about the future, unless changes are made. See the February Newsletter for Bill’s essay.

DAVID LIEN provides a crisp update of the unsettled and unsettling political landscape surrounding the efforts to sell our Public Lands to individual states, a short hop on the way to private ownership.
See the January Newsletter

CINDY EBBERT knows Eagles Nest Wilderness like no one else. As a former Wilderness Ranger, now Wilderness Manager, she directs her team of Rangers and Interns and provides invaluable guidance to FENW. Read about her personal journey in the December Newsletter

SAVING CUTTHROAT TROUT: In the November 2016 FENW Newsletter Matt Grove describes his work to inventory native cutthroat trout in every stream and lake in Eagles Nest Wilderness, using the power of molecular biology to identify environmental DNA (eDNA).

LOVED TO DEATH: In the October 2016 FENW Newsletter, KUNC reporter Jackie Fortier (right) writes about the impact that more than 130,000 visitors are having on Hanging Lake, with scary implications for Eagles Nest Wilderness.

FENW ADOPTS A TRAIL. This is Deluge Lake Trail, outside of Vail. FENW volunteers have worked all summer to keep the trail free of erosion, fallen trees. and other hazards. We are part of a larger effort to take the maintenance of all the Adopt A Trail miles off the Forest Service list and onto the volunteer organizations, like us. Next year, we hope to also adopt Pitkin or Bighorn Creek, so please CLICK HERE to let us know that you would like to help.

Read how Jim Furnish helped reshape the U.S. Forest Service with the help of a bird and a fish – from an agency focused almost entirely on “getting out the cut” to one that seeks a balance with the environment. It’s a lesson in conflict resolution we could use more of this political season… Click HERE

We obliterated a total of 52 illegal campfire rings on two weekend trail & campsite projects, one to Upper Cataract Lake 15-17 July, and one to Slate Lakes August 12-14.

Warren/Oster Memorial Kiosk dedication: The Kiosk is named in memory of two lovers of Wilderness – Jacob Oster and Rick Warren. The front of the kiosk contains US Forest Service maps and information. Around behind is a tranquil picnic area, with table and plaques commemorating the lives of Rick and Jacob. More pictures HERE


Click image to enlarge
This event was postponed due to inclement weather, but an alternative version rose like a phoenix when attendees retreated to a cabin on Pebble Creek. The Ute Pass version may be rescheduled. Please stay tuned.
PICTURES from the event are HERE

Erin Robertson’s poem, “A View From Ute Pass,” is HERE


The FENW JUNE NEWSLETTER features an essay by Dr. SUSAN BONFIELD about the fascinating lives of migratory birds, the threats they face on their journeys, the history of the Alfred M. Bailey Bird Nesting Area on Rock Creek, and some of the birdiest reasons to love the Eagles Nest Wilderness.

Sue also generously led a bird hike to the Afred M. Bailey Bird Nesting Area on North Rock Creek. It was a spectacular Colorado day. Below is a 17 second video of Sue identifying some bird songs…


The FENW MAY NEWSLETTER features an essay by TIM DRESCHER about the growing cry to allow mountain bikes in Wilderness Areas.


After the Malheur OccupationFENW President Currie Craven wondered if the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge could happen here. In this thoughtful and passionate essay (rollover below), he presents FENW’s stance on the issue of Public Land ownership. A pdf version is HERE