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? Click here
We help the US Forest Service look after three Wilderness Areas. Rollover to enlarge.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED! TRAIL HEAD HOSTS: East Vail Trailheads: The Town of Vail and US Forest Service are again looking for volunteers to help administer surveys at the four trailheads in East Vail in September. These surveys will support a planning effort aimed at better understanding visitor use on these busy trails with goals of alleviating some of the issues the trails face. NEW DATES & TIMES: WEEKENDS OF 9/20-22 and 9/27-29 at Bighorn, Gore, and Pitkin trailheads - noon - 4pm time slots. Volunteers will hand out and collect surveys and answer any questions that arise. We would give you all of the training you need. This survey is very important to the planning process and will help us with determining next steps. Please contact Mike Beach or Amanda Zinn to sign up! Also, it's a lot of fun!
10 September: Our co-founder, CURRIE CRAVEN, was profiled in an article in the SUMMIT DAILY. Then, on 14 September, Currie was presented with the first annusal Currie Crave Award for wilderness Stewardship by FENW/EWSA Chair Bill Betz (left), a stained glass panorama of Ealges Nest wilderness viewed from Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness, brilliantly fashioned by local artist Gail Shears (right).
September 1: In the September eNewsletter JENNIFER HOPKINS describes the work of the BLUE RIVER WATERSHED GROUP (BRWG). Since their founding in 2004, they have completed a number of educational, planning and river restoration projects. Currently, they are working on restoring Gold Medal fishing status to a portion of the river (that coveted status was lost in 2016).
August 18: WilderFest – our Annual Meeting on a perfect summer day at the beautiful Frisco Historic Park. USFS Dillon District Ranger BILL JACKSON (left) celebrated our 25 years of partnering to protect Wilderness. Others (below) described plans for our new name (EAGLE SUMMIT WILDERNESS ALLIANCE – ESWA), announced the winner of our photo contest (see next post below), held a lively silent auction, unveiled the first Currie Craven Award for Wilderness Stewardship (left, displayed by MARYANN GAUG and artist GAIL SHEARS), and generally enjoyed seeing friends. Click HERE for more photos (facebook).
MARIA LEECH won first place in our 2019 PHOTO CONTEST. Maria will receive a canvas-mounted copy of her photo. The photo was taken from the summit of Buffalo Mountain looking north towards Red Mountain Pass. Maria was an intern wilderness ranger with the Dillion Ranger District last summer and participated in numerous multi-day trips where she and her crew cleared dead trees from trails, mitigated illegal campfire rings, and educated visitors. Congratulations, Maria, from everyone at FENW/ESWA. The photo is our number one display on this website.
1 August - The August FENW eNewsletter is all about the famous 1935 Colorado Mountain Club expedition into the heart of the Gore Range. Written by Stan Moore, whose father Charlie led two dozen women and men on a two week explosion of peak bagging - including some first ascents, the newsletter features a wonderful gallery of historic photos.
6 July - Read about the WEED MITIGATION work of JIM ALEXANDER on the front page of this week's SUMMIT DAILY. Jim is carrying on the long tradition established by JOHN TAYLOR. Sign up for Jim's crew to map weed infestation sites (which will be treated by trained crews that are funded by a $16,000 grant obtained by Jim and awarded to FENW). Read more about Jim's work in a recent FENW eNewsletter. ALSO - join Jim and John this Saturday at the SALT LICK trail for a weed pull sponsored by the SIERRA CLUB.
1 July 2019: In the July FENW eNewsletter, MIKE BROWNING talks about his 1990 ascent of Mt. Everest, and how vastly different it was than the recent crowds. Mike and his small team pretty much had the mountain all to themselves. Mike reflects on how his experience on Everest impacts his appreciation of our Colorado Wilderness areas, and offers concrete advice for us as we think globally and act locally.
1 June 2019: In the June FENW eNewsletter, PAIGE SINGER extends her description of wildlife crossing structures. A proven success on State Highway 9 in the Blue River Valley with the construction of multiple wildlife over- and under-passes (as Paige described last month), the project will be extended to Vail Pass in the new plan, called Summit County Safe Passages Connectivity Plan for Wildlife.
18 May 2019: The USFS Rocky Mountain Regional Forester announced plans to allow temporary use of chain saws in Wilderness to clear trees across trails. FENW Board member Dr. Frank Gutmann responded on behalf of FENW, urging use of traditional tools. His letter was published in both the Summit Daily and the Vail Daily.ROLLOVER to view Frank's letter.23 May UPDATE: Three conservation groups sue the Forest Service to block chain saw use in Wilderness - Durango HeraldSummit Daily - 18 May 2019 ADVOCATING FOR WILDERNESS: PLEASE NO CHAIN SAWS The U.S. Forest Service’s Rocky Mountain Regional forester, Brian Ferebee, recently approved the use of chain saws between June 1 and Aug. 17, 2019, to clear beetle-killed trees obstructing access to the Weminuche and South San Juan wilderness areas. This requires invoking an exception to the use of mechanized devices in the wilderness. Clearly intended to bridge the ongoing tension between preserving the sanctity of wilderness and promoting responsible recreational use of wilderness, this decision affects not only the Weminuche and South San Juan Wilderness areas, but all wilderness areas throughout the country. As a Friends of Eagles Nest Wilderness board member, I am greatly concerned about this decision. I think this decision is a wake-up call for the USFS and an opportunity for wilderness volunteers and donors to step forward to help. Rather than invoking an exception to the wilderness regulations, which may save a few person work-hours, alternatively, USFS crosscut-saw specialists and trained volunteers could band together in the foregoing wilderness and solve the problem without infringing on regulations to preserve wilderness. In 2009, following a huge blowdown in Eagles Nest Wilderness on over 700 acres involving the Gore Range and parts of the Salmon Lake trails, a small team of volunteers stepped forward with crosscut and smaller hand saws to remove several thousand trees that had obstructed hiking trails. It can be done. Let’s preserve the solitude and sanctity of our wilderness by having professional and amateur wilderness stewards take mutual responsibility to mitigate and remedy the problem of trees obstructing hiking trails. We can do this with hand saws without invoking an exception to regulations regarding use of mechanized devices in wilderness. And let’s reserve such exceptions for real emergencies, such as disastrous wildfire mitigation or life-threatening situations. Frank D. Gutmann FENW Board member and USFS certified crosscut sawyer
May 2019: The May eNewsletter features an article by Paige Singer about the spectacularly successful State Highway 9 Project. It's seven wildlife crossings (both overpasses and underpasses) in an eleven mile stretch along the lower Blue River have reduced wildlife-vehicle collisions by more than 90%. The cameras have documented all kinds of wildlife - check out the photo gallery (link in eNewsletter). Here are some mule deer coming down an overpass.
April 2019: TRAIL PROJECTS have been announced for this summer. • National Trails Day with FDRD (Salt Lick Trail): June 8 • Eagles Nest Wilderness Overnight with llamas (Slate Lakes, Summit County): July 12 - 14 • Weed Pull with the Sierra Club on July 13th at 9:30 at Acorn Creek. Expect to hike about a mile, work gloves will be provided. Contact Jim at firstname.lastname@example.org • Eagles Nest Wilderness Overnight with llamas (Gore Creek, Eagle County): August 9 - 11 • Lily Pad Lake Trail Bridge Construction: August 24 • Adopt-A-Trail Deluge Lake Trail work – Dates TBD more info HERE
April 2019: In the April NEWSLETTER Wilderness Workshop Attorney Peter Hart describes the proposed Berlaimont development, and the serious and urgent threats it poses for wildlife.
March 2019: We are considering changing our name! Read the March eNewsletter to learn why. We get confused with other "Friends of..." non-profits (left), and we help look after more than just Eagles Nest (right). We received many comments - read them HERE
February 14: The National Forest Foundation has awarded a grant to FENW for $16,000 to combat invasive weeds in the wilderness. Thanks to JIM ALEXANDER for leading this project, which portends a rebirth of John Taylor’s longtime leadership. Happy Valentine’s Day, indeed! Read about Jim’s plans in the post below…
February 2019: FOREST HEALTH – combating invasive plants – is the subject of FENW’s eNewsletter for February 2018. “The Good, The Bad, and The Pretty Ugly” by Jim Alexander describes FENW’s renaissance (led by Jim) in the never-ending Weed War. Jim is especially interested in building a small crew of hikers who will report (via GPS) the locations of weed infestations, which the Forest Service personnel will then treat. Contact Jim if you can help.
January 2019: Lower Blue Residents UnitedJohn Fielder, Dean of Colorado photographers and champion of Wilderness, and Harris Sherman, former head of the Colorado Division of Natural Resources, have teamed up to fight OPEN PIT MINING in the beautiful, unspoiled Lower Blue River. Read the background and details HERE. John and Harris are assembling a crew of experts on WILDLIFE, WATER, PROPERTY VALUES, TRANSPORTATION, OPEN SPACE, and more. Colorado Open Lands, our state's largest land trust, has agreed to help. They are only $10,000 short of our goal to raise the funds necessary to present their case to the Lower Blue Planning Commission. Send your check to: Lower Blue Residents United, c/o John Fielder, POB 26890, Silverthorne CO 80497
January 2019: Thoughts from FENW’s New President Bill Betz Read his comments in the January 2019 eNewsletter. He ends with this: “Our work has never been more important. The Forest Service, that wonderful agency with an awesomely broad charge, a ginormous amount of acreage to look after, and a pitifully scanty federal budget (and none as I write: our FS advisors Cindy Ebbert (Dillon RD) and Mike Beach (Eagle/Holy Cross RD) are furloughed, due to the government shutdown) needs us more than ever.”