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
What makes Wilderness special? Read the 1964 Wilderness Act (it's not very long and we've highlighted important parts) and you will understand
ENW SNOW DEPTH - Rollover to enlarge
NOTE: Monthly meetings are now the SECOND Thursday of the month!
FENW CALENDAR edit calendar (fenwevents w**t*ne**)[
Senator Kerry Donovan writes about her famous grandfather, Bill Mounsey, in the March FENW Newsletter - and there's no mistaking the resemblance! Read how Bill fought CDOT over the I-70 route, the US Forest Service over the size of Eagles Nest, and especially the Denver Water Board over water rights. Kerry writes also about his outsized life, and the deep influence that he had on her personal life.
FENW had an informal party at Ollie's Pub in Frisco.
Trail Projects leader Kate Demorest proposed, planned, and hosted the event.
Several dozen board members and friends attended. More pictures HERE.
100,000 acres for WE THE PEOPLE in Summit and Eagle Counties: In our February Newsletter, Vail environmental activist and founder of the famous Women's Empowerment Workshop Susie Kincade describes the wonderful bill before Congress that will create new recreation areas, new Wildernesses, new game management areas, and the nation's first National Historic Landscape at the famous Camp Hale. The amazing thing is that all of this will be accomplished without limiting any activity currently permitted, but will just guarantee opportunities for outdoor recreation for generations, right in our neck of the woods. Click for MAP
TV PREMIER: The Walker family rebuilt their famous cabin on Bighorn Creek last summer, using traditional tools. A team of photographers monitored progress, and their splendid production was shown on the DIY channel on January 16. More here.
Meet Tim Drescher, FENW's new President, in the January 2018 Newsletter. Tim writes about his love of wilderness, and the photo journal that he keeps documenting the many backcountry trips that he takes with his wife Kelly and dog Max. We are entering a new era at FENW, and Tim will convene a comprehensive planning workshop, combining plans for a celebration of our first 25 years (in 2019) with a roadmap for the future. He urges wilderness lovers like you to get involved - just email us at email@example.com expressing your interest.
FENW has received its biggest donation EVER! Breckenridge residents Susy and Bill Gillilan have donated two-thousand dollars to FENW. They are true friends of the environment - and Wilderness in particular - Bill is a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger with FENW.
The Gillilans, residents of Breckenridge, have made an extraordinarily generous donation to FENW.
Bill & Susy could not have made their gift at a better time. FENW, led by new President Tim Drescher, faces growing challenges, including overuse by our loving public, underfunding to the USFS, and increasing pressures on public land protections.
Read more about Bill's illustrious career HERE.
THE SUMMIT FOUNDATION granted an award of nine-thousand dollars to FENW to help the USFS clear trails of deadfalls in 2018. The devastation wrought by the mountain pine beetle is entering a new phase. Those trees killed nearly a decade ago are beginning to fall, blocking trails. FENW will use the funds to hire Rocky Mountain Youth Corps crews to help the USFS and us clear trails in Wilderness.
FENW HAS A NEW PRESIDENT: TIM DRESCHER was elected to be Currie Craven's successor at the November 30 meeting. Other officers are: Currie Craven, Past-President; Bill Betz, President-Elect, Ken Harper, Treasurer; Dan Siebert, Secretary. More about Tim on the FENW facebook page.
The Search for Powder: The co-founder and CEO of the most accurate snow forecasting service in the country - OpenSnow - JOEL GRATZ, divulges secrets of the trade in the FENW December newsletter.
The Cabin on Bighorn Creek, built in the late 19th century, has been in the Walker family ever since. This past summer they, along with friends and passersby, restored the cabin, using original tools and techniques. Read their story in the FENW November newsletter. Pictures: Top: early July 2017. Bottom: late August 2017
Rename the Gore Range? That's exactly what Karn Stiegelmeier and the Summit County Commissioners are proposing. Read the FENW October Newsletter.
Who was Gore? What did he do? When was the range named for him? Read HERE about the issues, and the new proposal to honor the original inhabitants - the Ute Indians, who were known as the People of the Shining Mountains. Read comments by others, and send us yours (your email address will not be published). The Resolution to RENAME THE GORE RANGE was introduced on Indigenous Peoples Day (October 9) at the Frisco Community Center - pictures HERE.
What’s in a National Monument? History. Nature. Science. Solitude. Wildlife. Recreation. Controversy. Julie Mach, Conservation Director for the Colorado Mountain Club, offers an expert analysis of the battle over our National Monuments in the FENW September Newsletter.
Cal Tech Jet Propulsion Lab, NCAR (Boulder's National Center for Atmospheric Research), NEON (Nat'l Ecological Observational Network), Pebble Creek (Gore Range homesite) - just some of the workplaces of Dr. David Schimel, world authority on CLIMATE CHANGE, who writes about "Global Warming in the Gore Range" in the FENW August Newsletter.
In our July Newsletter Josh Kuhn of Conservation Colorado explains in simple terms the Continental Divide Wilderness & Recreation Act, which would protect nearly 60,000 acres of land in Summit and Eagle counties. While the bill was crafted with broad bipartisan enthusiasm, there is still a lot to be done, as Josh explains, particularly in gaining support from local businesses.
The NATIONAL WILDERNESS STEWARDSHIP ALLIANCE announced that FENW is one of 23 recipients of National Forest System Trail Stewardship Grants, selected from 90 applications. Our portion of the $230,000 distributed will be used for work this September at Missouri Lakes in Holy Cross Wilderness, especially for a recreation site monitoring program. Fifteen volunteers have signed on so far.
JUNE 17: FENW's first 2017 trail project - Lily Pad Lake and Meadow Creek trails. Teams from the west side and east side of the range converged to deal with extensive blowdown in the five-year-wake of the beetle epidemic. More pictures HERE.
June third was Volunteer Wilderness Ranger training day at the Minturn USFS station. Taught by Mike Mayrer's experienced team, the new rangers are ready to hit the trail. They'll meet, teach, and assist visitors to Eagles Nest, Holy Cross and Ptarmigan Wilderness Areas. Last summer, FENW VWRs met more than 12,000 hikers, horseback riders, and backpackers.
"The American Beaver: An Icon of the West" is the subject of the June Newsletter, authored by District Wildlife Manager Elissa Slezak
FENW celebrated Colorado Public Lands Day in Edwards on May 20. Tim Drescher (left) staffs our booth. Dean of Colorado photography John Fielder (right) gave a stirring presentation.
USFS Wilderness Manager MIKE BEACH is profiled in the May newsletter. Mike is in charge of the west side of Eagles Nest (the east side is covered by Cindy Ebbert), as well as Holy Cross and Flat Tops Wilderness Areas. He writes about his childhood and journey from engineering to outdoor recreation management, and subsequent work with the Forest Service, leading to his position today as Wilderness Trails Manager.
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 enlargeThe 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.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
"BIRDS OF 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 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.
BIKES IN EAGLES NEST WILDERNESS? The FENW MAY NEWSLETTER features an essay by TIM DRESCHER about the growing cry to allow mountain bikes in Wilderness Areas.ROLLOVER -> REPLIES FROM READERSFEEDBACK FROM READERS: As one of the founders of the International Mountain Bicycling Asso (IMBA) and as a board member for 12 years I believe bicycles should not be allowed in wilderness. In my experience Mountain bicycling does alter the desired serenity obtained in the wilderness. National, State and Municipal Parks have lots of other lands which can be used for mountain bicycling. I believe you should concentrate your considerable passion for our sport to open up these other areas to mountain bicycling. Leave the wilderness as wilderness. Carl Birkrlbach
I am writing in support of FENW's position to continue to ban bikes in wilderness areas. Thank you for taking a stand on this important issue. I am a former volunteer wilderness ranger w/ FENW-now living in Southern Calif. My 40+ years experience hiking backpacking climbing mountain biking skiing in the Sierras and Rockies makes me think that the balance we currently have between wilderness areas as we currently define them and non-wilderness is a good mix. Especially in Summit Co which has many miles of bike accessible trails just across I-70 from no bike wilderness areas. The basic principles creating the wilderness act still exist. We need a place unmarked by man-made (other than trails) things. Let's leave it like it is. Tom Fry
Terrific job on the newsletter. I liked how you paraphrased what I wrote you ~ FENW's position on bikes in the Wilderness. Kudos. Frank Gutmann
What a great site! Congratulations on a job well done. John T. P.S. No to bikes!
NO bikes in the Wilderness! Too many people in these already. Bikes destroy trails. Jennifer Collins
I totally agree with FENW---no bikes in the wilderness---please Shirley Beaty
FENW, NO, NO, NO!!! to Mountain Bikes in the Wilderness. Keep them in the state forest or designated trails in State Parks but don’t ruin the Wilderness. Guy LaBoa
Leave them out. Adam Poe
I really don't think so. Bikes come on you so quickly that I personally get startled every time. I also have a little 6 pound dog that I walk on an extended leash in the woods so he can feel like he's free. When bikes come by I am always shouting please watch out for my dog, as they never see and several times have almost run him over. I am in the woods for peace and harmony, not to be startled by a biker. Thanks, Deborah Casaletta
I like your position supporting no bikes in Wilderness, but endorsing special provisions for keeping important mtn bike trails and allowing bikes, but excluding motorized travel. I hike and mtn bike and would prefer to allow non-motorized bikes in Wilderness, but there is too much prejudice against bikes, so your position is most practical. Thanks -----------Bill Adamson
just a quick note to express my appreciation for the FENW e-newsletter, "Eagle Post" you are putting together. The last one, featuring the issue of mountain bikes in the wilderness, was particularly informative with links to related information and a concise summary of where this topic is now. Education of the public, in this case all those who benefit from our wilderness areas, whether spiritually, financially, physically, etc., can go a long way towards protecting our wilderness areas for the present and future. FENW Eagle Posts are hopefully reaching those who can(or should) benefit from this information. As the trail project season gets underway, an Eagle Post illustrating what it takes to maintain our existing trails into the wilderness - allowing the pubic to enjoy these areas, - would be great. I have found most people have no idea who maintains these trails and the effort (volunteers and FS) involved. And trail construction and maintenance is one of the main reasons I am NOT in favor of bikes in the wilderness. I have had some experience in building and maintaining trails used by mountain bikers - a HUGE amount of work requiring MANY people!! Keep up the great work for FENW!! Suzanne Reed
HELP PROTECT PUBLIC LANDS After the Malheur Occupation FENW President Currie Craven wondered if the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge could happen here. In this thoughtful and passionate essay - our first Newsletter - he presents FENW's stance on the issue of Public Land ownership.