Dec 2018: In the FENW December eNewsletter, John Fielder, Colorado’s “Photographer Laureate” describes a new and unexpected threat to the beautiful, unsullied lower Blue River Valley – an open pit mining operation at the foot of Ute Pass. Read his personal essay in the eNewsletter, and his public, urgent call to action HERE.
Mike Beach
National Recognition 2018: Mike Beach, our USFS representative from the Eagle Ranger District just won the Bob Marshall Award for Individual Champion of Wilderness Stewardship, an important nationwide honor.  Anyone who has worked with Mike and seen him cut a trail with a McLeod knows how impressive a worker he is. But this award recognizes the valuable work he does both inside the wilderness and outside with the public. We are proud to work with Mike and offer our heartiest congratulations!

SLATE LAKES trail project: 27-29 July 2018

Trail Boss Kate led a hearty crew up beautiful Slate Creek for some trail and campsite work.
The intrepid crew of eleven volunteers and two llamas obliterated more than a dozen illegal campfire rings, installed two new signs, and hauled out many pounds of trash. To read TBK’s trip report, click HERE, or
Click HERE for pictures of work projects and the beautiful Slate Lakes


Dr. Paul Sutter, Chair, Department of History, University of Colorado
2018: In the FENW August eNewsletter, Paul Sutter, author of the fascinating and authoritative history of the wilderness movement Driven Wild – The Automobile and the Making of Modern Wilderness, relates current challenges to Wilderness to battles fought nearly a century ago.

2018: In the FENW July eNewsletter, Dr. Esther Doyle writes movingly about finding your “Home of the Heart.” She describes “those places that we encounter with a shock of recognition. We know immediately that they are ours. We claim them perhaps because they first claim us.” Esther identifies three essential components to such a place: separateness, solitude, and simplicity.

From FENW's Trail Boss Kate: Hello everyone, I wanted to share a few pics of our new trail LLAMAS. Katherine, Alex, Mike and I made the trek to Dove Creek, CO (outside of Telluride), this last Thursday to bring POWELL and DOMINGUEZ to their summer quarters. The gray/black llama with the white star on his face is Powell and the extra fuzzy brown and white llama is Dominguez, or DOM for short. Dom and Powell have set up residence at the Minturn FS compound where they have a pasture to graze and a shelter to stay tucked away from cougars and bears during the night. The trails and wilderness crew and I are working on a rotating schedule to care for and exercise the llamas. If any of you are interested in meeting Powell and Dom, I encourage you to give me a shout so we can set up a walk or a visit. Just think! Dom and Powell are with us this summer to support our wilderness trail work projects THANKS TO YOU AND YOUR SUPPORT. Have a wonderful evening and stay tuned for more trail project and llama updates. Best, Kate

2018: The June FENW e-newsletter features The Mystery of Aerie Cabin, by Maria DiBiase Eisemann. The old mining cabin, located high in Eagles Nest Wilderness, was rediscovered 50 years ago, after lying unknown the previous half-century. Maria writes movingly about her research about the place, and her personal journey of discovery.

Meet the 2018 class of USFS Wilderness Ranger Interns. Rollover an image to read the profile.


2018: Read about Environment for the Americas – EFTA – in the FENW May newsletter, written by its founder and Executive Director, Dr. Susan Bonfield. EFTA is committed to protecting the migratory birds that we all love, especially by enlisting young people in the birds’ winter habitats in Mexico and Central America.

2018: The Summit County Rescue Group is at the forefront of readiness, expertise, and commitment when it comes to rescuing lost, injured, or stranded visitors to the backcountry 24/7/365. While about two-thirds of the calls they receive self-resolve, they deploy 50-90 times a year, usually in rugged terrain, often after dark, and frequently during foul weather. Read about this amazing organization in the FENW April newsletter, written by Charles Pitman.
Charles Pitman in action
2018: The FENW RETREAT was a huge success, thanks especially to Stuart Dodd
 (standing, 6th from right), Chair of IPWA (Indian Peaks Wilderness Alliance) whose skills as a facilitator kept us thinking, discussing, laughing for seven hours, even through a working dinner. The entire Board, two US Forest Service reps, and several interested volunteers kept up a steady rain of ideas. 
The walls were covered with our results - a few examples: 

2018: 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.

2018: 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.

2018: 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

2018: 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.

2018: 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 expressing your interest.

Dec 2017: 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.
2017: 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. 
2017: 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.
2017: 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.
2017: 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
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.
2017: 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.
2017: 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.
2017: 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.
2017: 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.

 2017: 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. 

 2017:  "The American Beaver: An Icon of the West" is the subject of the June Newsletter, authored by District Wildlife Manager Elissa Slezak

  2017: 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. 

2017: The new REI Dillon store grand opening was a huge success - nearly 2000 shoppers showed up, and many stopped by the FENW BOOTH. Pictures are  HERE.
2017: 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.

2017: A "Voices of the Wilderness" Prize been awarded to poet Erin Robertson, who composed A View From Ute Pass for FENW in 2016. She'll be doing poetry and peregrine falcon work at Koyukuk National Wildlife Refuge, which is 27 times larger than Eagles Nest Wilderness! Read more in Erin's newsletter.
2017: 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.
2017: 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.

2017: 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
2016: 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

2016: 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).
2016: 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.
2016: 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.

2016: 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

2016: 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. 

2016: 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 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.