About Us

The Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness (FENW) is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation formed in 1994.
Members assist two Ranger Districts (Dillon and Holy Cross, both in the White River National Forest) maintain three Wildernesses (Eagles Nest, Ptarmigan Peak, and Holy Cross), which are located in Summit and Eagle Counties.

Rollover map to enlarge

FEWN is committed to helping the U.S Forest Service in several ways, including
Preventing environmental degradation
Protecting Wilderness characteristics
Promoting a land stewardship ethic
Maintaining trails and bridges
Mitigating noxious weeds
Helping with Wilderness education

After decades of ‘Primitive Area’ status, The Eagles Nest Wilderness was signed into law by President
Gerald Ford in 1976, after an arduous approval process (click here to see some of the originals). Located barely an hour from major metropolitan areas, Eagles Nest became increasingly popular with outdoor enthusiasts.
In 1994, after backpacking with two Wilderness Rangers in the Eagles Nest Wilderness, M. John Fayhee a Summit County journalist, wrote an editorial about the appalling lack of resources to maintain and protect this vulnerable area. After reading the article, Tom Jones, Jr., co-owner of Wilderness Sports , teamed with Fayhee and organized a public meeting, which gave birth to FENW. Currie Craven became Chairman of the Board, Ed Adams President, Fayhee Secretary, and Jones Treasurer. Frank Smith, Jr. and Wilderness Sports were instrumental in the group’s formation. Its initial attention was focused on the east (Summit County) side of the Wilderness.
Tight budget restrictions (which persist today) prevented the U.S. Forest Service from providing the level of care required for this increasingly popular Wilderness. Trail maintenance, visitor education, cleaning up unsightly hunters’ camps, and other activities all taxed USFS’s resources, and became the focus of FENW’s efforts.
In 2006, FENW expanded its mandate to include the west side of the Eagles Nest Wilderness (located in Eagle County near Vail). In addition, FENW expanded its Wilderness Volunteer Program to include Holy Cross Wilderness.
In the more-than-two-decades since its founding, FENW purchased and installed portal signs, bulletin boards, and interpretive posters on all official trails. FENW has also started a noxious weed treatment program to eradicate noxious weeds in the Eagles Nest Wilderness. All of these activities have been performed in close collaboration with the U.S. Forest Service, and with the generous ongoing support of The Summit Foundation and the Towns of Silverthorne and Frisco.

2015 newsletter here

Provided nearly seventeen thousand hours of volunteer service valued at nearly three-hundred and forty thousand dollars, through FENW’s Volunteer Ranger Program, Trail Maintenance projects, and noxious weed eradication efforts..
Raised more than $120,000 through grant applications and fundraising
Raised $25,000 from membership dues
Established a membership of 200 families, individuals, and businesses from Summit County, other parts of Colorado, and several additional states
Developed a website, www.fenw.org, with assistance from The Summit Foundation
Developed and implemented a Wilderness Volunteer Program
Started a noxious weed treatment program with the U.S. Forest Service
xpanded FENW’s successful programs to help the Holy Cross Ranger District with the west side of Eagles Nest Wilderness and with the Eagle County portion of the Holy Cross Wilderness.

We fund and install trailhead Bulletin Boards with Interpretive Posters about the area, trails, regulations, and related information
We fund and install Wilderness portal signs
We funded a Wilderness Interpretive Display at the Dillon Ranger District Office in SilverthorneWe donated funds to the U.S. Forest Service to employ a Wilderness Ranger for Wilderness hunting patrol during hunting season. The patrol also benefits the Colorado Division of Wildlife
We sponsored the Rocky Mountain Youth Corps (youth and at-risk youth) on three successful projects:
– building the Middle Willow Creek bog bridge
– replacing bridges over Slate Creek and Squaw Creek
– reconstructing the Buffalo Mountain Trail
We partnered with Summit Fat Tire Society and Volunteers for Outdoor Colorado on projects
We provided organizational assistance to the Wilderness Stewardship Network, White River Wilderness Coalition,and Friends of Dillon Ranger District
FENW has been an active participant in:
the White River National Forest Forest Plan revision process, including the Special Areas Work Group, the Travel Management work group, and the Forest Plan Revision forum in Summit County
the White River Wilderness Coalition, helping to develop input to Congress on proposed wilderness additions for the White River National Forest as envisioned in the revised Forest Plan.
Summit County Planning, including the Winter Trail Management work group, the Wildlife and Wetland Advisory Commission, and the Lower Blue Trails Technical Advisory group
FENW sponsors several trail maintenance projects each year, providing the muscle to help the U.S. Forest Service. These projects include
Gateways in June – annual trail clearing and maintenance
Trail reroutes
Bridge construction and replacement
Campsite rehabilitation
A tool cache shared with other trail groups
Abbey’s Coffee
A_Basin Employee Environmental Fund
Backcountry Brewery
Beaver Run Resort
Black Hills Parks & Forests Assoc.
Breckenridge Brewery
City Market
Colorado State Trails/GOCO
Copy Copy
Dillon Ranger District Staff
Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District Staff
Eagles Nest Property HOA
Everist Materials
Friends of the Dillon Ranger District
Friends of the Lower Blue River
Gore Range Outfitters
Harvest Catering
Infinite Scope, Inc.
Jimmy Johns
John Fielder’s Colorado
Key to the Rockies
Keystone Center
Keystone Resort
KSMT the Mountain
Krystal 93
Leki Poles
National Forest Foundation (NFF)
NFF/Ski Area Conservation Fund
Neils Lunceford
Peak Provisions
Pulling for Colorado
Rocky Mtn. Elk Foundation
Sanders True Value
Slate Creek Ranch
South Maryland Creek Ranch
Summit Daily News
Summit County Government
Summit County Weed Program
The Summit Foundation
Town of Breckenridge
Town of Frisco
Town of Silverthorne
TRAFx Research, LTD
Tuff Shed, Inc.
Wilderness Sports
and FENW Members and many individuals

The websites below are pertinent to the Mission of Friends of the Eagles Nest Wilderness, and include sites of general relevance to wilderness, and specific relevance to the Eagles Nest, Holy Cross, and Ptarmigan Peak Wildernesses, and to Summit County, Colorado.