EAGLE POST 9
Introduction: Cindy Ebbert is central to everything that we do at Friends of Eagles Nest Wilderness (FENW). Officially the Trails & Wilderness Manager for the Dillon Ranger District of the US Forest Service, she is also the USFS liaison with FENW. Her intimate knowledge of the Wilderness, her wise counsel on thorny governmental issues, and her irrepressible cheerfulness go much further than a mere administrative link. She really loves the wilderness, and below she tells us about the roots of her commitment.
My journey to Eagles Nest
By Cindy Ebbert
Greetings from the Forest Service! I'm delighted to have this opportunity to be a part of the FENW newsletter this month. I was asked to introduce myself and provide some background about how I came to work for the Forest Service on the Dillon Ranger District.
I grew up with my family - Mom, Dad, and two older brothers - on the Mojave Desert in Southern California. From a young age, I loved exploring the desert arroyos and visiting the nearby California Poppy Preserve every spring, when the flowers were in full bloom and blanketed the desert in an orange carpet. My father was a test pilot so we would often take in an aerial view of the desert landscape - not in an F-15, but from the seat of a Cessna airplane or engineless glider. Soaring above a landscape without the sound of an engine is an amazing experience.
The majestic Sierra Nevada mountain range was located a few hours north of home, and my family spent many weekends exploring the eastern side of the Sierra in the John Muir and Ansel Adams Wilderness Areas. My father would often pick a hike that was near a stream, or had a beautiful lake as a destination (pictures below), in order to keep my brothers and me engaged and interested in our surroundings. Well, it worked! From a young age, I was totally enthralled by the high granite peaks and beautiful alpine lakes of these mountains and looked forward to every opportunity to visit them.
I attended San Diego State University where I received a degree in Outdoor Recreation Management. After college, I worked as a wilderness instructor for Summit Adventure, a small non-profit organization based in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. I led people of all ages on backpacking trips that ranged from 5-21 days in the Ansel Adams Wilderness Area. This experience as a young adult truly solidified my love of the outdoors and wild places. It also provided me with the opportunity to learn more about congressionally-designated Wilderness Areas and the stewardship of these special places.
I made my way to Estes Park, Colorado in 1993 after being offered a position teaching environmental education at the YMCA of the Rockies. My classroom was 860 acres of forested YMCA property that was bordered on three sides by Rocky Mountain National Park. I led school groups from the Front Range on educational hikes that explored the ecology of the area with topics that included wildlife, plants, wetland habitat, geology, and forest habitat.
In 1999, I was offered a position with the Forest Service on the Dillon Ranger District as a Seasonal Wilderness Ranger. This was an amazing job! I hiked in the backcountry of the Eagles Nest and Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness Areas with job duties that included trail maintenance, campsite clean-up, and visitor education about Leave No Trace ethics. It was a physically-demanding yet rewarding job as it allowed me to explore some of the more remote and pristine drainages of the Gore Range. Because this was only a summer position, I worked at Copper Mountain Resort during the winters as a ski patroller. I worked this combination of two jobs until 2007 when I was offered the full time position of Trails & Wilderness Manager for the Dillon Ranger District, a job I currently hold. This position has allowed me to grow professionally as it has expanded my job duties beyond the management of the Wilderness Areas to include motorized recreation and the trail system on national forest lands throughout Summit County.
This summer was a success for our Wilderness Program! We hired two additional Forest Service Wilderness Rangers (Kate DeMorest and Kait Lemon) and two Student Conservation Association interns (Greg Hughes and Mary Kelley) for a total of four people committed to on-the-ground wilderness management. This might not seem like very many rangers, but it was the most seasonal wilderness staff that we've had since 2001. As a result, they were able literally to cover a lot of ground this summer, focusing on clearing trails, talking with visitors, and backpacking to remote lakes for campsite clean-up. Altogether, they hiked 250 miles, cleared 320 trees, naturalized 134 campfire rings, and talked to 1,500 visitors.
Another amazing contribution to the wilderness program this summer was the continued commitment of the FENW Volunteer Wilderness Rangers. These volunteers are truly "the friendly face of the Forest Service" as they hike the trails and talk to forest visitors - more than 11,000 in 2016. I would also like to thank the volunteer trail crews led by Bill Reed who were out this summer doing trail maintenance and campsite clean-up (more than 50 campfire rings). We truly appreciate all that FENW has done over the years as stewards of the Eagles Nest and Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness Areas....a heartfelt THANK YOU from the Dillon Ranger District staff!
Working and living in Summit County for twenty years has been a great privilege due to the outstanding natural beauty and the wonderful community of people who live here. My husband, Dave, and I love getting outside to enjoy hiking, mountain biking, skiing, and sailing. One of our traditions is a yearly backpacking trip into the Eagles Nest Wilderness to explore the off-the-beaten path areas of the pristine drainages. We are always amazed by the beauty that is so readily accessible yet affords such a deep sense of solitude not far from home.
Make a difference!
2016 Trail projects:
We spent two long weekends - one at Upper Cataract Lake, and one on Slate Creek - improving trails and campsites. We obliterated a total of 54 illegal rock-ringed campfire pits at lakes.
Day Projects Saturdays: June 4, June 18, July 9
Pack-in weekends (Fri-Sun): July 15-17 and August 12-14. Details
Interested in becoming a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger? Details
We also need volunteers
Details: contact Bill Reed (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Friends, Friends, Friends! Check out our sister 'FRIENDS'
Visit the FENW website for in-depth information at www.fenw.org/
CITY MARKET COMMUNITY REWARDS PROGRAM
Please register your City Market Value Card in 2016. This year, City Market will once again make a contribution to area non-profit organizations. The program allocates funds (rebates) to the organizations based on purchases made using the City Market Value Card. Organization members must go online at www.citymarket.com to register their Value Card, and link their card to FENW's organization name and/or registration number - 46910. Individual purchases will be counted towards FENW's rewards allocation without compromising your earned fuel points. Please note that each card holder may only sign up for one tax exempt organization. THANKS!
WE* have identified you as someone who will value our news updates. But if you do not wish to receive further emails from us, just click unsubscribe. *The FENW Board: Currie Craven (Pres), George Resseguie (Treas/Secy), Bill Reed, Bill Betz, Ken Harper, Cyndi Koop, Mike Mayrer, Frank Gutmann, Tim Drescher.