FENW's mission is to support the US Forest Service to preserve the integrity of the Summit and Eagle county wilderness resource for its own sake and to sustain the character of the wilderness experience for its visitors.
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.
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.
Testimonials are welcome from everyone. Two key testimonials are below:
From the Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District
"FENW has worked with the District for over a decade supporting the stewardship of the Eagles Nest and Holy Cross Wilderness areas.
FENW has successfully implemented a volunteer wilderness ranger patrol program in which volunteer rangers hike trails within our wilderness areas and educate users about wilderness ethics and how they can help sustain these special places. This program has been very popular and has greatly increased ranger presence on the ground. Additionally, FENW has assisted with public education programs and trail work projects. This summer, FENW partnered with Colorado Outward Bound School and our Forest Service trail crew to improve drainage, slash in social trails, and build rock retaining walls on the Upper Piney Trail. In September, FENW will join our wilderness rangers in the popular Missouri Lakes drainage to assess camping impacts, clean up trash, and restore heavily impacted areas to a more natural state.
The Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District has enjoyed working with FENW and looks forward to continuing with them in the coming years. They are a hard-working, dedicated group with a defined mission and important objectives. Their work will continue to sustain the quality of the wilderness areas on our Ranger district.
If you have any questions about the District's relationship with FENW, please contact Michael Beach at 720-827-5162.
/s/ Aaron W. Mayville, District Ranger."
From the Dillon Ranger District:
"The White River National Forest, Dillon Ranger District support the efforts of FENW to obtain an account with Colorado Gives Day. The Dillon Ranger District has worked closely with this organization since 1994 on a variety of projects that benefit our local wilderness areas. FENW annually contributes numerous volunteer hours for trail maintenance projects in order to improve the condition of wilderness trails. In addition, they have a very successful Volunteer Ranger Program that has grown to 50 volunteers who hike the trails and educate visitors about Leave No Trace ethics and wilderness regulations. In the summer of 2016 these volunteers contacted 11,432 trail users, contributed 1,700 volunteer hours, and 250 patrol days.
In previous years FENW has received grants to hire a contractor for noxious weed spraying, purchased tools for a volunteer cache, and has funded Wilderness Rangers to work during fall hunting season. They are a very important partner in the management of both the Eagles Nest and Ptarmigan Peak Wilderness areas in Summit County.
/s/ William Jackson, District Ranger"