Poudre Wilderness Volunteers

A nonprofit organization


"The mission of Poudre Wilderness Volunteers resonates deeply with me. Providing permanent support to assure this great organization's continued existence to protect our natural areas for future generations is a worthy endeavor."

"The mantra of every Poudre Wilderness Volunteer! Safety is of utmost importance-no matter what role you are in while volunteering. This tremendous group of outdoor enthusiasts love what we do. And because we love what we do, we continue to nourish our souls and trails by our actions and thoughts with PWV. It has gotten me in touch (literally!) with our great big back yard of trails, along with the opportunity to work with a truly wonderful group of volunteers."

"We give to the Endowment Fund to honor the vision of our founders, who created an enduring organization with a lasting vision. Their effort deserves a source of funding that will honor them and encourage others over the years ahead."


Poudre Wilderness Volunteers is a 501(c)(3) Colorado nonprofit organization created to assist the Canyon Lakes Ranger District of the United States Forest Service in managing and protecting the wilderness and backcountry areas within its jurisdiction. To achieve this mission, PWV recruits, trains, equips, and fields citizen volunteers to serve as wilderness rangers and hosts for the purpose of educating the public, and provides other appropriate support to these wild areas. In recent years, the Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests were visited by 6+ million people, the second highest number of visits to a National Forest in the nation.

Background Statement

Federal appropriations for the U.S. Forest Service are no longer sufficient to cover the costs of forest management. The Forest Service no longer has enough staff to adequately patrol and monitor the Wilderness and backcountry trails in our area.

•Backcountry use is increasing--reflecting population growth and demographic change along the Front Range and elsewhere in the nation. A recent National Survey on Recreation and the Environment reported that backpacking had grown in popularity by 73%, hiking by 93% and bird watching by 155%. The Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forest and the Pawnee National Grassland are visited by more than 6 million people annually, the second highest number of visits to a National Forest in the nation.

•Many Wilderness users have no idea what a Wilderness is or how it must be left "untrammeled". A majority of them know very little about low-impact camping. If there is no one to guide visitors in Wilderness use, some of our Wilderness areas could become so heavily impacted that additional restrictions on public use may have to be imposed.

•With no paid staff, PWV patrols 250 miles along 58 system trails in 808,000 acres of Wilderness and general National Forest and National Grassland lands.

•Poudre Wilderness Volunteers has grown from 105 founding members in 1996 to 308 current volunteers. PWV volunteers conduct about 1,100 trail patrols annually, and have meaningful contacts with about 12,000 of nearly 17,2000 Wilderness and backcountry users seen. Using "Leave No Trace" principles as our guidelines rather than rules and regulations imposed by an agency, PWV volunteers help reduce violations by asking users to consider the needs of nature and become stewards of wild areas. PWV annually contributes almost 28,000 volunteer hours. The 2016 value estimated by the USFS for this volunteer time is approximately $658,000.

Organization Data


Organization name

Poudre Wilderness Volunteers

other names


Year Established


Tax id (EIN)




Organization Size

Small Organization


2519 South Shelds St. Suite 1K #202
Ft Collins, CO 80526

Service areas

Larimer County, CO, US