To promote more patrols in the remote Wilderness Areas, PWV has established a WildXX initiative where XX is the year since the U.S. Congress passed the national Wilderness Act in 1964. This year as part of Wild52 there was a tremendous turnout for PWV backpacking and hiking patrols focused on the Rawah Wilderness (PWV patrols 4 Wilderness Areas; additionally: Cache La Poudre, Comanche Peak, and Neota).
Wild52 had 25 PWV members participating by putting in 79 patrol-days covering 13 of the 14 trails in the Rawah Wilderness during the extended week of August 12 - 21. Wild52 participation ranged from day hikes to several-day backpacking trips. Three of the longer backpacking outings are described below.
I am pleased and honored to serve as PWV chair for this coming year, knowing that the organization is in great shape from all the fantastic work of our volunteers. Looking ahead to 2016, no major changes are anticipated - we will continue with the programs already in place and look at improvements in a few areas.
Poudre Wilderness Volunteers (PWV) is a Larimer County, Colorado nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1996 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.
PWV has grown substantially and diversified since its founding and is considered to be one of the largest, most effective organizations of its kind in the nation.
Kids in Nature
Eighty-one kids enjoyed the wonders of the National Forest as they attended 9 different hikes with PWV rangers on Lower Dadd Gulch and Lady Moon/Disappointment Falls Trails during the 2016 season, along with 23 family members and agency staff and volunteers. Boys and Girls Club of Fort Collins, Cub Scout Pack 12, Generation Now and GrandFamilies Coalition participated, along with a couple hikes for PWV Families. The Kids in Nature volunteers followed the kids’ lead, going at their pace and exploring whatever interested them, often the stream, mushrooms, rocks, plants, insects, spiders and birds. In addition, each hike included a special curriculum of either aquatic macro-invertebrates, trees, or mammals in our mountains. We always teach Leave No Trace, ‘It’s All Yours’ and basic safety, as well. Most of the kids who participated had never been in the mountains before and they loved it! The kids’ unsolicited comments say it all:
In 2016 the Kids in Nature committee completed Hiking with Kids in the Roosevelt National Forest brochure. These are available at the Fort Collins USFS Visitor Center and also on the PWV website under the TRAILS tab (along with a more complete listing of the enticements of the recommended trails).
The 2016 patrolling season has been another very active year for Poudre Wilderness Volunteers, with significant accomplishments from our 337 volunteer members. PWV members performed 1,105 patrols; contacted 12,072 forest visitors on the trail; and contributed a record 27,901 total volunteer hours which translates to a value of over $650,000 for the USFS.