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.
One highlight of 2016 was the ongoing efforts of the PWV Trail Maintenance team, where a primary goal is to clear trails of the many trees that regularly come down. Some of these trees are quite large and completely block trail access, or create dangerous situations where forest visitors try to navigate over or around downed trees. In 2016 we removed 1,180 downed trees and over 2,500 trees in the past 2 years - just imagine the condition of our trails without PWV constantly working to remove downed trees! I would like to thank the hearty members who carried axes and saws (including 2-person cross-cut saws) on numerous tree-clearing patrols, including multi-day backpack trips to more remote trails.
Another highlight is the continuing work to re-open the trails that were significantly damaged in the floods of 2013. The North Fork trail re-opened in 2016 to foot traffic with limited availability for stock users. More work remains, including a large bridge that needs to be completed, before North Fork will fully re-open in 2017. The Lion Gulch trail has also been closed since the 2013 floods but work has been underway to get this trail re-opened sometime in 2017. Young Gulch trail, which was especially devastated in the floods, will be completely re-routed with an opening date likely in 2018. Many thanks go out to members of PWV and the general public who helped with the heavy lifting required for this trail work.
Our Kids-In-Nature program continued to get kids out onto their national forest land for fun and educational hikes. Working with 4 different youth agencies in Fort Collins, PWV conducted 9 of Kids-In-Nature hikes with a total of 81 kids. This is a gratifying and worthwhile program, and my thanks go out to all the agencies and PWV members who made this happen.
For recruiting in 2016 we focused on an increased public awareness of PWV through local newspapers, radio and events. This effort was rewarded with a very strong recruiting class, adding 66 new patrolling members and 6 new non-patrolling members. The PWV effort in recruiting and training our new members is a monumental task, both for our returning members (who perform all the recruiting, training and behind the scenes efforts) and our new members (who get the fire-hose treatment of new information). Continuing to bring in new members is fundamental to PWV's ongoing success and I am so pleased to see such a great recruiting class in 2016.
On the financial side, PWV continues to receive the funds necessary for our programs. PWV is an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff, but we do need the funds necessary for equipment, training, technology and many other areas that keep PWV operational. Our Fund Development team has done a great job in 2016, receiving multiple grants and continuing to identify new funding sources.
I have very much enjoyed my year as PWV Chair and this largely comes from the fact that we have so many great, dedicated members who keep the organization running smoothly. Margaret Shaklee is the new Board Chair and I am confident that she and the rest of the Board will continue to move PWV forward this coming year. I hope to see you at PWV events and out on the trails.
Alan Meyer, PWV Most Recent Past Chair