Ratliff RandyI am honored to serve as the new Chair for 2018 and I am looking forward to continuing the momentum and evolution of Poudre Wilderness Volunteers in the coming year. I have been a member of Poudre Wilderness Volunteers (PWV) since 2014. I joined initially as a member of the Stock Patrol as I recognized the opportunity to “ride with a purpose” consistent with PWV’s mission to assist the United States Forest Service “in managing and protecting the wilderness and backcountry areas.” In addition to patrolling on horseback, I have enjoyed the wilderness on hiking and backpacking patrols. I have served as a mentor to new members, participated in Spring Training as a role player and have been active on the Board of Directors.

Among the many things about PWV that have impressed me over the years is the diversity and quality of the members who volunteer their time to protect and even improve the areas in PWV’s jurisdiction. In addition to the numerous patrols that our members conduct, many serve on one or more of PWV’s numerous committees that provide outstanding service in a variety of areas including Adopt-A -Highway, Member Training, Fund Development, Kids in Nature, Member Recognition, Spring Training, Surveys and Evaluations, Trail Crew, Weed Crew and Web Team to name just a few. Without these and many other activities performed by these gifted and generous committee members, PWV would not be able to achieve at such a high level given that we have no paid staff. I challenge all members to consider serving on one of PWV’s committees available, including the Board of Directors, to maintain the strong spirit of volunteerism that exists throughout the 300 plus member organization.

Our landscape in the Canyon Lakes Ranger District is forever changing as a result of floods, wildfires and beetle-kill. We completed the restoration of North Fork and Lion Gulch and expect that Young Gulch will be completed in 2018. Even though our members cleared a record number of trees from the trails this year and completed some major restoration projects, we will be challenged in the year ahead to clear extensive new deadfall as well as downed trees that we were not able to clear. In 2017 many remained uncleared due to the volume of downed trees and limited resources. In order for the Canyon Lakes Ranger District to have accessible trails throughout, it is critical that we increase trail crew members and members patrolling who can safely remove down trees during 2018. I encourage all of you who can, to join in this effort.

Our PWV Web Team is committed to continuing its efforts to enhance user access on all devices including mobile phones, tablets etc. I am anticipating that PWV members will see some continued improvements to pwv.org as our dedicated Web Team will be pursuing plans to enhance and improve our use of social media.

Recertification of members serving five or more years was successfully launched during spring training this year. This year our stock members will also be participating in recertification recognizing that this process must be specific to the unique requirements associated with this group who are responsible for safely managing themselves and their animals. I look forward to working with the Stock Committee in establishing a recertification process that will be appropriate.

This year PWV was very successful in recruiting a group of seasoned horseback riders. Expanding our membership of stock members, reviewing and updating our stock evaluation process, and identifying strategies to more fully integrate stock patrollers into the broader operations of PWV is an opportunity to which I look forward during my tenure as PWV Chair.

The PWV Board has adopted five Strategic Plan Objectives that provide data including member retention and the total number of volunteer hours. Both of these metrics for 2017 indicate that there is opportunity for us to improve in both areas. PWV invests heavily in recruiting, training and supporting members; however, we have an opportunity to identify strategies in improving our member retention and increasing the number of members completing a minimum of 6 patrols.

Finally, I believe that we must plan ahead as our Northern region’s population is the fastest growing in the state and will continue to grow at an accelerated rate. Our high growth rate will put pressure on our environment including wilderness trails. More than ever, the need for a strong and stable PWV volunteer force will be critical in patrolling, protecting and maintaining our system of trails in the Canyon Lakes Ranger District (CLRD). Using patrol data provided by our members, along with knowledge of our projected growth, should inform us regarding how PWV needs to evolve to meet the ever-growing demand for our services. PWV has evolved significantly since its first organizational board meeting in December 1995. I am challenging myself, along with all PWV members to think strategically about PWV’s structure and operations as we strive to meet the challenges of the future. Our founders put their passion for the wilderness into action. We must all honor their legacy to ensure that PWV is poised to meet the needs of our precious mountain wilderness trails for the next 22 years.

Randy Ratliff, PWV Chair 2017-2018

Upcoming Events

Mon Mar 05 @12:00AM
PWV Application Closes
Mon Mar 12 @ 6:00PM -
Affiliation Gathering
Thu Mar 15 @ 6:30PM - 08:30PM
PWV Board Meeting