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.

The Need

  • Federal appropriations for the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) are no longer sufficient to cover the costs of forest management. The USFS doesn’t have enough staff to adequately patrol and monitor the Wilderness and backcountry trails in our area.
  • Backcountry use continues to rise, reflecting population growth and demographic changes along the Front Range and elsewhere in the nation. A recent National Survey on Recreation and the Environment (2000 – 2007) indicates that participation in outdoor recreation activities increased by 25 – 31% and that Americans’ interest in nature and nature-based recreation is changing. While activities such as hiking, backpacking, horse riding, mountain climbing, and snow skiing have recently begun to decline in popularity, viewing or photographing birds, wildlife, and flowers and trees have increased by 19 to 26%, and kayaking has increased by 63%. In 2010, the Arapaho & Roosevelt National Forests were visited by 6 million people, the second highest number of visits to a National Forest in the nation.
  • Many backcountry users have no idea what a designated Wilderness is or why it must be left “untrammeled" by man. A majority of them know very little about low-impact camping. If there is nobody to guide visitors in Wilderness use, some of our Wilderness areas could become so heavily impacted that additional restrictions on public use will be imposed.

The Concept

  • Most duties of a USFS ranger can be accomplished by carefully chosen, well-trained citizen volunteers. PWV recruits citizens who fully represent our community and those who use our region's outdoor resources. Members commit to a minimum of six days of service each year “hiking or riding with a purpose."
  • PWV members have no law enforcement authority but use education and diplomacy to promote compliance with Wilderness and backcountry regulations and Leave No Trace principles.
  • PWV members wear uniform shirts with identifying patches and name badges that make them a highly visible non-official U.S. Forest Service presence on the trails. They typically carry two-way radios and/or SPOT satellite communicators, and are trained to handle various emergency
  • PWV is an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff.

The Results

Read more: Poudre Wilderness Volunteers 2014 Fact Sheet

Patrol

Are you interested in becoming a member of a great organization?

Each year in January, Poudre Wilderness Volunteers (PWV) recruits new members. We have now opened the application process for those who would like to become volunteers!

Join us on January 22 or February 17 (6:00 PM to 7:30 PM, US Forest Service, 2150 Centre Ave., Building E, Fort Collins, CO 80526) at our Open House program to learn about PWV. Please be there at 6:00 PM for the start of the program presentation.

FYI…If you want to join as a Patrolling member, you will be required to…

  1. Fill out the on-line application by clicking on the following link: 2015 Poudre Wilderness Volunteers Application, so that PWV and the US Forest Service know who you are and how you would like to contribute to PWV.
  2. Participate in a brief face-to-face meeting with PWV members and a US Forest Service representative. These interviews are scheduled for the last two Saturdays in March (3/21 and 3/28, US Forest Service, 2150 Centre Ave., Building E, Fort Collins, CO 80526).
  3. Attend an evening introduction and classroom training event at the US Forest Service office in Fort Collins (April 29, 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM).
  4. For those who own stock which they wish to ride on patrol, there is a required Stock Evaluation at Lory State Park on May 2, 9:00 AM to Noon.
  5. Attend the annual field training weekend event that begins at 5:00 PM on Friday, May 29 and ends at Noon on Sunday, May 31.

If these requirements won’t work for you this year, or you are not physically able to hike, you will find several other opportunities offered in the Application. You can also join as:

  • An "OFF-TRAIL" MEMBER, if you are physically or medically unable to join as a patrolling member or cannot commit to 6 trail patrol days and/or participate in all the mandatory training in the current year. PWV is an all-volunteer organization; we have lots of work to be done besides patrolling.
  • A TRAIL RESTORATION PARTICIPANT, if you want to help out at Trail Restoration days but don’t want, or have the time, to commit to full PWV membership at present.
  • A SHADOW APPLICANT, if you would like to accompany one or more PWV members on their patrols during the summer to see firsthand what PWV members do during their trail patrols before committing to becoming a patrolling member. We will add your name to the list for consideration next year.
  • DEFER, if none of the PWV options is a good fit THIS YEAR we will add your name to the list for consideration next year.

If you have additional questions or concerns regarding PWV membership, please click on the following link on Becoming a Member.

Jean Routon and Jennifer Watson
Recruiting and Public Outreach Co-Chairs

 

It is fun to get out on the trails and see the beauty of a different season. Those scenic places look surprisingly unfamiliar to those who have only been there in the summer and autumn. And the public are out there, too. Of course, more visitors will be encountered near population centers, at lower elevations, and on weekends, spring break or holidays.

Greyrock  BigSouth

All trail-patrolling PWV members are eligible to winter patrol. Just be sure you are prepared for cold, for changeable weather and varied trail conditions. Ski, snow shoe or hike with good boot traction devices (such as Katoola MicroSpikes). And get an early start on completing your patrol obligations for 2015!

During the winter season PWV does not patrol Blue Lake, Montgomery Pass, and Zimmerman Lake trails. They are patrolled by Cameron Pass Nordic Rangers. Also, many USFS roads are not plowed during the winter, so there is no access to trailheads in much of the higher country.

Want to know more about Winter Patrols? Attend a Winter Patrol Kick-Off Training at USFS, Building E, 2150 Centre Ave., either on January 10th (10:00 a.m. to noon) or 21st (6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.) -- Please email or call Jeanne Corbin if you plan to attend. If you can’t attend, but want to patrol this winter, also please contact Jeanne.

 

Mike-Corbin

We never know what the next year is going to bring but we always plan for it anyway. Often those plans are overtaken by events such as a fire or a flood but as an old boss of mine liked to say, “A failure to plan is a plan for failure”. So, we do have a plan for next year and part of that plan is to see what happens and what needs to be done. What we do know is that the trails will need to be patrolled, trees will need to be removed from those trails and that we still have a lot of trail restoration work to complete from the flood damage. So, the main plan is to support the Forest Service in these efforts and make sure we do our tasks well and have some fun doing them.

We will continue with our usual activities such as Spring Training, Mentoring our new members, Supplemental Training activities and Kids in Nature to name just a few. These committees are always looking for help, but did you know PWV has more than thirty committees that function under seven categories facilitated by a member of the Board? New participants are always welcomed. For a complete listing check out the organizational listing on the web site. You may find just your niche to become more involved in PWV that you were looking for!

The recently established PWV Strategic Planning Committee continues to look at developing a new strategic plan for the organization. This committee is looking at what the organization currently is involved in, what our priorities should be and if there are any new areas we might want to become involved in. While we do not expect any major change in direction for PWV, it is possible future opportunities may be identified.

The next year will be full of activities. Some we know about and I’m sure some will be a surprise. But we hope to keep all our PWV activities running smoothly and get everyone out on the trails having a good time and hopefully getting some “stuff ” done.

Mike Corbin, 2014-2015 Chair

(This article is an excerpt from Poudre Trails year end 2014 newsletter) 

Jerry-Hanley

The 2014 year has come to an end and so has my term as PWV Board Chair. We’ve achieved many accomplishments and gained experiences along the way. In addition to our normal patrolling and trail maintenance efforts, we expended many hours and resources to restoration of some of our most popular trails affected by the 2013 flooding in the Big Thompson area. Many thanks to Mike Corbin, Mark Snyder, Fred Allen, and their committee for organizing the many work day events that occurred during the spring/summer/ fall and for the hours spent by not only PWV members, but other community organizations and public volunteers as well.

PWV received recognition from the US Forest Service as its Volunteer Organization of the Year for 2013, and also awarded us a Certificate of Appreciation for 2014. Job well done by everyone!!

How the Hours and Numbers Counted UP: we contributed 25,515 volunteer hours to the USFS, which equates to $575,371 in value; 178 people completed 6 or more patrols; NO accidents; 702 trees were logged out.

A highlight of the year was to be part of a group of PWV members who participated in the 50th Wilderness Act conference in Albuquerque in October. Thanks to Alan Meyer for coordinating this effort. It became clear at the conference that PWV is well recognized nationally, and that many folks and other wilderness organizations would like to know more about what and how we do things.

Those attending the Annual Year-End Event at the Elks Club enjoyed excellent food and camaraderie, as well as our keynote speaker, Alan Arnette, a local resident who shared his climbing experiences of scaling (amazingly in one year’s time) the highest peak on each of the seven continents, with the last feat being K2 just this past summer. Alan’s energies also are spent in his activities as an Alzheimer’s advocate.

Special recognition was given to the following members for their outstanding service to PWV during the past year: Mike Corbin, Fred Allen, Joan Kauth, Jeanne Corbin, and Margaret Shaklee.

Financially, PWV is sitting well, thanks to very good 50th Wilderness Act poster sales initiated by Alan Meyer, which contributed greatly to our Operating Fund, and the tireless efforts of Fred Allen to bring in grant monies for the restoration events. A Fund Raising Committee has been formed which will be taking a comprehensive look at raising funds from various sources throughout the year. Thanks to Judy Jacks for taking on the chair position. We are looking for a co-chair to help Judy with this effort. Please contact Judy or me if you are interested.

Interest from prospective recruits remains strong, so there is no doubt that we will see a very robust recruiting class next Spring, and continue to see significant growth as an organization.

Thanks and recognition to the 2014 BOD members who are retiring: Bob Manuel (Past Chair), Archy Archuleta, Sandy Erskine, Martha Shepard, and Cathy Trout. Each has contributed countless hours to various activities, committees, events, and the smooth running of our organization.

Finally, I personally invite everyone to welcome Mike Corbin as the new BOD chair, and thank everyone for their support during my one-year tenure. It was an honor serving you. See you on the trails!

Jerry Hanley, PWV Past Chair

(This article is an excerpt from Poudre Trails year end 2014 newsletter)

question-mark-160071 640Those of you paying attention in recent months have noticed something new about PWV this year. It's changing. You might say it's moving into the 21st century. While patrolling is still our main job, regulations have changed, the way we schedule and report patrols has changed, and where we look for and find information to do our jobs properly has changed. In short, it's not your father's PWV anymore.

To get you oriented and up to speed, here is a short Frequently Asked Question (FAQ) list. If you have further questions please contact us (use the Contact Us button at the top of the page) and we will do our best to answer your questions.

 

Read more: PWV FAQ: All Your Questions Answered

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