Poudre Wilderness Volunteers

PWV is comprised of over 250 individuals who live primarily in northern Colorado and who range in age from 18 to 80 years old. Our volunteers represent nearly every imaginable background and all walks of life. The group consists of retirees as well as people still actively working in such fields as medicine, education, public and private administration and business.

Volunteers commit to doing six patrols a year on trails in the Canyon Lakes Ranger District. The trails may be patrolled on foot or horseback as a day hike, or as an overnight backpacking or horsepacking trip. Approximately one-fifth of our members patrol with stock. Additionally, many of our members participate in programs and activities intended to assist the USFS, implement sound land stewardship, facilitate trail access, promote hiker and rider safety, and educate the public

Poudre Wilderness Volunteers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. PWV has no paid staff and is managed by an elected board of directors and officers.

By the Numbers

2022 PWV Accomplishments

  • Total volunteer hours by PWV members: 17,649

  • Conducted a total of 831 trail patrols and had meaningful contacts with 9,579 of trail users.

  • Removed 58 illegal fire rings.

  • Feet of trail cleared of brush and limbs: 2721

  • Pounds of trash removed: 752

  • Reported 678 violations.

  • Removed 2167 fallen trees across trails.

  • Patrols that identified and/or pulled noxious weeds: 226

Read more on the PWV 2022 Fact Sheet

View past PWV annual Fact Sheets


Chuck Bell

In 1995, a volunteer ranger for the USFS, Charles Bell, who patrolled the trails of what is now the Canyon Lakes Ranger District, became extremely worried about the cuts to the ranger district’s budget over the previous three years – from 3 full-time persons and 30 seasonal employees down to just 1 full-time person and 2 part-timers to look after its extensive backcountry and wilderness areas.

With USFS support, he decided to form a volunteer organization that was named Poudre Wilderness Volunteers (PWV) after the major river that flows through the district.

No organization magically springs, full-blown, into the world. Much planning, experimenting, trial and error, and gathering of information is involved. But before any of that happens, one person has to have an idea, an inspiration, which is so compelling that it must be pursued. In the case of the Poudre Wilderness Volunteers, that person is Chuck Bell. While volunteering for the Forest Service, he saw a vital need for ordinary citizens to assist the Forest Service in maintaining the wilderness.

Here, in Chuck Bell’s own words, is the story of how we started.  Read More