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2020 POSTS

For sheer adorableness, nothing compares to the PIKA. Read the ESWA     December eNewsletter by Frances Hartogh about this little bundle of endangered alpine fur. Topics that Frances addresses include: Where do pikas call home? What's a pika anyway? What do pikas do all day? What to eat? Those whistles. Making more pikas. The pika's dilemma - trapped at the top. How we can help.
ESWA ADVOCATES - our  special newsletter gives you timely updates about 6 campaigns that aim to protect and promote our beautiful local Wilderness Areas. 
We are fighting 1) a proposed luxury development encompassed by the White River National Forest in Eagle County, 2) an open pit mine that would despoil the pastoral Lower Blue River Valley, 3) a plan to hemorrhage more water from Holy Cross Wilderness to front range cities, 4) a proposal to right the wrong when a stunning mountain range was named after one of the worst sportsmen in North American history (George Gore), and 5) a proposal to deprive the Eagle County bighorn sheep of crucial winter habitat. Oh, we also 6) support the passage of bill before Congress to add 3 new Wilderness Areas and additions to others, right in our backyard.
As Colorado Gives Day approaches (Dec 8), please give generously to the dedicated non-profits leading these campaigns.
Our  November eNewsletter by DAVE BREWSTER (left) provides thought-provoking insights about the benefits of OLD-GROWTH FORESTS. This information should help inform the debate in Summit and Eagle Counties, and throughout the West, about the role of clear cutting, thinning, and other forms of “forest management” on our public lands. This debate gets hotter as the WUI -  the wildland urban interface - extends farther into our forests. 
CINDY EBBERT has received national recognition from the US Forest Service as the winner of THE TRADITIONAL SKILLS AND MINIMUM TOOLS LEADERSHIP AWARD. Cindy, the Wilderness & Trails Manager for the Dillon Ranger District, guides and informs all of ESWA's activities in Summit County as our USFS Liaison. We are so happy for this well-deserved honor for her. 

The Award is for outstanding initiative, creativity, and commitment to wilderness principles by accomplishing difficult or challenging wilderness stewardship activities using traditional skills and primitive tools. The citation reads, 

"Cindy uses her planning, teaching, and on-the-ground experience to contribute to traditional skills trainings and wilderness partnership projects. She has also worked to address threats to the wilderness areas on her district like visitor use impacts and the Mountain Pine Beetle Epidemic through the lens of traditional tool methods. She does this by improving the crosscut saw skills of partners like ESWA and providing opportunities for certification. Cindy also leads a highly skilled trail crew that has removed significant numbers of dead trees and debris from wilderness trails, which drew attention and support from visitors and other interest groups for their effective use of traditional tools. One of the outstanding projects that Cindy applied her expertise to was the removal of Rock Creek Cabin in the Eagle’s Nest wilderness. It required the removal of the cabin, a concrete slab, buried water line, assorted garbage, two storage tanks and restoration of a historic wetland. Cindy utilized a Minimum Tool Analysis to come up with a creative method to complete the project with the Colorado Corrections Industry. Overall, Cindy runs a very effective trails program due to her commitment to utilizing and providing ongoing education on traditional tools.”

You can read the nomination letter  HERE.
The 2020 Currie Craven Award for Wilderness Stewardship was given to CYNDI KOOP. Cyndi was one of the original founders of the Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Program in 2005, and managed the program until 2016. Cyndi was an active mentor to new VWRs, became a certified sawyer (and in 2009 spent every weekend trail clearing after the big May windstorm), and rewrote the Training Manual. The past several years she has spent summers working in Denali National Park, but returns to Summit County in time to complete her four required VWR patrols. She is now preparing to move to Alaska, and we will all miss her friendly enthusiasm.
In the ESWA  October eNewsletter WARREN HERN describes his idyllic childhood experiences in the Homestake Valley, the despair he felt at the despoliation caused by thirsty front range cities, and the organization that he founded - the Holy Cross Wilderness Defense Fund - to protect it.

The AMAZING LLAMA RESCUE it the subject of this month's eNewsletter essay. When photographer John Fielder's two llamas were spooked by a bear, they pulled their pins and headed off. Soledad turned up, but for 2 days John couldn't find Earl, and worst case scenarios grew stronger in his mind. Enter ESWA Volunteer Wilderness Ranger Brad B., whose selfless searching led to an amazing denouement. 
Work on the Mesa Cortina Boardwalk in memory of Beau Schuette concluded (a bit more will be done in 2021). The Rocky Mountain Youth Corps crew, under the direction of USFS expert Zack Heineman, did a fantastic job - hauling in all of the supplies and building a 100 foot-long boardwalk over a swampy area on the popular Mesa Cortina trail. See the full story  HERE
 USFS Manager of Wilderness (and more) in the Eagle/Holy Cross Ranger District KATHERINE "KAT" BAZAN (here with son Keller) is profiled in the latest ESWA  eNewsletter. Read about her laser-like journey from her earliest days to her new position, and the unprecedented professional challenges that arrived due to the pandemic.
ESWA has a new ADVOCACY campaign: to protect the habitat of BIGHORN SHEEP in East Vail. In a letter to the Vail Town Council, ESWA Chair Mike Browning wrote, "ESWA’s primary interest in the proposed Booth Heights land swap is the protection of the Bighorn Sheep herd that uses the Booth Heights property for winter range. Wildlife in the Vail Valley is under increasing pressure from human development and the increased number of hikers in our local Wilderness Areas.   It is vital that we protect the critical wildlife habitat that remains.  This is particularly true of the winter habitat provided by the Booth Heights property as it is essential for the survival of the Bighorn Sheep that spend the remainder of the year in the Eagles Nest Wilderness." Read the entire letter  HERE

In our July Newsletter ANDREW LEARY, National Outreach Manager at the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, discusses strategies for enlisting screen technology in teaching young people how to appreciate Nature's bounty. 
 ESWA is advocating to protect HOMESTAKE CREEK AND HOLY CROSS WILDERNESS, asking the US Forest Service to deny a permit to the towns of Aurora and Colorado Springs for the construction of a large reservoir that would require removal of up to 500 acres from Holy Cross Wilderness. See the Eaglet for more information.

Our June eNewsletter celebrates the EAGLE VALLEY LAND TRUST (EVLT). Deputy Director BERGEN TJOSSEM write about their extraordinary work helping conservation-minded property owners create CONSERVATION EASEMENTS to protect open land. They manage over 36 such properties - over 11,200 acres - including 20 with public access featuring 34.8 miles of trails, 10 miles of river corridor and riparian habitat, over 10,116 acres of wildlife habitat, 6,396 acres of scenic vistas, and three working ranches.

In the ESWA  May eNewsletter Ralph Swain describes a remarkable double centennial - the "Spanish Flu" pandemic and the birth of the wilderness movement - and how Arthur Carhart (1892-1978) was intimately involved with both events. 

On Sunday, April 5th and again on April 19th ESWA appealed for volunteers in the Vail Daily and Summit Daily newspapers. We hope to attract people who want to help us steward Wilderness in Eagle and Summit Counties. The announcement will appear again on April 19th. Click  HERE to learn more. Plans are subject to change depending on the pandemic.
In the April eNewsletter Dr. FRANK GUTMANN describes our work with the CROSSCUT SAW, the most important tool for clearing Wilderness trails of deadfall trees. In 2019, the US Forest Service and ESWA volunteers cleared from trails more than 2,500 trees that had been killed by the pine beetle a decade ago, and are now falling across trails in record numbers. ESWA is seeking volunteers to become CERTIFIED CROSSCUT SAWYERS. Please consider joining us! Send us an email at info@eaglesummitwilderness.org. 

DOGS IN WILDERNESS - In the March eNewsletter FRANCES HARTOGH examines the challenging issue of leash laws for dogs inside designated Wilderness. She reviews the compelling evidence that dogs - especially when off-leash - unfortunately have serious negative impacts on Wilderness. 
Wolf reintroduction in Colorado? It's on the ballot. In the February eNewsletter two experienced, respected experts - Eric Washburn & Jim Pribyl - weigh the issues and come to an unambiguous conclusion. 
Out with the old and in with the new. In the January eNewsletter outgoing Chair BILL BETZ talks about 2019 and incoming Chair MIKE BROWNING introduces himself and outlines an agenda for 2020.