Letter: Know before you go
If you have been hiking on our wilderness trails this season, you may have noticed fewer forest rangers than normal as well as more trail obstructions. In the Steamboat Springs area, much of that responsibility falls on Friends of Wilderness, an all-volunteer nonprofit that assists the U.S. Forest Service through “boots-on-the-ground” stewardship.
We can finally announce that Friends of the Wilderness has resumed stewardship activities in the wilderness areas of the Routt National Forest. Beginning this week, you will see our presence as we patrol, clear and repair trails, clean campsites, monitor wilderness use and answer questions about the natural environment. Should conditions change, we will adjust our operations as necessary.
Because of the precautions necessary to keep everyone safe, our volunteer rangers will have to restrict their public interactions this season. We therefore encourage all wilderness visitors to “Know Before You Go.” Research your trip by using the information available on our website — friendsofwilderness.com — or by calling the local Forest Service office at 970-870-2299.
Buy a good trail map and a local hiking book. Prepare for changing weather conditions and other hazards associated with backcountry travel. Remember that emergency assistance may be hours away, minimize the risks you take and plan to be self-sufficient.
Keep in mind that we are temporary visitors in the wilderness and respect the needs of the wild inhabitants there. Travel lightly and be considerate of other wilderness users. Above all, enjoy the privilege of visiting our public lands and help us preserve and protect these natural resources.
Friends of Wilderness board president
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