Saeger: Let’s celebrate National Forest Week | VailDaily.com
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Saeger: Let’s celebrate National Forest Week

Ernest Saeger
Valley Voices
Ernest Saeger

In the Eagle River Valley, many of us celebrate our National Forest on a daily or weekly basis. Whether you are outside skiing, hiking, biking, wildlife viewing, hunting or simply enjoying nature, there is a very good chance you are doing it in our National Forest.

This week, July 11-17, is National Forest Week.  The National Forest Foundation is officially celebrating our incredible 193-million-acre National Forest System and all the benefits it provides to the public. Regionally, we are fortunate to be surrounded by the 2.3 million-acre White River National Forest. Locally, the 652,000-acre Eagle-Holy Cross Ranger District lies between the Gore Range, the Sawatch Range, the Flat Tops, and includes the forest areas surrounding the towns of Vail, Avon, Red Cliff, Eagle, Gypsum, Edwards and Dotsero.

The White River National Forest provides an abundance of opportunities for us, the public, to access and enjoy our forest.  There are three Wilderness areas that we have access to explore including the Eagle’s Nest, Holy Cross and Flat Tops.



Recreation opportunities are numerous, including designated and dispersed camping, hundreds of miles of motorized and non-motorized trails, 10th Mountain Huts, and, of course, Vail and Beaver Creek ski resorts.

We are fortunate to be surrounded by our incredible forest. The National Forest Foundation through its White River Ski Conservation Fund provides necessary resources to many local nonprofits and partner organizations to ensure our forest is healthy so we can continue to have a great experience when enjoying it.



Programs like our Adopt A Trail and Wildlife Trail Ambassadors and projects like Hanging Lake Trail restoration would not be possible without support from the National Forest Foundation.

Please join me, the National Forest Foundation, and the thousands of others that access our forests on a weekly basis to take a moment to celebrate them, care for them, and recreate responsibly so our current and future generations can enjoy their public access to our forest.

The VVMTA’s mission is to maintain, educate, advocate for and build sustainable non-motorized soft surface trails while conserving the natural environment of Eagle County and our public lands. We are the leading trail advocates in Eagle County. We promote stewardship of our public lands, sustainable trail-building practices, and a balance between recreation and conservation. The VVMTA maintains that trails contribute to the quality of life, improved health and economic vitality of the community.



The National Forest Foundation works on behalf of the American public to inspire personal and meaningful connections to our National Forests. By directly engaging Americans and leveraging private and public funding, the NFF leads forest conservation efforts and promotes responsible recreation. Each year the NFF restores fish and wildlife habitats, facilitates common ground, plants trees in areas affected by fires, insects and disease, and improves recreational opportunities. The NFF believes our National Forests and all they offer are an American treasure and are vital to the health of our communities. Learn more at nationalforests.org.

Ernest Saeger is the executive director of the Vail Valley Mountain Trails Alliance.


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