CURRIE CRAVEN AWARD
FOR WILDERNESS STEWARDSHIP
The Currie Craven Award is given annually to a person who has been an exemplary advocate for the promotion and protection of designated Wilderness. The award is named for John Currie Craven, co‐founder of ESWA and president for more than two decades. We seek to honor those who, like Currie, have toiled energetically and advocated vigorously in an enduring pattern of support for Wilderness. While nominees may come from any area, we focus especially on those whose efforts have included Colorado Wilderness Areas, especially in and near Eagle and Summit Counties. The inaugural award was presented in celebration of our first quarter century.
The nomination should explain clearly the qualifications of the nominee in 1500 words or less. Send it to email@example.com. People may self‐nominate.
Submission deadline is early-mid September. The award presentation will be made at our Annual Celebration. Selection of the winner is made by an Award Committee drawn from current ESWA members, US Forest Service representatives, former awardees, and others chosen by Membership Chair and the ESWA Chair. Award Committee members may not nominate candidates or be themselves nominated for the award.
2023 AWARDEE: MARYANN GAUG
Maryann played a vital role during the first half of ESWA's (FENW's) life, then helped launch the FENW-to-ESWA transition in 2018, and most recently (2023) made a substantial donation to ESWA for infrastructure improvements in Eagles Nest Wilderness
Maryann joined FENW soon after its founding in 1994, and served in many capacities, helping to grow the membership to 150 by 1997. In 2005, she co-founded the Volunteer Wilderness Ranger (VWR) program and the Noxious Weed Treatment program. She wrote the first VWR Training Manual, more than 50 FENW newsletters, and numerous grant applications.
Her efforts on behalf of Wilderness and other public lands extend far beyond ESWA. She is widely recognized for her series of popular hiking guides. They are excellent - not just perfunctory directions and practical details, but are also replete with interesting historical, geological, geographical, and biological vignettes, plus sage and earnest Leave No Trace advice.
In summary, Maryann Gaug was a powerful catalyst in the early days of FENW. Together with Currie and a few others, they built a highly successful volunteer organization in a remarkably short period of time. She remains a committed Wilderness advocate, educator, and ESWA supporter today. Our successes continue to reflect her vision and industry; we truly stand on her shoulders.
2023 AWARDEE: GEORGE RESSEGUIE
George Resseguie retired to Summit County in 2004, and joined the Board of Directors of FENW in 2005; He served as both secretary and treasurer for 12 years, becoming involved in many projects not requiring ‘boots on the ground”. He was an enthusiastic volunteer, a driving force to keep members of the FENW BOD motivated and on-track; he organized the monthly BOD meetings, and frequently contributed to the FENW semi-annual newsletter. He initiated and facilitated the Trail-counter project, to begin monitoring visitor usage.
George worked with Ken Waugh, Forest Service Recreation Staff officer to pursue grants to fund purchase of shared tools for trail maintenance projects; about 5 years later, a second shed was acquired with a grant from the Summit foundation. George maintained numerous boxes of FENW records, which records have now been digitized, so that old minutes and newsletters can be found on the ESWA website. Without George’s long-term efforts and dedication, FENW would not be where it is today as ESWA. His efforts demonstrate that wilderness volunteers can make a major contribution without being ‘physically’ involved in protecting Wilderness.
2021 AWARDEE: JOHN TAYLOR
John has been a Wilderness advocate and caretaker since he arrived in Summit County. He worked with FENW from our beginning 27 years ago and was a board member for over 20 years. John has had a monumental impact on our community’s awareness of noxious weeds and our important efforts to make progress against the spreading of invasive species. John served on the State Noxious Weed Advisory Committee for 8 years, influencing Summit County and many other Colorado counties, CDO and State Parks to allocate more funding to educate and combat the horrific impacts of noxious weeds on our ecosystems.
Musk thistle, false chamomile, oxeye daisies, spotted knapweed, tamarisk, leafy spurge and other noxious weeds have been taking over our local wilderness and destroying habitat for many years, but we have seen huge renewal of native habitat due to the John’s work with “weed spotters” in the field and ongoing education of the public.
2020 AWARDEE: CYNDI KOOP
Cyndi was one of the original founders of ESWA's 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. During 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.
INAUGURAL AWARDEE: CURRIE CRAVEN
An appreciation, by Maryann Gaug
First and foremost, Currie Craven has a passion for Wilderness and a boundless energy for working for and preserving Wilderness. He’s an eloquent speaker and writer, and attended a gadzillion Wilderness and Forest Plan Revision meetings (to support Wilderness). He also understands the need for compromise and working with a wide variety of outdoor interests to make sure everyone has a say and that any management plans and travel management plans meet people’s needs as well as the needs of Wilderness and all that live within it. Under his leadership, FENW participated in Summit Fat Tire Society work days and vice versa.
After the creation of FENW in 1994, Currie became chairman of the board while Ed Adams was president. After a couple of years, Ed moved to Ouray and Currie took over the duties of president. Currie was FENW president and/or chairman of the board from 1994 to 2017.
For FENW’s 10th anniversary, I interviewed John Fayhee, whose article in the Summit Daily News kicked off the creation of the group.
From FENW’s May 2004 newsletter:
“Currie’s generally responsible for FENW,” John Fayhee said. Without Currie’s energy, John figures they might have just sat around talking about the idea. John commented that it amazes him that a group that started so informally has taken off and is doing so well.
Currie continued as both FENW president and board chair. He has a ton of energy when it comes to Wilderness and attends umpteen meetings to assure Wilderness continues to be a special place in the US and Colorado. No doubt that he’s truly a Wild Wilderness.