is the Backcountry
Backcountry Trail Patrol is an independent, self-governing,
volunteer trail safety, education and assistance organization
that provides services to all trail users in the forests
and parks of Minnesota and western Wisconsin, through mountain bike patrol in the
riding season and x-c ski and snowshoe patrol in
The Backcountry Trail Patrol is a member of the National Mountain Bike
Patrol, and we are affiliated as volunteer partners with the US Forest
Service-in the Chequamegon and Chippewa National
Forests and the
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.
on patrol, we may be called upon to perform a wide variety of
duties; from supplying directions and offering maps and
information, performing light trail maintenance and repair,
giving emergency first aid, to encouraging compliance with the
forest rules and regulations. Patrol members are also
trained to assist in lost person searches and other emergencies
if the need arises.
us for more information.
U.S. Forest Service, the National Park Service, New York State
Forest Rangers and other agencies have used long-distance
patrols for years to cover large backcountry and wilderness
areas by foot, canoe and even by dogsled. Rangers, usually
seasonal employees, are assigned to work in the backcountry for
a week or more at a time, carrying all the supplies and
equipment with them in backpacks or canoe packs. That is the
idea behind "long ride-long patrols."
long trail patrol will consist of two patrollers, (although
government agencies often use solo rangers on backcountry
patrol, so one patroller would be acceptable) who would carry a
tent, food, first aid equipment, maps, trail maintenance and
navigation tools, (compass and GPS) cellular phone and a radio
in panniers or on a BoB-type bike trailer. They would be able to
stay out on the trail for a night or more at campsites along the
trail or within the system they are patrolling. Like backcountry rangers, they would check in with a designated base
by radio, one or two times a day. The patrol would also be able
to contact the base in the event of an emergency or other urgent
need, and the base would be able to contact the patrollers with
any weather alerts, special instructions or emergency
information. While law enforcement is not a function
of Backcountry Trail Patrol volunteers, they are trained to
function as additional "eyes and ears" for enforcement
and resource protection officers.
for "long ride patrols" is in addition to the training
that which Backcountry Patrollers receive when they join BPTA. While all of their
training would is applicable,
they also receive instruction in the agency’s needs,
objectives and goals, contact and emergency procedures and the
specific duties and limitations of their assignment.
Supplemental training is provided in "Tread
long-distance touring and local conditions. Backcountry
patrollers are as likely to seek information from books like
"Soft Paths" and the "NOLS Wilderness
Guide" (both published by the NOLS-the
National Outdoor Leadership School)
mountain biking resources.
while not officially offered, might also be helpful! Both the
"NOLS Cookery" book (NOLS)
and the "Wilderness Ranger Cookbook" (Falcon
Press) are great resources for meals for backcountry travelers.
there are no "bikepacking" courses at NOLS, so the
Backcountry Patrol offers workshops and classes to the public, as
well as to members.
2013 Patrol Event Schedule:
are when patrollers should plan to arrive. All others are events we
have been requested to be at.)
This information has been moved to our Facebook
Events page. (click to go there)
Minnesota and Wisconsin agencies can be found below, along with
specific trails and programs.
Patrol Member Training Information
Forest Service, Region 9-Includes
MN and WI links
Forest Service Law Enforcement
Dept. Of Natural Resources
Ranger's Winter Site