Sunday, November 10, 2019

About Us: U.S. Forest Service Volunteer Partners since 1999

In 1994, simultaneous with the beginnings of the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association (CAMBA) in northwestern Wisconsin, avid mountain bikers Cindy Storm, Cindy Bijold, Ann Breckenridge, and Kelly Owen published a book called, “The North Country Guide Mountain Biking, Minnesota – Wisconsin.” This little book highlighted mountain biking opportunities away from the Twin Cities area including trails in the Chequamegon National Forest in Wisconsin, and the Chippewa National Forest in north central Minnesota. Similarly, another book, “Mountain Biking Minnesota” by Steve Jenkins was published by Falcon Press in 2002, and highlighted many of the same riding opportunities on the Chippewa National Forest. The North-Central Mountain Bike Patrol (NCMBP), the National Mountain Bike Patrol affiliate in Minnesota and Wisconsin at the time, had already started activity on the Chequamegon Forest, and seizing upon the descriptions of the underutilized Simpson Creek, Suomi Hills, and Trout Lake trails on the Chippewa Forest, the NCMBP approach the US Forest Service about volunteering to help develop and patrol those trails. The “Backcountry Trail Patrol Project” adopted the Simpson Creek Trail system as their first project, and regularly patrolled trails on bike and on snowshoes, did trail maintenance, built and cleaned backcountry campsites, and even helped take out beaver dams from 1999 until after the US Forest Service Centennial in 2005.
Late in 2002, the board of the NCMBP turned over operations of the patrol to Minnesota Off-Road Cyclists (MORC), an organization that was, at the time, concentrating on the Twin Cities area. The Backcountry Patrol program was spun off into a separate organization, and in January 2003 was incorporated as the Backcountry Trail Patrol Association. It was during this time that the patrol shifted its emphasis away from Simpson Creek and the Cutfoot Sioux area of the forest to the Trout Lake trails and the historic Joyce Estate Great Camp, a registered National Historic Site within the Trout Lake Non-Motorized Area. Our involvement in this area continues to this day, with occasional “casual” volunteer patrols in that system.

Beginning in 2003, the Backcountry Patrol's emphasis shifted from the Chippewa trails to Sand Dunes State Forest near Zimmerman, Minnesota, where the Patrol Director was employed at the time. Several backcountry skiers had joined the team at that point, and the patrol assisted with trail grooming, annual candlelight ski events, and held their wilderness medical training classes at Sand Dunes for several years. In addition, we started to become more involved with the Chequamegon area and the CAMBA trail system, the Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival and other events in the Cable, Wisconsin, area, which continues to this day.

In 2007 the patrol began assisting the Isanti County Parks Department with trail patrol, maintenance, and the development of a mountain bike trail system at Springvale County Park which also continues today with nearly 3 miles of singletrack mountain bike trail constructed at Springvale, and another small section developed at Dalbo Memorial Forest County Park.

The MORC Mountain Bike Patrol waned after several years and the Backcountry patrol stepped up to continue to provide emergency medical support for the various events that the MORC patrol had covered, including the Twin Cities Marathon, the Team Ortho series races, and related events. Members of the patrol were instrumental in saving two lives at the Twin Cities Marathon in 2012 and again in 2014 using their medical training and AEDs provided through a grant from the Team Ortho Foundation. Early in 2019 we turned over coverage of these events to the new Twin Cities Mountain Bike Patrol, with whom we share both members and responsibilities.
Going forward, we continue our mission to be a non-profit organization dedicated to protecting trail users and forest resources through service and backcountry safety education, closely affiliated with the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association and volunteer partners with the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest and Isanti County Parks.

Copyright © 2002 - 2019 Backcountry Trail Patrol Association, Inc.
Last modified: Nov. 10, 2019