Thursday, April 20, 2023

National Volunteer Week 2023: Discover the Forest With Us!

The Backcountry Trail Patrol Association, is a not-for-profit organization formed in 1996 as the North-Central Mountain Bike Patrol (NCMBP), which provides the U.S. Forest Service, Isanti County (MN) County Parks and other requesting agencies with volunteer manpower dedicated to protecting trail users and forest resources through service and backcountry safety education. The primary role of the Backcountry Patrol to serve as "Ambassadors to the Forest". The Patrol also assists by providing first aid/medical support at events related to and taking part on park and forest lands.

Mountain Bike Patrol volunteers patrol many of the Chequamegon Area Mountain Bike Association trails on the National Forest. Originally created as a program of the NCMBP, the Backcountry Patrol initially started in 1999 by helping to develop, promote, and patrol the Simpson Creek Trails on the Chippewa National Forest in north-central Minnesota. It incorporated as a separate entity in 2003, and assumed the non-event related functions of NCMBP later that year. Over time, the patrol also took on the event coverage roles of NCMBP as well.

Patrol members count the number of visitors, check for hazardous conditions, and educate, assist and inform all trail users. They also perform light trail maintenance, pick up trash and are available to provide first aid/medical and basic mechanical assistance to any forest visitor. In the winter season, these activities may be done using fat-bikes (mountain bikes with 4-inch or wider tires). snowshoes or cross-country skis.

Volunteer with BTPA! 

Chances are you’ve run into some of our Volunteer Patrol members in their bright red jerseys on the trail, but did you know that you could become a volunteer yourself? We are recruiting volunteers for this year and we have a late start on training because of all the snow this winter.

Members of the Mountain Bike Unit patrol team are a dedicated group of men and women who not only enjoy the activity of mountain biking, but also possess a desire to proactively promote awareness and responsible trail use for hikers, cyclists, and equestrians on the Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest Great Divide District and Isanti County Parks

At its most basic, a trail patrol volunteer has a responsibility to schedule a minimum of eight hours of patrol each month between Memorial Day and the Chequamegon Mountain Bike Festival in mid-September. his may be done on the trails, or as a part of event coverage. During any given patrol, they may be called upon to perform a wide variety of duties; from supplying directions and offering maps and information, to giving basic first aid, to encouraging or exacting compliance with the  rules and regulations — even contacting and coordinating the resources needed to respond to emergency situations that may arise.

The patrol is not law enforcement, but they do work in partnership and communication with the authorized law enforcement agencies and as such are responsible for observing and recognizing any acts that may constitute a potential health hazard to the safety of forest resources and visitors.

For more information on patrol membership, contact any patrol member or email "BACKOUNTRY (at) TRAILPATROL.ORG"