5 minutes reading time
The Evolution of the Trail Ambassador Program
Some of you may have seen how we're getting volunteers together under our Trail Ambassador program. I want to take a few minutes to explain how this system is evolving and is being used to make more trail riding opportunities. It's our hope to provide educational services like this to Trail Ambassadors, members, and the general public.
Over the course of one year in the Trail Ambassador program under Division 2 (4x4), we've quickly improved the class, vests, verbiage, and are making it easier to understand and use. The Trail Ambassador program is run by the NOHVIS group that our family runs here in the office and offers classes for ATV,UTV, and now RL4WDs. It's a great curriculum that's recognized by government, land managers, tourism and as the word spreads, and more Ambassadors are trained, it's allowing us to work with more folks, which helps us with trail development and public awareness. We started the Trail Ambassador program back in 2001 so next year it'll celebrate it's 20th year helping build and keep riding areas!
If Ambassadors have formal training with law enforcement, military, or firefighting there's even a Trail Ambassador program that works with Wisconsin Emergency Management where Ambassadors can report in and respond to public emergencies. Having lifted 4x4s in the mix allows greater rescue options for officials and it can save lives at home and on the trail.
Below are some images of the first year of classes. We're really ramping up classes for 2020 so if you'd like to sign up for one, join the group https://rl4wd.com/groups/207-tgatraining to stay up to date with upcoming classes and training. Keep in mind, Trail Ambassadors also do their own training and refresher courses as well!
Our first division 2 class Feb of 2019.
Teaching how to spot and guide
Learning how to address and report trail conditions
Practicing recovery techniques
Keeping it fun! Volunteering to patrol trails and help out!
Learning mapping and communication skills
Learning how to report and aid land managers and law enforcement
Training with military (that's a blackhawk in the treeline),
Communication is key for all parties involved. We practice working on drills between all volunteers and agencies so when it's time to respond, we're ready!
Class #2 for Division 2. Classroom training at our office, then we hit the trails for hands-on training.
The difference we make is in the reporting. It's key for credibility.
Class #2 dawned the new style vests. Here we are at Camp Sinawa doing some map training.
Class #2 brought us to 39 Ambassadors in Division 2.
Helping clear a trailhead for more parking
Trail Ambassador Dick Schmidt volunteering his time and equipment to help prep Camp Sinawa.
Helping flatten some trails for skiing before winter. Trail Ambassador Dick Schmidt built and gave this drag to help it all happen with our rigs.
Mapping, communication, and trail maintenance training.
Our one year anniversary with the Trail Ambassador program. Here, NOHVIS group president and founder Randy Harden is giving our newest classroom presentation.
Practicing recovery board use in the snow.
Here, our WI Communication unit leader Don Mascarella trains with Ambassadors during our last class. Current Trail Ambassadors can train with new Ambassadors for the hands-on training portion of each class.
Trail Ambassadors training on guiding over snow covered, off camber, hills.
One of our sponsors https://www.trailbuiltoffroad.com/ sent their team to become ambassadors and help out with rides. Here, Josh Shymanski of TrailBuilt practices guiding on hills.
Our 3rd class bringing our Division 2 Trail Ambassador count to 50 volunteers!
Day 2 of practice we went out on public roads and trails.
We practiced trail recovery on day two in real world situations.
Here, Willy and Don practice different recovery techniques out on a trail.
We discuss and do hands on training on trails that are drifted over, have no cellphone coverage so we can practice calling into our communication center via Ham radio.
Here, NOHVIS group Trail Ambassador leader and designer Adam Harden works along side Randy. In nearly 20 years, he's worked hard at constantly improving our program. The next updates even involve TA cell phone apps and more. It's an incredible amount of work and a fill-time job providing this level of service.
It's our hope to keep growing the Trail Ambassador program so that together, we can all work together on trail use, public safety, and keeping riding areas healthy and growing!