Are you the person who notices trail improvement needs while riding? Do you enjoy riding more remote backcountry trails in our National Forest? Would you like to be able to make those trail fixes as you’re out riding on your own schedule? Well…sounds like OMBA’s Trail Agent program could be for you!
What Do Trail Agents Do
Trained & qualified Trail Agents are able to conduct basic trail maintenance on approved US Forest Service trails while out riding mountain bikes at their own schedule & convenience. Trail Agents carry a set of packable trail tools (provided by OMBA upon completion of all training requirements) when out for rides. As trail issues are encountered that are within our scope of work, they stop and work on them. This includes addressing major safety issues, clearing trail corridors, fixing or improving drainage & erosion issues, and sometimes building small reroutes to bypass problem areas. Trail Agent crews also schedule small group outings to complete larger maintenance projects and construct a variety of approved trail improvements. You can check out some of these projects here: Trail Agent Projects
How to Get Involved
Join a Trail Agent Ride
Check out what this program is like by attending a ride with Trail Agents, no previous training required. We have regularly scheduled open rides with experienced Trail Agents, on various trails in the Canyon Lakes Ranger District. These rides last two to four hours; we ride the trails, talk about what type of maintenance we do and maybe even do a little trail maintenance!
Join the Trail Agent Program
Trail Agents must complete a few training steps before being able to conduct Trail Agent trail work on their own. These steps include:
- Complete the Trail Agent Trainee Survey – we request your responses to help us understand your interests, experience and field training needs.
- Be a current OMBA member (membership includes volunteer insurance coverage and other perks!) – https://www.imba.com/join/chapter/ombc
- Read the OSI Guide to Independent Stewardship for Trails (approximately 60-90 minutes.)
- Complete Basic First Aid/CPR training (approximately 8 hours, hybrid or in-person courses available). We provide this training free of charge to those that are not already FA/CPR trained. OMBA member Tim Gaines is the provider. Contact Tim at: firstname.lastname@example.org and he will email you a key to access the training.
- Please contact us at email@example.com when you are at this point in your training steps. We will get you a copy of the USFS waiver to sign and return, get you login access to our USFS reporting site and get you scheduled for a Trail Agent field check ride.
- Complete at least 1 Trail Agent field check ride (approximately 4 hours each) and file a field trip report – the number of check rides needed is based on your experience and comfort level. We do require at least one on-the-trail experience with trail tools before doing independent trail agent rides.
Congratulations! You’re ready to roll as an OMBA Trail Agent. We will check out portable tools to you for trail work use, help coordinate trail work priorities, scheduling rides with other Trail Agents and reporting assistance.
Since your volunteer time towards basic trail maintenance will be authorized by public land managers, to the benefit of the trail using public, an understanding of key relationships is required. Land Managers (USFS) and Volunteer Organizations (OMBA) each operate with a combination of insurance requirements and slim budgets that could be threatened by the risky actions of individuals. This training program aims to educate on the potential risks inherent in performing basic trail maintenance, so that they can be mitigated as much as possible. Understanding the protocols expected of independent Trail Agents is key to the program’s overall success. OMBA has coordinated the program’s approval with individual land managers and will report volunteer accomplishments on a monthly or seasonal basis. Trail Agents conduct themselves appropriately while on the trail, and report on their accomplishments on a timely basis.
In general, Trail Agents are expected to utilize risk assessment and mindfulness best practices to undertake only basic trail maintenance actions that are (1) safe to accomplish, (2) safe for passing trail users, and (3) safe for future trail users.
Questions? Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Looking for the Trail Agent Resources page? Click here.
This program could not happen at our current level without the help of the following sponsors:
- CPW State Trails Program – $44,425 Non-Motorized Trail Grant for 2021-22
- National Wilderness Stewardship Alliance – $9,889.00 NWSA National Forest System Trail Stewardship Partnership Funding for 2021
- SCHEELS – Johnstown
- New Belgium Brewing
Additional sponsors are still needed to continue this program long-term. Please contact us for more information.