It will be of little shock for many that there is a large backlog of deferred maintenance on OHV trails across the country. This is especially true in high-use areas near urban interfaces and other popular OHV riding destinations. Many of these riding areas are on USFS and BLM managed lands. Unfortunately, these agencies are often under-staffed and under-funded which compounds the issue. Another hurdle is lack of available heavy equipment vehicles and skilled operators to operate them.
We at NOHVCC hear of this problem at almost every Great Trails workshop we conduct. Seeing this as a potential opportunity to assist, NOHVCC worked with land managers to see if there is an opportunity to help train agency employees and vital volunteers to use trail dozers and mini excavators to perform maintenance of OHV trails. Historically, the USFS “Enterprise Team” was the only available training source, but due to budget restructuring has been unable to conduct many trainings in the last few years.
With this in mind NOHVCC reached out to the Prescott National Forest (PNF) and Arizona State Parks and Trails (AZSPT) to see if they would be interested in hosting and funding an equipment training pilot program. Both were on board and a grant utilizing OHV decal revenue sales administered by AZSPT was approved to fund the training for no cost to participants. NOHVCC also partnered with Flagline Trails, LLC which has a vast amount of experience operating heavy equipment and training.
The pilot training will serve to train individuals to operate trail dozers (Sweco/Sutter) and familiarize the students with various mini excavators available on the market. With an additional 40 hours of mentored seat time in equipment, the expectation is that students will be proficient to operate machinery and perform maintenance once the course and mentorship are completed. This will expand the maintenance capabilities of agencies and volunteers who maintain trails on public lands.
This pilot training is scheduled for March 21-25 near Prescott, AZ. If you are interested in attending this training and are a resident of Arizona, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more details. Space is limited.
While this initial training is funded and held in the State of Arizona, NOHVCC has received significant interest in this type of training from other parts of the country. Therefore, NOHVCC would like to explore the possibility of partnering with land managers to bring this training to local land managers and volunteers across the nation. Our intent is to have this training officially adopted as approved training for staff and volunteers who maintain trails on public lands. This would serve local offices by reducing maintenance costs and time requirements, as well as making better use of equipment that may already be available.
If you would like to have this type of training in your area in the future, please reach out to us at email@example.com and let us know. Right now, we are just gauging interest and there is no guarantee that we can bring training to your area, but it is important for us to understand the demand for heavy equipment training and which parts of the country have the greatest need.