|Although you must be 18, a young volunteer can sign up with an adult.|
Outdoor enthusiasts met in the commission chambers recently to sign up with the Good Will Riders. Bill Broadbear, recreation and trails supervisor, explained that the Good Will Riders is a program that was born in the Kamas district by Barb Walker. Walker started the program to educate users and protect the resources in the forests. Her program has been so successful, turning from only ATV users to encompass horse riders and snowmobile users together. The patrol program in Kamas continues year around.
Broadbear explained that the program has been so successful, that they decided to try the same thing on the Manti-LaSal National Forest. He introduced Andrew Johnson, recreation and trails from the Ferron office. Johnson began his presentation with an award to a local couple. Don and Bonnie Keele of Ferron, were awarded the 2002 Utah State Trail Workers of the Year. Johnson said, "No one has worked harder than these two to help protect our trails and this award is greatly deserved. Volunteers are the key."
Johnson began his Good Will Riders presentation with an explanation of why the program is needed. With an increase in motorized use, more novice riders, resource damage, user conflicts and accidents, volunteers are viewed as a more effective tool with which to educate and inform the general public. For the most part, a rider will listen to another rider.
The four goals of the program are to increase safety, decrease resource damage, promote trail manners and provide feedback to the forest service concerning the needs and wishes of the users. Maverik Country Stores have come up with a program to "catch the ATV riders doing something good." The Good Will Riders will issue "smiley" tickets to those ATV riders who are acting in a responsible and respectful manner and wearing their helmets. The certificates can be redeemed at Maverik stores and are good for a yogurt cone, a soda pop or a hot dog.
A forest service user who volunteers to become a Good Will Rider will be expected to give four weekend days through the season to patrol on the Arapeen Trail. Some of the six-hour days can be spent greeting other users at the trailheads and handing out maps of the trail system or doing repair work to the trails as instructed by the rangers. Volunteers will have a forest service radio to contact the rangers in case of an emergency.
Volunteers will be required to fill out a field report informing the forest service of the needs or the comments heard during the day. A training will be held for those who volunteer on May 17 to prepare them for the rides.
Johnson pointed out that forest users are not only ATV riders, but horsemen and hikers, so the forest service is encouraging anyone who uses the forest service to get involved in the Good Will Riders program.
Layne Miller is the volunteer coordinator. He can be contacted at 820-4326 or firstname.lastname@example.org.