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Start a Patrol Group

Patrol groups consist of certified NMBP members who have completed IMBA’s training requirements and who work together in a given area to assist land managers and trail users. Official NMBP groups are registered with IMBA, providing them legitimacy with land managers, special training materials and access to industry support and best practices.

The advantages of having an organized patrol group are many. The more people you have, the less you have to demand of each individual patroller and the more the patrollers can cover your local trails. Running an organized group also streamlines interactions between patrol groups, mountain-biking clubs and land managers. A group with a leadership structure is able to take advantage of opportunities that arise, such as working at events, gaining access to trails previously closed to mountain bikers or being able to act on local issues that affect cyclists. An organized group is more readily recognized as professional, capable and reliable by land managers, local business and potential sponsors.

Each patroller in the group must maintain an NMBP membership so that their certification and skills stay current. This will also assist in the group's validity with land agencies and local emergency responders, as well as with race promoters/insurance companies if the patrol group works events.

Please note that no patrol work should be done without the express permission of each land agency that manages the trails you wish to patrol. For assistance with this process, contact the patrol [at] imba [dot] com (NMBP Coordinator).

Where do we begin?

Start by downloading the Best Practices Handbook to help guide you.

This is a rough outline to help guide you in getting started:

1. Decide where you might like to patrol. Be reasonable. A new group is often a small group and should start small. Don't propose to a land manager that you can patrol 100 miles of trail right away.

2. Decide what kind of organizational structure and leadership the group needs to have. The more you can divide up responsibilities, the easier it will be to grow and maintain the patrol.

3. Put together a plan of when, where, who, how and why. Set up meetings with the land manager(s) to present your services, gain their permission to patrol and begin a relationship with them. Don't forget to maintain that relationship! Figure out everything from emergency proceedures to maps to how the land manager wants your patrollers to report their activities.

4. Ensure at least one of your members is trained as an instructor to teach your patrol members. The land manager(s) might also be willing to do the training, especially if any trail volunteer program is already in place.

5. Recruit! Recruit! Reach out to local clubs, advertise in bike shops and at trailheads. Schedule a training session. Arrange for a CPR/First Aid class if you can, or at least let people know where they can get the training. Attempt to get a group discount.

6. Patrol! Regularly report your hours and activity to the land manager(s). Update them on trail conditions.

7. Keep up relationships. Schedule social events for your patrollers. Work with bike shops to set up an incentive program to reward active patrollers for their service. Make sure people are enjoying what they do. Set up a group website to easily inform members of activities and to make yourself known to local mountain bikers looking for a way to volunteer.

How do we sign up?

To start a patrol group, you'll be working closely with the patrol [at] imba [dot] com (NMBP National Coordinator), to get everything in place. Once all of your patrollers have joined the NMBP, your group will become an official NMBP patrol unit. 

What will it cost to get my patrol group started?

The costs are spread over each individual, but we encourage you to fundraise through grants, sponsorships and donations. Many patrols are able to cover their members' costs this way.

Individual costs:

  • Individual patroller membership with NMBP: $50/annual
  • Lightweight first aid kit from Adventure Medical (pro deal available to registered patrollers via $15-$60 depending on size and contents
  • Official NMBP jersey: $40 (not required, but helps your group look professional)
  • First Aid/CPR training from the Red Cross: $75
  • Small bike repair toolkit: (What most people already have is sufficient)

Total cost per person to get started: $180-$225
Total cost for 10 people to get started: $1,800-$2,250

If you plan to go above and beyond trail patrol duties to include working at events, then you will likely need a table, portable shelter, one comprehensive toolkit, one comprehensive first aid kit, large water container, floor pump(s), extra tubes and maybe some folding chairs. Consider those items as well when formulating your proposal and seeking grant/sponsorship money.

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