BushHacker Trail Boss Duties
Summary of Trail Boss Duties:
Once every six months, Rick Anderson selects one date each month which doesn't conflict with holidays and any other known important events (sorry, I don't know about your Mom's birthday, so I just might of selected this all-important date! :-). This date is the club's official run this month. It represents a date that we can all put in our calendars and try to "reserve". Formal trips are always numbered (example: Trip #64).
The reserved date is always a Saturday, although the run might take place on Sunday at the discretion of the Trail Boss.
The calendar is not exclusive. "Informal" runs can (and do) happen. Generally these are labeled Trip #65a, Trip #65b, etc, representing the official trip they most closely follow. The only difference between official runs and informal ones is the amount of notice you receive and potentially the amount of formality/preparedness of the run. For example, informal runs are often scouting runs where the trails which will be run are unknown (it is an exploratory trip, potentially for a future official trip). Informal runs are often smaller, less organized and might have a novice trail boss.
Trail Boss Role
For each trip, we look for a trail boss. This person volunteers to lead the trip on this date. The trail boss is responsible for pre-running the trail if possible, obtaining maps of the area, posting the trip notification (including meeting location and time, directions, CB channel, trail description, etc), and leading the trip.
On the trail, the trail boss leads the trip. In case of vehicle break-down, the trail boss should decide what the group will do - continue on or stay with the broken down vehicle. It is important that everyone who starts the trip, leaves the trip. We don't ever want to leave someone in the forest alone.
The trail boss should attempt to stop for lunch around noon and should try to keep the group together on the trail. Appointing a tail gunner (generallly the trail boss is at the front and a the tail gunner is at the back) can greatly assist with this. Both trail boss and tail gunner should have CB's.
The trail boss should also make sure someone is doing the all-important trip report after the trip. Pictures (and video footage) on official runs is highly encouraged. Anyone can be trail boss and it is easy to do, assuming you are prepared.
Having said all that, if you'd like to volunteer to be a trail boss for one of offical runs (even if it is months in the future), please drop me an email and I'll sign you up for that date. We are always looking for new and good trails, so I encourage everyone to do the "seek and ye shall find" thing.
Finally, due to the size of our club, the potential exists for having multiple runs on these official weekends. Historically we haven't done that, but now that we are quite large, this makes more sense. The trail bosses should consider this possibility and break into multiple groups (each with its own trail boss) if the numbers get too large.
Trail Bosses play the most important role within the Oregon BushHackers. Without Trail Bosses, we would be nothing more than an email list. It is therefore important we treat those who volunteer for trail boss duty with the utmost care. Praise, pats on the back and simple thank you's go a long way towards keep those who lead us happy. While feedback is always welcome on a trail bosses performance, please keep it constructive. If you think you can do it better, then volunteer to lead a trip!
Members can assist the trail boss by following his or her directions. The trail boss should insist we follow Tread Lightly! principles. The trail boss will also attempt to keep the group together, call lunch, appoint a tail gunner, etc. By keeping the vehicle in front and in back of you in sight, this will assist the trail boss. Get on the CB if the group gets too spread-out.
Do not depart from the group or try a trail the trail boss is not prepared to try without asking the trail boss first. The trail boss is trying to keep the group together, but they need your support. If the trail boss determines a particular trail should not be attempted (not Treading Lightly!, too much risk of getting entire group stuck, etc.), please respect the Trail Bosses decision.
Being a trail boss is not an easy task. Some people do not have the appropriate skills. As one who had lead many trips for this group, I can also say that being a trail boss adds to your stress level. You are trying to keep a bunch of people happy. Members should remember this, and remember that our goal is for everyone to have fun - even the trail boss.