The first session of the inaugural Trail Watch Academy is set for Tuesday, and will train people who already have their CPR and first aid certification on how to participate in the new program.
Preston Pooser, director of Woodstock Parks and Recreation, said with recent incidents on trails in other areas in mind, the program was created as a proactive measure to keep the trails safe for everyone.
With multiple trails in the Greenprints Trail network completed, and many more in the process of planning or building, Pooser said it’s a good idea to start thinking about additional security.
Pooser said the Parks and Recreation staff now monitors the trails on weekdays and during special events, and Woodstock Police and Fire departments patrol the trails throughout the week.
But, he said, having a volunteer Trail Watch Program will promote safety and appropriate trail use by everyone who uses the city’s trails.
Pooser said the program is like a “neighborhood watch for our trails,” adding the program would be more eyes and ears on the trail.
The volunteers would be charged with reporting safety hazards or suspicious activity, and assisting trail users in need.
Pooser said volunteers will be identified with a brightly colored vest or T-shirt and a city-issued identification card.
He was clear volunteers would not be asked to intervene in potentially dangerous situations, only to report them to authorities.
To participate in the program, volunteers must be 18 years old or over and attend the proper Trail Watch Academy session.
Training sessions will be offered quarterly, and it will focus on the program’s policies and procedures, patrol techniques and communication with emergency officials.
The first session Tuesday is from 7 to 9 p.m. A second session will be Sept. 6, and includes the full certification process for CPR and first aid, as well as the Trail Watch Program orientation and training.
First Aid/CPR certification is required to be an active Trail Watch volunteer. The training is free for volunteers and those with a certification can satisfy the requirement by providing a copy of the certification card.
For more information and to fill out an online application for the program, visit www.woodstockparksandrec.com and click on “Trail System” in the left menu column.