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The History of Colorado 4x4 Rescue & Recovery

Todd Bunger  | Published on 12/19/2017

 


For three years now, the Colorado back country has had the assistance of Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery.  After an incident on Red Cone trail in 2014, a Facebook group was formed to help unite the off-road community when a fellow wheeler in the back country is in need of assistance.  Since then, Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery has quickly developed and grown into an all volunteer

non-profit organization, with professional standards and practices.

 

From the early months, the number of recovery requests has grown slowly but steadily until 2017 when the calls coming to the organization significantly increased.  Initially, the group grew slowly with a friend telling a friend.  Most of the requests were simple in nature.  The group functioned as coordinated Good Samaritans.  In 2016, the group formed as a 501(c)(3) non-profit and professional practices were developed and implemented.  This changed how the organization was perceived, who chose to work with the group and who called the group for assistance.

 

In 2016, with a Board of Directors formed, the organization was able to do outreach to Government Organizations such as United States Forest Service (USFS), Sheriff’s Departments and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) as well as develop relationships with Stay The Trail and Tread Lightly.  They also caught the attention of a professional recovery skills trainer.

 

 

Some of these outreach efforts grew into professional relationships, especially with USFS and Sheriff Offices.  With a unique ability to reach deep into the back country with modified off-road vehicles, most with recovery winches and tools, the group could offer assistance in ways that no governmental agency could.  Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery helped fill a significant gap between tow agencies and Search and Rescue.  These developing relationships help take weight off of the Government agencies and thus has become a part of the fabric of Colorado back country emergency response.

 

With connections to Stay The Trail and Tread Lightly, CO 4x4 RnR also developed environmentally aware practices limiting damage done due to off-road emergencies and educating parties requesting assistance on environmentally sound practices.  The association formed has benefitted both organizations and the 4-wheel drive community but mostly it has helped with the mission of keeping 4x4 trails open through responsible land use.  

 

With increased exposure and professional relationships developing, CO 4x4 RnR asked for a volunteer team of dispatchers and established a 24 hour emergency line.  They also formed sub-committees to help coordinate public appearances and technological development. 

 



Remaining as an all volunteer non-profit depending almost entirely on donations, the organization has grown to be depended upon for back country vehicle based 4x4 responses.  In 2017, they also opened up the organization for paid memberships which gives members discounts in several commercial areas through affiliations such The Edge Automotive and Outer Limit Supply for first aid kits. 

 

Membership also gives volunteers access to progressing levels of recovery skills training through On Trail Training with Matt Balazs (I4WDTA).  This relationship with On Trail Training has helped the group further develop its professional standards and practices while maintaining an all volunteer staff. 

 

The volunteers of CO 4x4 RnR responded to approximately 100 recoveries in each of 2015 and 2016 with that number being easily surpassed in 2017.  Volunteers have worked all over the state and as high in elevation as 13,000 feet.  They have worked in dramatic snow and freezing temperatures.  They have also executed high country roll-overs and water recoveries. 

 

Volunteers have taken great pride in COLORADO 4X4 RECOVERY AND RECOVERY windshield banners and they are now known throughout the off-road community in Colorado.  Often times as recovery teams arrive on trail, other off roaders make way for the recovery team to pass as their mission and purpose are understood and respected. 

 

Colorado 4x4 Rescue and Recovery

We Recover the Rockies             

 

 



   
               
                
             
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