PICO RIVERA, Calif. — LA District Park Ranger Nicolas Figueroa led a daylong operations and safety training course on utility terrain vehicles to members of the district’s Operations and Maintenance Branch March 23 at the Whittier Narrows Dam area of operations in Pico Rivera, California.
The course, which is provided in accordance with Recreational Off-Highway Vehicle Association Basic Rider’s Course standards, requires participants to learn basic preventive maintenance checks and services, and demonstrate proficiency in negotiating a variety of maneuvers in a safe manner.
“The training is challenging, and it’s definitely something new, but we’ve got good instructors teaching us really well,” said Aaron Padin, who serves in the vegetation management crew on the Operations and Maintenance Branch team.
Padin, who joined the Corps in early March, said he’s eager to take on all the training opportunities the LA District offers.
“I’m definitely the type of person who loves to learn new things,” Padin said. “When I got hired on and they told me about there being a lot of training for different things, departments and areas in the Corps that we’d have to go through, I was excited about that.”
Figueroa led another course in November, which included providing training to five district park rangers, an LA District biologist and a Montebello police officer. Park rangers, first responders, and operations and maintenance personnel benefit from the use of UTVs because the vehicles enable them to reach remote and often difficult-to-traverse areas to perform their daily missions.
Alex Guzman, who serves on the fence maintenance crew with the Operations and Maintenance Branch, said the use of these vehicles can definitely make his job easier, and the course has given him greater trust in his own ability to handle one.
“I’m pretty comfortable with these vehicles, but now taking this course and knowing what to expect out of them gave me a lot more confidence to where I just want to be in it all the time now,” Guzman said. “What the course helps out a lot with is that you get to learn what’s on the machine, and what we can do and what we can’t do.”