Mike and Robin McGuire, 2015 Volunteers of the Year

Mike and Robin McGuire
Mike and Robin McGuire

If you have spent any time volunteering on trail work in the Angeles National Forest, you have most likely met “The McGuires.”

Mike and Robin McGuire are active members of both MWBA & CORBA and are a great example for all of us to follow. Their smiles and hard work have been present on trail workdays for decades. “The McGuires'” positive attitude has been a spark to encourage many new volunteers.

This year, Mike and Robin were given the 2015 USFS Volunteer of the Year award for the Angeles National Forest.

This is a very proud moment for our community. Mike and Robin are the first mountain bike volunteers to be recognized by the USFS for service in the Angeles National Forest.

Mike began mountain biking in 1985 and Robin joined him in 1990.

Despite early mountain bikes being heavy tanks with weak brakes, Mike and Robin immediately realized riding a bike in the forest was â€œthe best thing EVER.”

Mike and Robin McGuire’s enthusiasm is contagious. They are fantastic at motivating riders to join trail workdays and are commonly beckoned by Robin’s promise of “homemade” cookies.

MikeRobinSmokeyBeing on their bikes in nature has strengthened “The McGuires'” love of the forest. Their many mountain bike friends have developed into their true family.

“The McGuires” organize many group rides throughout the year and head to locations out of town to enjoy different trails. The Rim Trail around Lake Tahoe tops their list of favorite places. As they love the entire Angeles National Forest, it’s hard for “The McGuires” to name their favorite spots. However, their beloved trails include the Silver Moccasin, the Gabrielino and Strawberry Peak.

Mike and Robin are also active members of the Over the Bars Mountain Bike Club which has weekly rides all over the Los Angeles area. The varied group of riders is one of the most welcoming and generous mountain bike clubs in the area. Many of the members have earned BFF status with Robin.

Mike and Robin started volunteering for trail work in 1989 alongside Alan Armstrong and other early MWBA volunteers.

With MWBA, they worked on the Ken Burton trail, El Prieto, Silver Moccasin, the Gabrielino trail, and the Strawberry Peak loop. When Ken Burton was first built, they were able to drive up the fire road with tools and supplies. “The McGuires” have spent many of their wedding anniversaries and Thanksgiving days working on trails in the Angeles National Forest.

At Inspiration Point renewing their wedding vows.
45 years of marriage, at Inspiration Point renewing their wedding vows.

In March 2015, Mike and Robin renewed wedding vows on their 45th anniversary at Inspiration Point above Echo Mountain.

Over 40 mountain biking friends pedaled up the Mt. Lowe Railway to witness and Steve Messer officiated their ceremony. Robin told me, “It was the best day. To have the ceremony in our forest with our friends was a dream come true. Mikie & I never had a ‘real’ wedding. We had just gone downtown before a judge. It really was the best day.”

In 1996, “The McGuires” presented the idea of a Mountain Bike Patrol to USFS District Ranger Terri Ellis.

Ellis was a supporter of MWBA and was essential in the planning and dedication of the Ken Burton trail. The Angeles National Forest Mountain Bike Patrol is an extra set of eyes and ears for the Forest Service. Mike and Robin ride regularly with USFS uniforms to patrol both popular areas and the high country. They educate other mountain bikers on trail courtesy and have also smothered many abandoned campfires left by irresponsible campers. The Mountain Bike Patrol has been a great asset to the USFS by reporting trail conditions and educating forest users.

Mike clearing a fallen tree in the Arroyo Seco
Mike clearing a fallen tree in the Arroyo Seco. Photo by Peyton Skelton

In 2001, Mike McGuire was trained and certified as a USFS Volunteer Sawyer.

A USFS Sawyer is a skilled chainsaw operator who can safely cut and remove fallen trees from forest trails. Ranger Linda Winkler and USFS Firefighter Greg Stenmo provided his initial training. When Mike started out, The California Trails User Coalition (CTUC) donated a saw for Mike to use. Today, Mike continues his volunteer sawyer work with CORBA’s Steve Messer and MWBA’s Mitch Marich, Brad Benam, and Erik Hillard.

Robin is “The Supervisor,” taking photos and making sure the sawyers stay hydrated and fed with “homemade” muffins, sandwiches and cookies.

Mike, Erik, Steve, & Robin on a chainsaw day in the ANF. (Photo by Peyton Skelton)
Mike, Erik, Steve, & Robin on a chainsaw day in the ANF. Photo by Peyton Skelton

Both CORBA and MWBA funding supports the sawyer program with chainsaws, safety equipment and maintenance costs. Together, the group has spent countless hours removing trees blocking trails. Fallen trees on El Prieto and Sunset Ridge have been removed promptly due in part to Mike’s dedication to weekday trail work. In 2015, CORBA and MWBA removed 100s of fallen trees in the Charlton Flat, Mt. Vetter area that was ravaged during the Station Fire.

“The McGuires” love the Angeles National Forest. Robin says, “When you give back to the forest it really makes you appreciate the ride. And hearing thank yous from appreciative trail users feels so good!”

Mike and Robin representing USFS MTB Patrol in a local parade
Mike and Robin representing USFS MTB Patrol in a local parade

Mike and Robin have also represented mountain bikers and USFS volunteers in local parades.  The Montrose Christmas parade and the La Cañada Memorial Day parade have given them ample time to hang out with their pal Smokey The Bear.

Mount Wilson Bicycling Association is proud to have “The McGuires” in our membership ranks and our forest is lucky to have such dedicated volunteers working towards its improvement and preservation.

One comment

  1. Hello my name is Steven Beltran. I first off have to say, everyone participating in volunteering on keeping all trails safe, fun, and clean are absolutely awesome! I enjoy mtn biking on the trails and seeing everyone participating and helping each other out, you’re all good people, friends and I’m sure some can be considered family! You’re all a huge inspiration to me and my friends I have come along with me to experience the fun trails, wildlife and nature at its finest and I assure you it’s never a dull moment. I couldn’t say thank you enough on how much I appreciate all the MWBA does for everyone to enjoy while out on the trails. You’re all awesome!!

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