The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has named Doug Frericks, an ATV safety coordinator and instructor in Silver Bay, as the 2018 ATV safety instructor of the year.
A life-long recreational vehicle operator, Frericks has a keen understanding of the ATV trails and riding opportunities around Silver Bay. He grew up in the area, but when he returned five years ago to serve as the city’s police chief, Frericks realized quickly there wasn’t a program to teach riders about safe ATV operation. In short order, he recruited other volunteer instructors and worked with his local DNR Enforcement Division conservation officer and regional training officer to make classes available.
"Chief Frericks has filled a valuable role in a community with many ATV enthusiasts, but that lacked an ATV safety program," said CO David Schottenbauer, who patrols the Silver Bay area and nominated Frericks for the award. "His leadership paired with his knowledge of the community and needs of the area has fostered strong buy-in from the public."
Frericks leads much of the instruction during ATV safety classes and also provides his personal ATVs for use during the field-exercise portion of safety training. In addition, he leads the snowmobile safety program in the area and has encouraged other law enforcement officers to become instructors. One officer, for example, is working to set up a firearms safety class in Silver Bay.
"As the local conservation officer, I could not be more grateful for his commitment and dedication to the DNR’s safety programs and our role in ensuring safe recreational use of our vast natural resources," Schottenbauer said.
DNR conservation officers work closely with the nearly 1,000 volunteer ATV safety instructors throughout the state who deliver ATV safety training certification. For details on safety courses and training, see mndnr.gov/safety/vehicle/atv/index.html. For more information on ATV regulations in the state, see mndnr.gov/regulations/ohv/index.html.