Growing up in Wisconsin, Marvin Guzman came to love the outdoors and the freedom a dirt bike gave him to explore scenic trails. When he moved to Idaho with the Navy in 1989, that love only grew.
Eventually, a trail bike gave way to an all-terrain vehicle as Guzman settled into Idaho, and his family expanded to include his wife, Robin, and two children. His knowledge expanded as well, and he joined a local motorcycle organization to learn the trails and where to ride. All-terrain vehicles (ATVs) were just starting to gain popularity in the early 1990s and were much safer.
“Within a short time, I found multiple ATV riders, and we were out all over Idaho. Our family was getting a little bigger, so we bought two new Honda ATVs in 2004. We combined camping and trail riding, and our outdoor adventures grew from there,” Guzman said.
Today, Guzman is the project manager of the upcoming Core Internals Changeout (CIC) at INL’s Advanced Test Reactor.
Guzman has carried his project management experience into his outdoor hobby, working with various state and county entities to open trails and expand off-road terrain all over the area. His work culminated last summer with the official opening of the Caribou Loop Trail that encompasses more than 200 miles in eastern Idaho and western Wyoming. The trail is open to all types of outdoor enthusiasts from hikers and skiers to those who ride trail bikes and ATVs, including the wider side-by-side vehicles.
“My background as an INL project manager, love for outdoor activities, and over 25,000 miles of trail riding was a great fit for supporting the Caribou Loop Trail system, so I was deeply involved from the start,” Guzman said.
The project began in 2015 when Guzman was invited by Bonneville County Commissioner Dave Radford to attend a meeting with various entities interested in developing the trail. Guzman had helped create and served as president of Eagle Rock ATV.
“In 2006, my fellow ATV riders and I got together and formed the Eagle Rock ATV Association, and we worked directly with the local Forest Service to create and designate ATV trails,” Guzman recalled.
He was the president of the association for more than 10 years, and during that time, the group was involved in some events that changed trail riding in Idaho. The association collaborated with the state of Idaho when the registration of ATVs started. It worked with Idaho Parks and Recreation and the U.S. Forest Service to develop trail systems so that users could travel from trail to road and back to trail again.
When Guzman purchased a side-by-side vehicle in 2009 so he and Robin could ride together, he was instrumental in opening more trails to the wider vehicles. Eagle Rock ATV hosted an event at the Kelly Canyon ski lodge, inviting representatives from as far away as Boise to discuss allowing side-by-side vehicles on trails.
“The Forest Service representatives were not convinced until they took my 2008 Polaris RZR trail for a ride,” Guzman said. “I always carry a shovel, a chain saw and extra water in case of a fire, so the Forest Service land managers envisioned how the forest representatives could travel the forest with two people and take all their gear.”
The ability to cover a lot of back-country terrain is what Guzman enjoys most about his hobby and why he takes particular pride in the Caribou Loop Trail (www.cariboulooptrail.com).
With the cooperation of commissioners from Caribou County, Idaho, and Lincoln County, Wyoming; Forest Service representatives from the Caribou-Targhee and Bridger-Teton ranger districts; the Great Western Trail; and multiple Idaho and Wyoming recreational organizations, the Caribou Loop Committee was able to create a trail system with a 200-mile outside loop and many smaller loops for all users to enjoy.
One of the biggest roadblocks to completing the loop was a way to safely travel alongside or across Highway 34 by Soda Springs. The committee eventually decided to build a bridge that could accommodate larger 64-inch wide side-by-side off-road vehicles and applied for grants to design, build and install the new bridge. The bridge was placed in the fall of 2019. The trail to the bridge also accommodates wider vehicles.
Another roadblock was the COVID-19 pandemic. It delayed the grand opening ceremony for the trail for two months until it could be done safely last August.
Guzman’s work was rewarded when he was nominated for the INL Community Award in honor of his efforts on the Caribou Loop Trail and for supporting outdoor activities in Idaho and Wyoming.
Guzman arrived at ATR in March of 2012 to prepare for the CIC. This nine-month shutdown and changeout of the reactor core’s internal parts will be his biggest project yet.
CICs are typically performed at the ATR every eight to 10 years. The upcoming CIC is scheduled to begin in April 2021. Preparations began years ago with the purchase of major components.
“These components are in excess of $15 million and take many years to fabricate,” Guzman said. “After the major components are ordered, the rest of the project starts to take form with organizing the tools, and purchasing parts, supplies and rigging.”
“I’m very excited about CIC and look forward to ensuring the outage goes as smoothly as possible.”
Guzman will certainly find time to hit the trails as the CIC project proceeds. He said the advantage to trail riding is covering a lot of terrain.
“It’s nothing to put on 50 to 90 miles in a day. If you’re on a horse or a bicycle, you’re not going to do that.”
Hobbies are fulfilling, and fulfilled people make more productive employees. Hobbies unearth hidden skills, alleviate stress, unite you with others, and improve quality of life — all things that will help you function better at work. See other stories about Idaho National Lab employees.