With a few practiced motions, the forestry worker Reto Amrein stores his axe in the specially-designed bracket on the side of the Sprinter 4x4 and takes off his orange helmet. Then he sits down on the bench seat in the back of the van where the team waits for the operations manager. It has just begun to drizzle in Lucerne's forests so the foresters simply decided to have lunch in their vehicle today. "The Sprinter is also our team bus", says Stefan Niklaus. "The seats can be easily turned around so that we can all face each other."
The all-wheel drive van not only has enough space for up to five people, but also for the vast range of equipment that the Swiss forestry workers need to care for the forests. When the weather decides to make life difficult for the men from the Lucerne City Forestry Office, a few minutes of warm and dry are worth their weight in gold for the head forester Reto Amrein, Stefan Niklaus and their colleagues.
The operations and management department of the Lucerne corporation, which includes Amrein and the men from the Lucerne City Forestry Office, is responsible for 1,700 hectares of forest. "Our motto is: caring for the forest is caring for all", says Reto Amrein. The Swiss forestry worker and his colleagues love working close with nature. That is why they set off to work in high spirits every day. Rain cannot stop the forestry workers. "We all have a true passion for this job", emphasizes the operations manager. When looking for the right vehicle, the forestry workers quickly decided on the Sprinter 319 BT KA/S 4x4, the team's newest member. Their work takes them as high as the tree line and that is why they need a reliable partner, explains the forester Res Niederberger. Not every van is capable of handling the complex topology of this mountain region. But it is no problem for the Mercedes-Benz all-wheel drive.
Our motto is: caring for the forest is caring for all.
Thanks to its all-terrain capabilities, the Sprinter is ideal and distinguished by its comfortable handling, maneuverability and ground clearance, says Niederberger. "However, the three tonne towing load was one of the most important reasons for our decision", emphasizes the forester Niederberger. Reto Amrein adds that most forestry offices still rely on pickups. "We also used to drive a pick-up. However, we could not protect the valuable or, in some cases, dangerous material against theft or the weather and we did not have a warm and dry place to take a break", explains the head forester and praises the Sprinter 4x4's "very high safety standards". "We have a very demanding job", says Amrein. "You do not realize just how exceptional the Sprinter is until you work with it." Res Niederberger adds: "No other brand offers such a top package tailored to our industry's needs. Mercedes-Benz provides true added value in comparison to the competition."
Photos: Robert Aebli