While we're waiting for the NEPA approval that will let us start work on the ground, we're making progress on other aspects of the project - namely, getting it paid for.
We're fortunate that a lot of folks are stepping forward to offer help with the project, and that's going to go a long ways towards helping us keep our costs down. Still, there is a lot of stuff that will have to be paid for, which means fundraising is a big part of the process.
Right now we're focusing on two areas for funding - grant funding and stimulus funding. The fact that we're so far along with the process is proving very helpful in the applications we're making. The grants are all structured a little differently, which means that we can use them for different pieces of the puzzle... for example, one grant will help us rebuild existing tread on the Secret-Lamoille Trail itself. Another grant will help us upgrade the neglected trails that this trail opens to public access, like the Talbot Canyon trail. Hopefully, we'll be able to get enough work done by volunteers to really reduce the need for this kind of funding. USFS staff time needs to be paid for, though, as do crew bosses and core trail crew. And that means we need to come with the cash.
Speaking of jobs, we are losing our very talented trail boss for the project and will need to replace her fairly quickly. If you know somebody who has good trail construction experience, who can manage both crews and volunteers effectively, who can work with trail designers to get good concepts on the ground, who can work with the agencies involved, who can make strong on-site decisions about the intricacies of trail construction... we want to talk to them. We will also have summer jobs available for folks who want to physically build the trail. Check out the Great Basin Institute website for information.
I have to say that I just love living in this town. About two nights ago a guy stopped me to be sure I let him know when we needed trail volunteers, that he'd love to help. He is a big snowmobiler but it never occurred to me that he'd be interested enough in trails to volunteer getting one built - especially one that's not open to motorized users. What a community! Whenever I get discouraged about how long this all takes, something like that happens. So cool.