Tuesday, October 25, 2011

This just can't be allowed to stand...

In my previous post, I suggested that the organizers of the Secret-Lamoille Trail project look to the Nevada Division of Forestry for project labor, since they do a great job for significantly less money than what the project is paying for GBI. One of the commenters on my previous post replied:
NDF is not any better at building trails than USFS or GBI. A community-trained crew would be even worse. I have seen GBI and NDF projects across the state and GBI always has done a much better job and had less environmental impact. NDF is just as expensive as GBI now.

Just about everything in that poster's response was flat-out wrong, but this one I see no point in letting stand.

The Nevada Division of Forestry will hire out ten-man crews, complete with tools, transportation, supervision, their own food and drink, etc. for about $850/day. For projects like this one, they'll do it for half that price, with the other half going towards grant matching. In other words, you get a supervised, equipped, self-contained crew for about $425/day. Since these guys earn the right to do projects like this, they're darned happy to be out there and work their butts off.

Simple cost comparison - $2550 for six work days from adult men, with another $2550 going towards grant matching, vs. $15,000 for six work days from GBI's kids. You do the math.

NDF is local, and they're part of this community. Many of the folks on their crews are locals, too. Opportunities like this benefit the community in myriad ways, as well as getting the trail built for a reasonable cost. The money saved using NDF crews could be and should be used to bring on a professional trail builder who can provide direct, constant, on-the-ground supervision to make sure that NDF is building the trail to standard. And, while he's at it, said professional can train local volunteer crews how to build trail, too. That would give our local community a talent base to maintain this trail down the road, as well as to work on new trails elsewhere in the area.

Win - win - win - win - win.

Here are photos of NDF crews that came out this summer to build trail up at SnoBowl. These guys kick ass in all respects. That project would be going better if we'd had the opportunity to train local trail builders on the Secret-Lamoille Trail Project, as was originally envisioned. Right now we have a lot of enthusiasm but not a lot of on-the-ground experience from our volunteers. Just imagine what a group of experienced local trail-building volunteers could accomplish!


  1. Are our friends from Great basin Institute returning in the Summer of 2012 to push the Lamoille-Secret trail further along? Is anybody else, or is this construction halted for the time being?

  2. Mark Kimbrough, the hack running the show for GBI, gave an update at the trail open house the USFS and NNSG hosted last fall. He said that they had enough money to push forward for a while next summer and talked about using helicopters (!) to carry in building materials. I obviously wasn't there but some friends of mine were. They couldn't believe what they were hearing.

    They are out of money as of this year, and are clearly are going to have to find more, especially if they want to keep spending it like drunken sailors. Helicopters, I ask you...