What is the Equipment Co-Op Program?
NWTA’s Equipment Co-Op is designed to fulfill a critical part of our mission in creating, building and maintaining sustainable trails. Serving as an interface between public agencies and NWTA, this unique program is designed to:
- Make right tools available for building natural surface trails and facilities for shared-use by outdoor recreation users,
- Help partners stretch limited funds for trail building projects,
- Reduce volunteer burnout by introducing highly-efficient mechanized trail building tools to projects,
- Create interest in projects and increase NWTA member retention,
- Provide cross-trained expert resources to aid with project development and construction, and
- Ultimately, to put more miles of trail on the ground in a shorter amount of time for fewer dollars.
The Co-Op is used by public agencies, land managers and private or non-profit organizations to successfully complete construction and maintenance projects. The program can be custom-tailored to a wide range of projects including single-track trails, skills parks and pump tracks. In addition to expert project support, participants in the program can gain access to NWTA’s dedicated volunteers, a well-stocked tool inventory and to mechanized trail building equipment with trained operators.
Do you have active or pending Recreation Trails Program (RTP) project?
Most equipment available thru this co-op was acquired by NWTA using RTP grant funds, and therefore is available at very little cost when used on other RTP projects. It doesn’t count as matching on your grant project, however it would reduce the expense for lease of other equipment (plus we are much more flexible in logistics and make maintenance tools and fluids available as part of the co-op agreement). E-mail email@example.com if interested in stretching your project dollars!
How did it come about?
The Co-Op was the brainchild of Northwest Trail Alliance volunteer trail builder and former board member, Joe Rykowski. Recognizing the need for a formal framework to partner with public agencies on trail building projects, Joe designed the Co-Op in 2009 (originally called the “Trail Development Partnership Program” (TDPP)). Through his efforts with the program, NWTA has successfully obtained two Recreational Trails Grants from the Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department in 2010 and most recently in 2012 (with a third equipment grant pending for 2016). Each of these grants provided funding for the acquisition of the machines, trailers, and some tools for maintenance of equipment. Ongoing operation and maintenance are funded by Co-Op maintenance service charges to partners that make use of equipment or from general membership funds or sponsorship dollars.
What projects have benefited from the Co-Op program?
Northwest Trail Alliance has partnered with several public agencies to construct trails throughout the greater Portland region. Riding areas with trails constructed and maintained include Stub Stewart State Park (Oregon State Parks/NWTA), Hagg Lake (Washington County parks), easyClimb (Port of Cascade Locks), Syncline (US Forest Service), Silver Falls State Park (Oregon State Parks/SATA) and Sandy Ridge (BLM). We add new partnerships every year and the list of successfully completed projects continues to grow.
What tools are available?
NWTA stocks a range of trail building equipment including hand tools, power tools, signage, pop-up tents, and mechanized tools. Of particular interest to public agencies and other organizations are our mechanized trail building equipment. Mechanized tools available include a DitchWitch sk755 and a Singletrack Tools ST240. NWTA offers free use of equipment to qualified partners with a service charge to offset our insurance and equipment operating costs (keeping the machines in running condition). Projects may be eligible for grant funding – please contact NWTA co-op manager for more information on grant resources. Partners are eligible for credit towards rental of equipment in exchange for services rendered (volunteer operator training, fabrication work, equipment repair work, etc).
- DitchWitch sk755: This machine is designed for construction and support role tasks for wider shared-use paths on moderate grade slopes. With many available attachments, it can handle a wide-range of project tasks including the construction of pumptracks of varying sizes.
- Single Track Tools ST240: The ST240 is an Oregon-built machine specifically designed for construction of single-track trail. Features include a heavy duty grubbing bucket with rugged thumb, variable angled blade, computerized hydraulics which are full time radio controlled (operators can step away from machine on more hazardous terrain), variable width tread (from 24″ to 36″ inches), and massive Sauer-Danfoss direct drive wheel motors. In other words, it’s a singletrack-maker’s dream that will save time and money on any trail building project. Videos of the ST240 in action are available here.
- TRAFx Trail Counter System: Wireless trail counters for mountain bike/ATV as well as infrared counters for other trail users. The wireless sensors are housed inside waterproof case and get buried in trail or right next to trail. The counter detects metal objects passing within 3 feet and can be adjusted for sensitivity. Counts can be captured real-time, per minute, per hour, or per day and get downloaded to a data reader by a volunteer or staff resource. See http://www.trafx.net/ for full details on this system. Data captured can be uploaded to our trafx.net analytics site where various reports and graphs can be produced (or the data downloaded for use in Excel or other analytics tools). Here is actual data for Stub Stewart State Park for data captured from April 2015 – 2016 which compares north trailhead access to south:
How to become a partner and/or rent equipment
If you are interested in making use of co-op equipment, the first step is to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In your email, include a brief description of your project and the date(s) you need equipment. Once we’ve checked and determined equipment availability and have communicated with you about the project, we’ll work out the details of a rental agreement covering rates, transportation, conditions, and any other necessary information.