Northwest Trail Alliance launches all-new Trail Development Partnership Program; applies for grant for trail building machine
6/3/2011 UPDATE: NWTA's ST240 rolled out of the factory today! Delivered just in time for the Operator training happening this weekend at Stub Stewart State Park as part of the State Parks / National Trails Day events. Main page about TDPP is at http://nw-trail.org/TDPP, or click Resources > Trail Dev Partnership on main menu.
If successful, a January 2010 grant application for a brand new single track building machine will form the nucleus of a new trail building partnership between Northwest Trail Alliance and more than a dozen government agencies and mountain biking organizations in NW Oregon and SW Washington. The Single Track ST240, built specifically for trail construction, comes with a price tag of $94,000 (including accessories, closed trailer, and operator training), but the majority of the funds would be covered by the grant from Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD), which would be awarded in May 2010. By regulation, 20 percent of the cost of the project must come from other sources, and Northwest Trail Alliance project lead Joe Rykowski hopes donations from business supporters will help make up for a good chunk of that sum.
"I believe we need to do more to prove we are a resource dedicated to building the trails we want to ride - not simply asking land managers to build trails for us,” says Rykowski. Northwest Trail Alliance’s board green-lighted Portland-area trail builder Rykowski’s proposal in October. According to Rykowski, partnerships will form the other component of the program. Already, he has gathered letters of support from the BLM and Oregon Parks and Recreation, and envisions an arrangement whereby the machine and trail building expertise will be shared amongst a score of regional agencies and mountain biking organizations.
The ST240 was designed and built by a local Oregon trail builder (singletracktools.com) and is manufactured at an Oregon facility which has been building mechanized equipment for over 20 years. The ST240 has 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 single track-maker’s dream that should save time and money on any trail building project.
Skilled use of equipment during construction minimizes cleanup and handwork for final finish, which means that resources can be allocated to handle on-going maintenance (since construction time reduced) and it minimizes site impact during construction because teams are on site for shorter time. It also allows volunteers to focus on the less arduous aspects of trail construction - i.e. heavy lifting of soil - which should foster more volunteer effort overall. Perhaps most importantly, from a partnership standpoint, the ST240 gives the Northwest Trail Alliance an asset and skilled labor that can be leveraged as “matching” on some project funding. The bottom line, says Rykowski, is that “it will help put more mountain biking trails on the ground sooner, and allow trail build volunteers to focus on tasks other than trail benching by hand.”
The ST240 would be stored at secure locations on property either owned by program partners or leased by the Northwest Trail Alliance – both the BLM and Oregon Parks and Recreation have indicated that storage is available. The Northwest Trail Alliance will create a centralized web site for program partners where partners can reserve equipment as well as take initial online operator certification courses.
The next step is a presentation to the OPRD Grant Review Board in March. In the meantime, Northwest Trail Alliance is stepping up its efforts to raise the $12,000 that won’t be covered by the grant. If you or your business are interested in making a financial contributing to the program, please contact Kris Schamp (email@example.com) for more details.
Start-up of Trail Development Partnership Program
This was the big idea which includes purchase of trail construction equipment. NW Trail Alliance has a mission to aid with construction of mountain biking facilities in the region. How best to achieve that other than by acquiring necessary tools and training for committed trail builders? A network of agencies and other trail building groups in the region who could tap into available resources of NWTA would be a good thing... And that's just want the board decided to pursue.
2010-2011 will be a pilot phase for this new program. We've already reached out to couple of key stakeholders/land managers who are interested in being part of this project. There will be two land management agencies initially involved in this partnership as well as two local trail building volunteer groups. The pilot will include:
* training of ST240 Operators (in two separate 5-person training sessions to be hosted by Single Track LLC) - One person from each organization involved has already been selected to take part in the operator training, and it is up to that person to choose another person within their organization to take part in the second training.
* development of a dedicated section of nw-trail.org <http://nw-trail.org> for management of the equipment (information, education, asset reservation, etc)
* leasing staging/storage areas in vacinity of Portland metro
* stakeholder input/feedback - to improve processes and help facilitate next phase of trail partnership program (scoping up to include additional land management partners and trail volunteer groups)
How can you help/interested in taking an active role in this exciting opportunity which is central to NW Trail Alliance's ongoing mission? We're seeking a DIRECTOR to lead the Trail Development Partnership Program. Interested candidates should contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.