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In the Wilds of the Khamar Daban (project is completed)

Timeline for this project: July 26 - August 8, 2017 (14 days)

Project Location: The Baikal National Nature Reserve, in the Osinovka River Basin, Buryatia

The long-term goal of this project is: The construction of a trekking trail along the Osinovka River Valley.

Project scope of work: Clearing of the trail corridor (fallen trees and dwarf pine removal). Soil removal for creating a new section of the trail, building of retaining walls. Existing trail service.

There will be a crew leader who helps manage all of the volunteers at the work-site. She or he will be joined by an interpreter, who will not only ensure smooth communication amongst all of the participants, but also will help run our after-hours cultural programs for the group.

Depending on weather conditions and the wishes of our volunteers, the crew leader has the right to change the work schedule. The average time for working each day is 6 hours, with a break for lunch.

Accommodation and meals: Volunteers will be asked to set up a general campsite near to the place of work. The crew leader will also help create a work schedule that gives participants various tasks related to clean-up, as well as camp fire and meal preparation. The GBT will come to the camp with two weeks worth of food and other supplies. It also will provide all the necessary work equipment, cooking and eating utensils, tools, and a full complement of two-person tents.

There will be no hot showers on-site. But you will be able to heat up water to bathe with a wash-cloth. Or you can choose to take a dip in the refreshingly brisk waters Osinovka river.

Please see one of our sample menu of food.

Also please note that each participant will be asked to carry their own belongings, along with a share of our tools, equipment, and food products, over to the project site - a distance of 15 km (~9 miles).

This project cannot literally be called a Baikal shoreline project, since the permanent camp will be set up some 14 km (~9 miles) from the lake. Nevertheless, this should not be seen as a disadvantage for our volunteers since the camp will be set up in a charming glade, away from the predominant Baikal winds. Plus, much of the work that we will be doing will be set right along the Osinovka River.

Days off: During our days off we will walk down to the local village of Tankhoi, and visit the ethnographic museum with its Buryat yurts and Evenk wooden lean-tos. At the museum we will learn a lot about the local native cultures, and at the new Reserve Visitor Centre at Tankhoi we will discover more about the natural world that surrounds us. Afterwards we will head down to Baikal for a swim in the lake, followed by a warm Russian sauna to top off the day.

Project work-load: Every day we will be hiking to the trail site, often carrying our trail-building tools along the way (mostly shovels and pickaxes). We will also need to move some heavy logs and rocks and take on other similarly laborious tasks. Please note that you will be expected to hike in and out of the site with your own backpacks, carrying your personal belongings along with all of our trail tools and food items.

Please note Please note that we ask you to bring a larger back-pack that holds at least 70 liters of material. Changes in the local climate make it necessary for you to bring a rain jacket, a warm pullover or sweater, and long pants. Also please bring hiking boots that can withstand rain and muddy conditions.

We suggest that you take the time to review our list of required equipment that we strongly recommend to bring.

Also please be sure to carefully read the FAQ and information concerning ticks.

The gathering point at the beginning of the project will be the city of Irkutsk. We will be ready to meet you at 9AM on July 26th at our GBT headquarters. Our advice is for you to arrive in the city no later than the evening of the 25th, so that you will be on time for our morning meeting the next day. We will reserve mini-vans to take you over to the village of Tankhoy, where the project will take place. Tankhoy is about 230km (143 miles) from Irkutsk, or about 4 hours by car.

The village of Tankhoy was once a hub for the Trans-Baikal Railway. This is where locals would often meet trains by boating (or in winter, by skiing) across the lake.

Project Cost: The overall fee for joining this project—covering all costs for registration, food, and local transportation, as well as for accommodation in a hostel here in Irkutsk on the last day of the project (on the night of August 8)—will be 25,000 rubles.

Due to the strong demand to participate in our GBT projects, we suggest that you book a place on this project by sending in a 20% (or US $80) non-refundable deposit at your convenience. This amount will be counted as part of the total project fee. It covers the cost of your visa invitation, project preparation, the purchase of all necessary supplies and administrative expenses. Payment information can be downloaded here.

The remainder of the fees will be due on your arrival. Please remember that there are a very limited number of places available for this project!


*Please take the time to fill out an application once you are 100% sure that you will want to participate in this fun project.

*Please also note that, if you do not receive an immediate reply from us within a week—or if you have any other questions about participating in this project—you can connect with us directly via the following e-mail address: international-volunteers@greatbaikaltrail.org.