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The Trail to Sandy Bay (project is completed)

Project dates: August 10-23, 2017 (14 days in all)

Languages spoken on site: Russian and English

Project Site: Between the village of Bolshoye Goloustnoye and Sandy Bay in Pribaikalski National Park, Irkutskaya oblast`

The long-term goal of this project is: To help the Baikal parks promote sustainable and socially responsible eco-tourism around our region—principally by building and maintaining quality trails every summer.

The significance of this project: There was an older trail here that was recently damaged by a large fire. This last summer our Eco-Action volunteers began to restore this route, and cleared a corridor for a new trail. This pathway serves as the main connection between several settlements on the lake (there are no shoreline roads here). The area also attracts lots of tourists, many of whom rely on local tour guides and other residents to provide B&B accommodations, keepsake souvenirs, as well as food and supplies for the trail! So locals rely on the trail for business. And they also understand that the trail helps protect their environment by preventing hikers from wandering off and trampling and ruining sensitive habitats. At this point—because the local population realizes the importance of preserving nature and attracting more tourists—many lakeshore residents are starting to pay more attention to their environment.

Project scope of work:
Volunteers will be asked to continue clearing the trail corridor, and then start construction of a new section of trail that will also involve installation of interpretive signs and other improvements along the way.

There will be a crew leader who helps manage all 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 initial place of work. The crew-leader will also help create a work schedule that gives participants various tasks related to 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 eatiing utensils, tools, as well as 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 of Lake Baikal.

Please see one of our sample menu of food.

Days off: For this project we plan to take a hike over to Dry Lake (a rather unusual lake because it only has water in it about once every 4 years). We will also hike up nearby Holy Mountain, as well as take a famous Russian sauna, or banya.

Project work-load: Volunteers will help move our campsite some 2-3 km (less than 2 miles) during the project. You will also be asked to carry the equipment from one work-site to another, and then build the trail by using various shovels, pickaxes and other tools. Each participant will be expected to work as a team in moving large rocks and logs, and performing other physical tasks.

Please note that we ask that you bring a larger back-pack that holds at least 70 liters of material. The local climate is changeable, and may require a full selection of clothing and footwear. August can be rainy here at Baikal. So you should be prepared to change clothes with some regularity.

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 August 10th at our GBT headquarters. Our advice is for you to arrive in the city no later than the evening of the 9th, so that you will be on time for our morning meeting the next day. From Irkutsk we have reserved minivans to take the group down to village of Bolshoye Goloustnoye. The distance from Irkutsk to “B.G.” is about 122 km, or 75 miles. We expect this will take about 2.5 hours. From BG the national park staff will use one of their boats to ferry all the volunteers up to Cape Rogovik. This is where we will make camp and live and work for the ensuing two weeks.

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 23)—will be 26,000 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.