Here is a unique chance for you to visit the heart of Siberia, Lake Baikal. It’s your opportunity to invest in our collective future, and share in our efforts to protect our environment through the construction of a system of eco-trails around the deepest and oldest lake in the world.
What usually happens on a Great Baikal Trail project?
Each GBT trail-building project lasts 2 weeks. There are also short 8-days long camps. At the project camp, volunteers sleep in tents and prepare meals together over a central campfire. During the workday, volunteers might clear the way for a new trail, improve an existing trail, or build a campground or other structure, making sure that each trail is clean and up to our standards. Each project description includes specific chores listed in detail.
During the interim weekend and other free days of a project, volunteers might enjoy hikes, or trips to local sites and museums. These outings, and the trail projects themselves, are led by our crew leaders. Our leaders are trained in the design and construction of trails and the creation of backcountry campsites. Each group also will have a translator, a GBT staff person who not only ensures that the Russian and international volunteers can enjoy each other’s conversations, but is also responsible for the project’s cultural and entertainment programs. The two official languages on our projects are English and Russian.
What can I expect for each project?
• Each participant should be prepared for some serious physical exertion. In most projects, volunteers carry their own large backpacks a distance of several miles, to the work sites where they will be using heavy trail-building tools. This is why we generally require that our volunteers fall between the ages of 18 and 60 years old.
• We ask that you bring these personal belongings: a large BACKPACK, a sleeping bag and sleeping matt, a warm coat, sturdy but comfortable shoes (for several projects you will need waterproof shoes or boots), and a drinking cup/bowl and spoon.
• Participants travel, at their own expense, to the established meeting place for each project around Baikal (you will be informed about this meeting place long before the project starts).
Project fees: International volunteers are asked to pay a fee of 17000 rubles (about 380 USD or 305 Euro) (10000 rub for 8-days project). A currency converter can be found here: http://www.xe.com/ Participants may bring this fee with them and pay on site. This payment helps defray the costs of your meals while on the project. You will also be asked to pay for any travel from the original meeting place (usually in Irkutsk or Ulan-Ude) out to the trail-building site, and back.
For our part, we will supply all the necessary tools and equipment (i.e., tents, construction tools, campfire utensils such as dishes, pots and other gear, first aid kits, etc.). We will also organize each project for you, provide fully trained crew leaders and language interpreters, recruit all local and international volunteers, and purchase all food for meals on the project.
Finally, for all international volunteers, we will provide the invitations necessary for Russian travel visas if needed. You can read more about the visa application process here. We will also meet volunteers at the train station or airport of arrival here at Lake Baikal if they request it.
Please note: Project dates or locations are subject to change due to circumstances beyond our control, such as inclement weather, etc. If changes need to be made, or projects postponed, each volunteer will be notified well in advance of the project start date.