ATV/motorized travel

Don Baccus dhogaza at
Sat Dec 19 15:59:11 EST 1998

In article <19981219135306.25534.00000981 at>,
Susan112 <susan112 at> wrote:

>We did do many of the things you said, our problem was turnout.  The workdays
>were well advertized by the local saddle club president and she got verbal
>committments from lots of people.  We scheduled Saturdays and prepared work and
>refreshments for the number she gave us but got too low a turnout to get much
>done.  I think it was 6 people for one day which we went ahead and worked and
>two for another which we cancelled because that wasn't enough for the tasks we
>had. ( A third one was rained out.)

Give the local saddle club president an additional volunteer task:
call everyone Friday and tell them, or leave messages, reminding
them of the next day's activities.  E-mail is really great for
reminders, too, for those who read their mail often.

Also, if this is a regular gig, it sometimes takes awhile for 
the habit to take hold among volunteers.  

When starting a volunteer-based work crew, it often seems at
first that it takes more effort to get the volunteers out than
to simply do the job oneself.  If the activity's structured
right, though, over time they'll get more reliable with less
ongoing effort on your park.

>This was frustrating as you can imagine and has turned me off to using
>volunteers for this type of work.

Yes, it can be frustrating.  Did you have the saddle club
president ask folks who committed, then didn't show up, why
they did so?  Feedback's important.  You might find out that
Saturday afternoon is easier for folks, for instance.

Or, you may learn that these folks don't really care and
are a worthless source of volunteers.

I'm not dismissing that possibility, just trying to convey
somethings I've learned that can help maximize the chance
of success!  You can do everything right, though, and still
have the effort fail if deep inside the folks aren't really
committed to helping.

>Usually it's anonymous vandalism,
>poaching, illegal root digging firewood theft etc. etc.

We (my Audubon chapter) run a 300+ acre sanctuary that
abuts a huge forest park in Portland, so I'm familiar
with these less-endearing traits of the public.  Sigh.

Unbelievably, our large office building on the site has
only been broken into a couple of times - the last time
I know of, someone stole a peregrine falcon!

>This was more face to
>face and thus even more of a disappointment, especially after all the energy
>and interest they showed in getting the trail in the first place.

If they showed energy and interest in getting the trail in the
first place, maybe they aren't beyond hope.  Your best bet
is probably to get the club's president to "own" the project
herself, i.e. get committed to success, so in her eyes the
failure of the club to come through becomes HER failure.  

- Don Baccus, Portland OR <dhogaza at>
  Nature photos, on-line guides, at

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