Organizing the work- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Organizing the work

    Looking for some quick advice, and also some for the long term. First trail bee this evening. Out of 20 people whom I asked to help, it looks like six will actually show. It sounds like the people leading the work will also have on the order of a half dozen people show up. So maybe a dozen altogether.

    How do we organize the work on the ground? Let's say we demarcate a 250 foot stretch that we want to get done today. Say that we distribute the dozen or so of us workers along that stretch. Each person gets 20 feet to rake and clear. Is that a reasonable approach?

    I'm very concerned that we respect people's time and give them meaningful work so that they have something to point to and say "I did that" when the work bee is ended.

    Tools. I know we don't have our act together on the tool front. All we will have this first evening is a hodgepodge of whatever people can grab from their garden shed. I am going to watch this evening and see what is needed, and try to order some tools for next week's effort. I can't order a dozen of anything, but I can pry loose money for a few fire rakes. I've recruited a few high-school kids to help, and I will make sure they, at least, have the proper tools.

    What about an ending time? Do you typically have a sharp quitting time? People live very scheduled lives. I am wondering whether we should specify a quitting time rather than leaving the duration open-ended.

  2. #2
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    we usually set out a 3 or 4 folks per 50 yards.. each one working the tool that fits their ability and strength...and follow along...loppers and pruners out ahead...then raking leaves and duff uphill. firerake, pulaski downhill,, mcleod, hoe downhill, etc... trade off the pulaski with another if doing a lot of benching. once the work crew gets into sync, people will gravitate to what they do well, and what they enjoy... usually one or two hang back to add the finishing touches..having a "hard stop" allows for people to talk and enjoy their work as they walk back, food and ride after is always a plus. those who have the time and want to keep working will. but I think at least making a stop time allows people to better plan the rest of their day.

    if you have newbies ,, make sure they are aware of the "circle of death for the tool" and what tools are for what job... and I am a safety nut,, but to always ask permission before trying to walk past someone who is working...

    I am sure many more responses.. if you have mcleods and pulaskis make sure those that use them know how to use them smartly.... too vigorous disturbing of underlying mineral soil is unnecessary and will often create the need for artificial compaction afterwards.. the soil has been sitting there for centuries,, no reason to disturb the underlying soil anymore than necessary..

    if the trail is rideable... make sure you finish what you start so you don't create a hazzard.. if it's still closed... skip the first 30 yards where it connects up, so you don't get people trying it out before it's ready.

  3. #3
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    Johnathan,

    See separate post on your question on Rogue Hoe's. Since you are tight on dollars I would skip buying the fire rakes and put money into pulaski's and RH's. People will bring leaf and garden rakes from their garage which can be used to remove first layer leaves/organics. However, few are likely to show up with mattock's, pulaski's or Rogue Hoes which are really the work horse tools for trail building.

  4. #4
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    Thanks TY. Yes, after this evening, I agree. I'll be buying a bunch of the Rogue Hoes. We don't need Pulaski's yet, I don't think. I've never really found them useful at all. You can't really get a good swing with one without stabbing yourself in the back.

  5. #5
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    Is this a brand new trail system? Or maintance?

    I have been on a committee for a brand new trail system. This is my first time designing a trail system. The committe has rough cut, and flagged the trails. Saturday we had our first official trail cutting day. We had a 3 mile loop we were focused on. We had 20 people including the committe members. We had 4 teams of roughly 4 -5 people. We had teams placed on section of trail heading towards each other.

    I'm in Florida and we do not have many hills, more thick brush to deal with. Hedgers, loppers, and blowers work great!! I also agree withother comments people will work towards the strengths.

    We got about 1.5-1.8 miles cut in 4 hours.

    We also had maps and letterings A, B, C, D, E. we placed stakes with those letters by entery points to the trail. Assign teams a letter. This worked very well. We did not provide tools, other than what we had in our garages, but advised people to bring what they had.
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by JMHZ2401 View Post
    Is this a brand new trail system? Or maintance?
    It is brand new. I'm not formally in any leadership role. I'm just a guy who wants a trail and has busted his butt recruiting volunteers and buying tools and generally trying to get behind the effort. (Out of 15 people on Day 1, seven were people whom I recruited).

    We had 4 teams of roughly 4 -5 people. We had teams placed on section of trail heading towards each other.
    That's a good idea, and I might suggest it as we get more organized.

    We did not provide tools, other than what we had in our garages, but advised people to bring what they had.
    Same thing here. I did order four Rogue Hoes after seeing how helpful they would be. Given our terrain and ground, yard rakes and some good way to cut bench are mostly all we need. I bought four of the things because I want people whom I recruit, especially the high-school kids, to have good tools and be able to do meaningful work.

  7. #7
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    Here is what we do. This was for a day we expected 120 volunteers and got 180. Even on a small day of 30-50 volunteers, the regional crew leader / liason at the area will still give each crew leader a sheet with work assignments, tools recommended, optimum number of folks per crew, and so on.
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  8. #8
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    Wow!!! 30-50 are great ,but 180 . We,by that I mean two of us are the only ones to show for one of the two builds. We constructed about 50' trail bench cut into pretty steep hillside w/rock wall on downhill side and about and roughly constructed a 25' rock bridge over a troubled area. I can't imagine how much we could get done with that amount of help.
    We got about 900' of hard trail cut in about 6 days of work.
    How much do you get done with that amount of help say on a new trail?

  9. #9
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    Where is this trail located? I am here in SWFL and would love to help out next work day.

  10. #10
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    Crew leaders are a good idea for organizing work, even if you only have a couple to work with the new people. Fastest way to lose new volunteers is to have their first experience consist of feeling lost and left out.

    One safety suggestion is to rotate people between the various types of work. Doing the same task all day can leave a volunteer with an overuse injury. Our goal is to have the volunteers sore at the end of the work day, just not all of it in any one spot.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by redd4573 View Post
    Wow!!! 30-50 are great ,but 180 . We,by that I mean two of us are the only ones to show for one of the two builds. We constructed about 50' trail bench cut into pretty steep hillside w/rock wall on downhill side and about and roughly constructed a 25' rock bridge over a troubled area. I can't imagine how much we could get done with that amount of help.
    We got about 900' of hard trail cut in about 6 days of work.
    How much do you get done with that amount of help say on a new trail?
    We have little rock, what there is is small and loose. We do have some serious chaparral brush, so we tend to pre brush the trail corridor. Given that, a crew of about 10-12 can generally bench about 100 - 300 feet in a four hour work day and have it 95% complete. Some finish work on the back slope and recover the edges with organics to make it look natural and we are done.

    Our biggest event of the year (of three big events over 150 volunteers) is Super Bowl Sunday, and this was our 25th year of doing them. We had 229 people signed up and maybe another 20-30 who came late and just caught up to a work crew. We are able to perform needed maintenance on about 7 miles of trail.
    "The physician heals, Nature makes well" - real fortune cookie

    CCCMB trail work for trail access - SLO, CA

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