Notes from Trailfairies Meeting

Hi Folks,

Thanks to everyone who came along to the very first (not in an informal out on the trails whilst digging type of way) Trailfairy meeting. We even had an agenda! Too much cake though (never thought i'd utter such words!).

Lots of useful chat and discussion was had. As you'll see in the notes below there are some changes ahoy for 2012. The main one is the switch to monthly full day volunteer sessions (rather than fortnightly half day sessions we've done previously). There'll still be the option to do half day sessions. The other main change is that we are going to create the opportunity (subject to approval from higher up in FCS) for volunteers to train up to become session leaders. Hopefully things will start happening in the latter half of 2012 and into 2013.

We've also got a follow up meeting pencilled in for Thu 17th May (7pm - 9pm) at the Peel Tower, Glentress to review how things are going. Hope you might be able to make it along (and help us get through the cake!).

cheers,

Andy (MTB Ranger)

Glentress Trailfairies Meeting Minutes
Sat 25th Feb 2012, 10am – 12pm

Review of 2011 Trailfairies sessions (Andy W)
o 21 Saturday sessions, average of 14 volunteers/session. ~1200 hrs of volunteering!
o 20 ‘fairies attended 5 or more sessions. 31 new volunteers.
o 4 sessions cancelled (1 due to weather). No Wed eve summer sessions.
o Work type: 9 sessions on maintenance: Wormhole and Ewok Village post felling ops repairs; Zoom or Bust de berming and trail realignments; Falla Brae and Dougie Bank de berming and drainage work; Magic Mushroom soft section resurface and drainage improvements. 7 sessions on trail rebuild: Pennels Vennel re route (ongoing). 4 sessions on course preparation for Glentress 7.
o All sessions led by FCS MTB Rangers.
o Trailfairy party organised/hosted by Rich. Trailfairy riding tops organised by Scott.
o Communication via Yahoo mailing list/Facebook page/website.

Volunteers thoughts on 2011 and current ‘fairy set up:
o Yahoo email list is best for announcements, but would useful to use the ‘invite’ feature on the Trailfairy Facebook page.
o Information about the Trailfairies is hard to find on www.7stanesmountainbiking.com
o Very useful to have a pre session email sent out in the week before the session. Acts as a reminder and also provide more info on what work is planned for the session. Yahoo list currently sends out a reminder 5 days before but this doesn’t usually have specific info on the upcoming session.
o Generally poor promotion of ‘fairies – lack of visibility on trails (e.g. banners, signage). Suggestions included: dedicated info board in Peel Café (who to upkeep?); signage at start of sections built or maintained by ‘fairies (“Built by the Trailfairies/Fixed by the Trailfairies”) or high contrast permanent tiles on the 7stanes waymarkers; vinyl banner for sessions to promote ‘fairy presence on trail.
o New run of Trailfairy T shirts needed! Suggest hi vis yellow so double up as PPE and/or a regular colour. Volunteers happy with current design. Funded from FCS or by volunteers themselves?
o Wide variation in numbers of volunteers at sessions (5-25) – would be useful to have back up plans to better accommodate larger turn outs.
o 2011 felt like there was a high proportion of sessions on trail maintenance
o Disappointment that larger new build/rebuild projects planned for 2011 didn’t happen (Lombard St reroute, Ewok Village relocation). Andy W explained the Castle Hill Nether Horsburgh land acquisition by FCS has meant these projects have been put on hold for now. Suggestion to lower expectations of what is actually achievable each year.

Trailfairy Proposal from Scott, Rich & Moray
o Purpose: To explore the opportunities available to enable volunteer members of the Trailfairies (the Group) to play a greater role in the organisation and running of the Groups’ activities and provide greater support to the MTB Ranger with the design and build of new trail developments and trail maintenance.
Feedback from volunteers:
o Issue of financing a more autonomous group – how? Up front membership fees suggested, but generally felt the current drop in nature (i.e not having to sign up beforehand for sessions) should be maintained.
o Greater autonomy may require the group to arrange annual 3rd party liability insurance. Insurance via BTCV currently costs the TIMBER (mtb trailbuilding) group at Thetford Forest ~£300 p.a. Suggested that FCS could subsidise this and that it would represent good value for money given volunteers put in over 1000 hrs of time on the trails per year.
o If an autonomous group would volunteers be able to use FCS tools, storage, materials (e.g. stone for trail surfacing)? Andy W suggested volunteers get in touch with other well established groups such as SingleTraction, Chase Trails to see what arrangements they have with FC.
o What potential is there for volunteer Trailfairy Leaders?

Greater volunteer input – TIMBER group
Adam Godwin (Recreation Forester) was due to look at the TIMBER group from Thetford where he previously worked. Unfortunately Adam was called away to a family emergency and is very sorry he couldn’t make the meeting.

2012 & 2013 Trailfairies – What’s Feasible?

Andy W explained that he had discussed the Trailfairies with his Line Manager (Adam) and given the current stretched FCS staff resource at Glentress (new Peel Centre opening in 2011, additional demands on Ranger time, member of Rec staff off on long term sick leave) this is what FCS could propose for 2012:
o Switch to monthly sessions - on last Saturday of every month (except March session)
o Full day session (9am – 4pm). Why? – more efficient use of time on session day’s/stretched staff resource.
o Volunteers could do full session or half day session (morn or aft). Volunteers to bring own lunches if doing full day session.
o Each half day session counts as ‘a session’. Volunteers able to attend 5 or more sessions, as a thank you will receive complementary parking permit for 2013.
o FCS led sessions but aim by Aug/Sep - volunteers to take lead at sessions with MTB Ranger supporting (so volunteers can develop supervisory experience)
o MTB Ranger to work on training/paperwork requirements for volunteers to able to lead (Feb – July).
o Proposed 2012 Session Dates: 24th Mar; 28th Apr; 26th May; 30th Jun; 28th Jul; 25th Aug; 29th Sep; 27th Oct; 24th Nov;

Feedback from Volunteers:
o Not sure whether it will be feasible for volunteers to work hard for a full day
o Suggest volunteers are able to book into a half day
o The ability to drop into an afternoon session is a good thing, especially for volunteers needing to travel a distance.
o General consensus that the group is willing to trial the new format in 2012 then review.

Andy W outlined Potential Trail Works for 2012:

o Pennels Vennel re route (complete shaping and surfacing). GT.
o Broon Troot – old timber trail removal & trail maintenance. GT.

o Pie Run/Mushroom Pie spot resurfacing and maintenance. GT

o Zoom or Bust maintenance and turn re alignment. GT

o Plora Craig run in to mini double/step up jump – resurface. IN XC Route.

o Electric Blue – Cardie Hill Climb hand built link (at flyover bridge).

o Cardie Hill raised timber trail shortcut link.

o Razor Rock hand tree pruning and maintenance. IN XC Route.

o Trailfairy sessions not to include work on ‘event’ sections – this responsibility lies with event organisers. All agreed – fine with this.

o Other works fairies keen to see happen/get involved in??

Works Volunteers would like to do in 2012:

o Pennels Vennel – complete and open the re route

o Plora Craig mini step up jump resurface (Inners XC)

o Falla Brae shortcutting (after Black option) – develop solutions

o Cardie Hill Climb – formalising the shortcuts that work

o Stell Burn Climb rock features (Inners XC)

o Zoom or Bust maintenance (but not in favour of re aligning tricky turn)

Other Existing Projects Planned?
o Lombard St Reroute, Ewok Village Rebuild – planning currently on hold pending review of overall trail network layout and possibilities re. Castle Hill land acquisition.
o Volunteers suggestions: Shallow Grave extension; Redemption Climb to start of Pie Run (alpine style Black grade) link

Roles & responsibilities in 2012:

o FCS MTB Ranger’s to continue to lead sessions, plan, design and oversee works completed to required standards; to work on developing any training required and paperwork systems

o Volunteers interested in becoming lead volunteers? Register interest with Andy W.

o Things all volunteers can do – increased bloggage, Facebook updates

o Review progress at end of 2012

o 2013 Aims – FCS led group but volunteers supervising some/all of sessions.
o 2013 Roles & Responsibilities: FCS to continue to plan, design and oversee works completed to required standards; MTB Ranger’s to support volunteers leading sessions.

o 2013 trail works – maintenance works but also potential for trail re routing/new build work, with Castlehill acquisition. At very early stages of overall planning at present. Note: Consultation on Castlehill/Nether Horsburgh soon at Peel Cafe – views wanted!

o 2014 & beyond?? Depends on 2012/13 progress.

Next steps
o First work day session on Sat 24th March.
o 2nd meeting to review progress to be held on Thu 17th May (7pm – 9pm) or Sat 19th May (10am – 12pm) at Peel Tower.

To Do Who By When
□ Discuss & agree 2012/13 proposal with Hugh McKay (FCS Communities, Recreation & Tourism Manager) Andy W & Adam G asap
□ Update Glentress Trailfairies website – upload minutes from meeting; amend information Andy W asap
□ Update Yahoo list, add 2012 session dates to calendar Andy W asap
□ Update Facebook page more regularly with upcoming session details; posts about completed sessions etc. Trail invite function All ongoing
□ Update Glentress Trailfairies information on 7stanesmountainbiking.com and request ‘fairy pages easier to find from homepage Andy W asap
□ Decide on session meet up location for 2012 Andy W asap
□ Provide list of 2012 session dates with provisional works location and tasks detailed (inc. back up plans) Andy W asap
□ Regular pre session email/web reminders of upcoming sessions Andy W 5-10 days before each session
□ CastleHill/Nether Horsburgh acquisition – email out details of date(s) when consultation in Peel Cafe Andy W When dates known
□ Potential volunteer leaders – email ‘fairies and collate list of volunteers interested Andy W asap
□ Outstanding PPE requirements for regular volunteers – gather info via email/at sessions. Safety Boot order in Andy W End April
□ Book meeting room for follow up meeting, Thu 17th May (7pm – 9pm) Andy W asap
□ Determine training and paperwork requirements/ timeline for volunteer session leaders development Andy W 17th May
□ Pennels Vennel reroute – arrange for haulage of stone up to trail worksite (exact timing dependant on plant availability) Andy W asap
□ Trailfairy T shirts/banner – FCS able to fund? Andy W 24th Mar
□ Enquire whether dedicated board possible in Peel Café. Who to upkeep? Andy W 17th May
□ Research into financing of more autonomous volunteer trailbuilding groups tbc On going
□ Enquire whether FCS able to pay for annual volunteer 3rd party liability insurance if group were to become more autonomous Andy W 17th May