Under threat of closure

One of the oldest environmental organizations in the Baikal region, Great Baikal Trail is under threat of closure due to a lack of funding. On January 14, results of the presidential grant competition were announced, and our project was not selected. This means that our project of 18 years might come to an end.

More than 250 international projects, hundreds of kilometers of newly built trail, thousands of volunteers from around the world, and annual work to create a unified trail around Lake Baikal would become history.

Over the years, our nonprofit organization has gotten used to financial difficulties, but we always have succeeded to win grants or find other means to continue our work. Maybe our past success is why we didn’t focus on securing funds this year.

Due to the lack of funding, our trail building projects are not the only ones under threat. Our eco-education and spring restoration initiatives are also in jeopardy, as is the Great Baikal Trail organization as a whole. And this is especially sad because over the past few years we were able to reach a new level of work. In 2020, our long-term collaboration with national parks and nature reserves resulted in a record number of projects to create a safe and environmentally friendly infrastructure around Baikal. We started to work with inclusive and “silver age” volunteers. Our long-standing work and experience also have helped people in other regions of Russia implement eco-friendly approaches to tourism.

We don’t want to give up, and we hope that we will be able to find a way forward, but we understand that this situation is exceedingly difficult.