Another factor that has motivated me to plan this trip is my desire to promote and contribute to the efforts of a small but dedicated group of local environmentalists – the non-profit organization Great Baikal Trail (GBT), located in Irkutsk, Russia. GBT is working to preserve Lake Baikal and promote environmental conservation in the region through the construction of the first recreational trail system in Russia. Over 540 kilometers of trail have been built so far during summer trail-building projects that involve members of the local communities as well as volunteers from all over the world. You can find out more about GBT and how to volunteer for a summer trail-building project here – http://www.greatbaikaltrail.org/index_en.html
We will be promoting this expedition through various mediums. The most notable will be a medium-length film produced by Venezuelan team member Federico Pisani. Federico is an experienced photographer and film maker who has won awards and international recognition for his work. His last film, “La Ventana”, a documentary of a climb of Cerro Torre in Patagonia, was featured in the official selection of Banff Film Festival World Tour and won Prize for Best Photography at the Festival Ascenso in Venezuela in 2007. Our hope is that the film will acquaint audiences with the unique beauty and ecological significance of Lake Baikal as well as with the preservation efforts in the region in order to engender interest and encourage international cooperation in dealing with issues of environmental conservation on a global level.
We will also be organizing a number of slide-show presentations in Oregon and Washington. These presentations will be an opportunity for us to publicize our trip, promote our sponsors, and increase awareness of Lake Baikal and the current conservation efforts in the region. In addition, we hope to contribute articles to leading adventure journals upon completion of the trip. Two members of the team have published articles in American Alpine Journal, and there is strong interest within the team to publish. Finally, we will be maintaining a website which will feature reports from the field, route descriptions, pictures, and links to sponsors’ web pages. The website, a work in progress, can be found here – http://www.cyclebaikal.com/