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How to Setup Your Own Walk for Wilderness

Topics:

> What is it?
> How to get started.
> How to fund your walk.
> How to locate your walk location.
> How to select sponsors.
> How to setup end of walk events.
> How to order t-shirts.
> Insurance for your walk.

 

What is it?

Purpose: The purpose of the Walk for Wilderness event is to bring awareness to wilderness by hosting a Walk in cities, towns and communities across America to celebrate the 40th Anniversary of Wilderness (1964-2004).

When: Late August or early September 2004 is the best time to have your Walk for Wilderness event. The Labor Day weekend can be a very busy time, so it might be best to have your Walk before or after the Labor Day weekend. Try to get as close to the 40th Anniversary date of the signing of the Wilderness Act (September 3,) as possible.

Where: Hopefully in cities, towns and communities all across America. The Walks do not take place in congressional designated wilderness but in the communities that surround Wilderness.

Why: The Walk for Wilderness can truly be used to bring a broad cross-section of local residents together to learn more about the benefits of an enduring resource of Wilderness. It is intended to be a family event, full of celebration and fun.

Proceeds: All proceeds generated from the Walk for Wilderness events (including the registration fee and t-shirt sales) remain at the local level to be used for wilderness education programs.

For more information contact: If you are interesting in hosting a Walk for Wilderness event in your community in 2004, please contact Ralph Swain, Regional Wilderness Program Manager, 740 Simms Street, Golden, CO 81401, (303) 275-5058, rswain@fs.fed.us.
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How to get started.

Purpose: Deciding how to set up your Walk begins with organizing your event in logical steps. The first step is to form a Committee of individuals and partners that can work as a team to set up the Walk. Committee members do not have to be agency personnel. In fact, a diverse Committee will help to foster diverse ideas and groups of people to sponsor the event.

Organizing Committee: The success of your Walk largely depends on a few key committee members and dedicated volunteers that champion the Walk. Select members that are committed to make the entire event a fun and enjoyable celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Wilderness.

Chairman and Co-Chairman: You will need to select a leader and co-leader for the overall event. Select people that have the time, talent and desire to make the Walk the best it can be. A co-chairman is necessary because there are times when no one person can be available and a second person must be able to share the leadership roles and responsibilities. You do not need past experience at hosting a Walk or a community event to take on the leadership role. It’s really a matter of organization and having an effective committee and team of volunteers working together.

Other Committee Assignments: Additional committee members may be needed depending on the size of your overall Walk event. Consider a Finance, Marketing, and Safety chairs as well as specific committee chairs for the end-of-walk celebration events such as entertainment and booth organizer.

Reminders:
1. Share the overall Walk assignments with committee members.
2. Select people with specific talents such as finance and marketing.
3. Enlist your local Wilderness Volunteer Organization to help.
4. Enlist the help of Girl Scouts of USA, Boy Scouts and youth groups.
5. Enlist the help of your local schools and college staff.
6. Start planning now, months before the Walk, to be organized.
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How to fund your walk.

Purpose: It really doesn't take that much money to fund a Walk for Wilderness event. Most of the cost of funding the Walk is shared in volunteer time and talents from committee members, volunteers and partners that want to give their time to a good cause. However, some expenses will occur. Here are some ideas on how to fund the Walk.

Walk Registration: You will need a non-profit organization (501(c)(3) to handle the money transactions and collect registration fees for the Walk for Wilderness 40th Anniversary event. Consider charging $15 to $25/person with a reduced price for early registration and no charge for children under 4 years old.

Expenses: The two largest expenses are the (1) buying and printing of the Walk t-shirt and (2) the printing of the Walk brochure and registration form. Seek out a Gold Sponsor to pay for the t-shirts. Depending on how many t-shirts you order and the amount of colors used on your Walk
t-shirt logo, the cost per t-shirt can run from $5 to $10/shirt. Additionally, producing and printing Walk brochures and registration forms can be a minimal expense if you make copies on color paper or if you decide to print Walk brochures on hard stock paper from a printing company.

Revenues: The Walk can actually generate revenues to offset the expenses if the registration fee is determined appropriately. Keeping the expenses down is the key. For example, if you plan to have keynote speakers or entertainment (musicians) at the end-of-Walk event, ask them to donate their time and talent to the 40th Celebration. If you plan to have refreshments at the end of the Walk, ask local merchants to donate bottled water, food and snacks for the event.

Proceeds: It is the intent to have Walk for Wilderness events in as many cities, towns and communities across America as possible in 2004. Walk for Wilderness proceeds, if any, are to be used at the local level for wilderness education programs and activities.
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How to locate your walk location.

Purpose: Selecting your Walk location is paramount to making your Walk for Wilderness safe and enjoyable. Here are some recommendations to help you select your Walk location:

Location: The Walk should not take place in congressional designated wilderness due to the amount of people attending the Walk. Select a Walk location along a walk path or river path in your city, town or community that will provide for a scenic and safe pathway to your ending event celebration (such as a park or large open space area). A loop trail is the best so that participants can park, walk and return to their vehicle without the need for a shuttle.

Ending event: Be sure to finish your Walk at a large site for your 40th Anniversary event. A large park or environmental center is a good location to start and end your walk. Be sure the location has plenty of room for participants to hear your keynote speakers and, if possible, have electrical power to accommodate a sound system for keynote speakers and musicians.

Permit: Some public events require a city or park permit. In most cases, a permit fee can be waived for public purposes such as educational events like the 40th Anniversary Walk for Wilderness.

Safety: Be sure your Walk location is assessable for emergency vehicles. Set up safe crossings of busy intersections. To keep the Walk safe for small children and baby strollers, prohibit bikes and horse use on the Walk.

Reminders:
1. How far is the nearest hospital or medical care facility?
2. Do you have plenty of room for parking and a shuttle system to get participants back to their vehicles?
3. Do you have a permit, if needed?
4. Do you have EMT and safety personnel involved?
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How to select sponsors.

Purpose: Selecting sponsors for your Walk for Wilderness are very important to hosting a successful event. Here are some recommendations to help you select your Walk Sponsors:

Gold, Silver and Bronze Sponsors: Consider asking two or three major partners to be gold sponsors. Gold sponsors donate significant funds or in-kind resources to help pay for the cost of developing and printing the Walk brochure, registration form, Walk permits and other start-up expenses. In return, gold sponsors have exclusive rights to logo recognition on the Walk brochure and other recognition messages (such as banners). Consider asking several sponsors to contribute as silver sponsors to help defray the cost of printing Walk t-shirts, donating prizes and helping to pay for the Walk permit, if needed. Silver sponsors can be recognized on the Walk brochure if space allows, but should not get top billing like the gold sponsors receive. Finally, many partners will help in ways to make your overall event a huge success and you might want to acknowledge them during the end-of-event celebration as bronze sponsors.

Sponsorship: It’s difficult to determine how many sponsors you will need or want for your Walk until you know how big of an event you are planning. Once you determine the expected Walk attendance and the amount and types of ending events you plan, then you can determine expenses and the need for sponsorship to defray costs. Be sure to select sponsors that align with your Walk objectives and present a corporate image that fits with the overall event.

Agreements: Be sure to document and agree on what sponsors give and get for their involvement. A formal contract may not be necessary, but at least document in writing the agreed upon conditions of sponsorship so that your partners fully understand the extent of their obligations.

Reminders:
1. How many sponsors do you need?
2. What kind of sponsors do you need, Gold, Silver and Bronze?
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How to setup end of walk events.

Purpose: Begin and end your Walk with keynote speakers. Have a beginning speaker, such as the Mayor or Forest Supervisor, to engage the participant and explain the purpose for the 40th Anniversary Walk for Wilderness. You may also want keynote speakers, such as a Senator or Representative, to address the participants at the end-of-Walk location. Consider organizing clinics, education booths and music (entertainment) as well. Here are some ideas of how to set up your end-of-Walk events.

Event Committee: Set up a specific organizing committee team just for the ending events. Organize your events around your Walk objectives and target audience. If you would like your ending-of-Walk events to truly celebrate the 40th Anniversary, you might want to concentrate on keynote speakers that can speak to the values and benefits of wilderness. You can also set up educational booths for kids of all ages to learn more about wilderness. Consider having booths and clinics on Leave No Trace, wilderness volunteerism and trail work demonstrations such as a crosscut saw demonstration (to show non-motorized trail work in wilderness).

Refreshments: At the end of the Walk, you will need to have bottled water or other refreshments, including food, if you want the participants to stay around for keynote speakers and other activities. Therefore, consider having local merchants donate food and drinks for the Walk participants. You might need to charge for the refreshments so that you can cover your costs.

Entertainment: Make the end-of-the Walk events a true celebration. Consider having a local band or musicians provide entertainment. Be sure to raise the awareness of wilderness and to promote the benefits of wilderness to all Americans, not just those that visit wilderness.

Reminders:
1. Use the end-of-Walk events to education people about wilderness.
2. Make your event fun for the whole family.
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How to order t-shirts.

Walk logo: Here is the official Walk for Wilderness logo produced by
I Like It Merchandise t-shirt company in Carbondale, Colorado. It is a 5-inch logo that appears over the heart on a white t-shirt. Your Walk location, for example Evergreen, Colorado, will be added above the mountain motif on the upper right-hand side of the logo. On the back of the t-shirt, in blue letters, is the famous Thoreau quote, “In Wildness is the preservation of the World.”


Ordering T-Shirts: If you would like to order Walk t-shirts, you can contact Pat Ryan at I Like It Merchandise. Mr. Ryan has graciously agreed to not charge a set-up screening fee for all Walk for Wilderness events. A minimum order of 144 t-shirts/city location is required.
You can order t-shirts directly by calling 970-544-9163 (office and fax) or email: ilikeit@sopris.net.

Consolidated Orders: There will be two consolidated order dates if you would like to join in a bulk order to keep the t-shirt price as low as possible. Your order of 144 or more t-shirts will be consolidated into bulk orders on June 1st and July 1st (2004). Late orders will not be processed as part of the consolidated order. Plan on 2-4 weeks to receive your order. Payment is 50% down at start of production with balance due on delivery. Production will begin after deposit is received. Estimated price/shirt is $5.50 (for Anvil heavyweight pre-shrunk cotton t-shirt) plus shipping.

If you decide to produce Walk t-shirts with your local vendor, the Walk logo is available upon request by contacting Ralph Swain, US Forest Service, Regional Wilderness Program Manager, 740 Simms Street, Golden, CO 80401, (303) 275-5058, rswain@fs.fed.us.
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Insurance for your walk.

Background: If you and your partners are hosting a Walk for Wilderness, it is highly recommended that you take out a one-day event insurance policy. Federal agency representatives cannot secure the insurance; it must be a non-government partner, such as a non-profit. The amount of coverage varies, depending on type of event and how many are participating. The Walk insurance policy will cost you approximately $250 to $300 for the one-day event. Agencies should not be involved in co-sponsoring a Walk for Wilderness if a non-profit partner has not taken out insurance.

Insurance contact: We found an Insurance Agency that has handled non-competitive one-day events, like the Walks, in the past. Contact:

Scott Ziller,
McKay Insurance Agency, Inc.
800-942-0283
sziller@mckayinsagency.com
www.mckayinsagency.com

Questions: Contact Ralph Swain, 303-275-5058
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