A NEW Forestry BMP Workshop is being planned !
The term R C & D refers to the USDA’s Resource Conservation and Development (R C & D) Program. R C & D was created by a provision of the Food and Agriculture Act of 1962. The R C & D Program is based on the assumption that local citizens can develop and carry out an action-oriented plan for the social, economic, and environmental enrichment of their communities. Congress provides about $60 million annually to the USDA to assist the R C & D program. In turn, the USDA provides assistance as needed to help facilitate the local Council’s goals and objectives. Although most of the USDA agencies assist in the R C & D Program, the USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) was designated as being responsible for administration of the program.
Early in 2011, Congress decided to pull the funds from the RC&D program. The news was devastating, because it removed the support of the NRCS, which provided a full-time employee (the Coordinator) and some other basic expenses. However, the story did not end there!
The Trailblazer Board of Directors has had to reconsider WHO WE ARE and HOW WE WILL DO BUSINESS in the future. The good news is:
- Trailblazer is rebuilding!
- Trailblazer has a great track record of helping our communities.
- Opportunities abound.
- Trailblazer will continue to operate as a community service nonprofit organization.
- Trailblazer can offer a cost effective delivery system for programs that will help our residents.
The vision of Trailblazer is that every person deserves to live in a healthy and vital community where families are valued, youth are celebrated, education is a priority, the environment is clean, jobs are plentiful, and leadership is not only visionary, but shared.
Our mission is to demonstrate regional leadership, secure resources, and deliver programs and services that build strong, vibrant communities where conservation and development are in balance with the needs of the people.
Trailblazer R C & D continues to serve eight Louisiana parishes: Bienville, Bossier, Claiborne, Jackson, Lincoln, Union, Webster, and Winn. Trailblazer RC&D is a non-profit organization, tax exempt (501c3) according to the Internal Revenue Service. Donations, loans, grants, special events, and other fund-raising activities are essential to meet our goals.
The Trailblazer R C & D area was first organized in October 1966 as the Bossier-Webster R C & D project. In February 1969, it was expanded to include Bienville and Claiborne parishes and was renamed the Trailblazer-4 R C & D area. In December 1974, Lincoln parish was approved for inclusion into the area, and the name was shortened to Trailblazer. In April 1983, Union parish was added as the sixth parish. The Trailblazer area was expanded again to include Jackson and Winn parishes in August 1989.
In February 1988, key community leaders participated in a Problem Identification Workshop. The participants were asked to identify major problems and issues that should be addressed by Trailblazer. The Council adopted improving rural fire protection and increasing employment opportunities as priority objectives.
Needs are continually being recognized or brought to the attention of the Board of Directors by other community leaders. As these needs are identified, projects are considered for approval based on four criteria:
- Firmly established objectives
- Interest and involvement of the Board
- Interest and support of other groups
- Funding and staffing demands.
Trailblazer will continue to serve the same eight parishes, now operating as a community service nonprofit organization.
Our Current Projects
Entrepreneurial Training Program
At the current time, Trailblazer is focusing on helping community members who would like to learn how to start a new business. We have a fully-funded program that allows us to provide Entrepreneurial Training (ENT) workshops to community members free of charge! In these ENT workshops, participants learn how to create a business plan, how to get ready to apply for a business loan, how to fill out the necessary tax and licensing paperwork, and a great deal more.
Water Quality Program
Trailblazer is also currently offering an important service to our communities with our Water Quality program. Olivia Ward, Trailblazer’s staff biologist, serves as both educator and community planning consultant, speaking often to local groups about water quality issues, and also offering water quality analysis and improvement planning.
Twenty-five years of service
- As much as 10 tons of paper collected each month
- Over 3,500 dry hydrants installed, insurance rates lowered, and homes and lives protected.
- Still very active, recently donating airboat to help fight Lake Bistineau's Giant Salvinia
- Rural homeowners offered wildfire prevention recommendations
- Various projects increased awareness of the declining aquifer.
- Teaching others to develop quality projects and seek funding for them