Westerners’ Members Help with Sustainable Trail Fund Effort

December 30, 2016

By Jennifer Burns

Your Red Rock Trail Fund Dollars Hard At Work: Here are a couple of members of the Coconino Rural Environmental Corps, now called the Arizona Conservation Corps, doing a major tread repair requiring a retaining wall. The heavy duty webbing you can

Members of the Sedona Westerners Hiking Club are keenly aware of the significance of our local 250-mile Red Rock trail system. Westerners have found adventure on these trails for more than 50 years, and value the many routes that surround our community. To put their knowledge and appreciation to work, several Westerners are participating in the on-going effort to create sustainable funding for yearly trail maintenance.

Two meetings have been held, facilitated by the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund (SRRTF) at www.redrocktrailfund.com a local non-profit. The purpose is to ignite excitement to fund the annual $430,000 basic trail maintenance budget. Several Westerners have joined community leaders and citizens to find creative and practical ideas for “sustainable” (i.e. long-term) trail funding.

Here in Red Rock Country our trails are enjoyed by 1.7 million visitors each year! The Bell Rock Pathway alone gets over 190,000 visits each year. This high amount of use, combined with fragile sandy soils and intense monsoon storms, makes annual trail maintenance important and this costs money.

The Forest Service Red Rock District struggles with declining budgets and relies on partnerships and volunteers to ensure everyone continued access to high quality trails. The City of Sedona, Coconino County, and local business community appreciate these well-known and spectacular trails and have stepped up to support needed improvements and maintenance.

Essential funding also comes from donations made by residents and visitors who passionately care about the trails they use! Donations can be made directly at the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund website www.redrocktrailfund.com .

These donations have accomplished important work. Here are some of the highlights of the October 2015 through April 2016 season for the Forest Service trail crew, the Arizona Conservation Corp crew (AZCC) and many dedicated community volunteers.

140 miles of maintenance done by Forest Service crew.

5.6 miles of new trail built (Skywalker, Over Easy, Manzanita, Scorpion, and Pyramid trails).

1.9 miles of reroutes and heavy maintenance.

 Arizona Conservation Corp toiled for 12 weeks doing maintenance on trails near Sedona.

Over 70 volunteer trail work events in Sedona area with over 800 volunteers adding up to over 4000 volunteer hours. All with a perfect safety record and smiles at the end of the season!

More good work is happening this current work season (October 2016 – April 2017) including maintenance of the Thunder Mountain and Andante trails (two of our oldest trails); maintenance of the northern Bell Rock Pathway; Slide Fire restoration work on trails in Oak Creek Canyon; heavy maintenance on trails in the Broken Arrow area; completion of the new Oak Trail to connect between Mescal and AZ Cypress trails; completion of a new trail between Bell Rock and Courthouse formations; and important drainage, tread and brushing maintenance throughout the trail system.

Our trail system offers locals and visitors alike a gateway to the awe inspiring red rock landscape, an experience unique in the world. Each year, thousands of people use these trails, causing wear and tear on fragile desert soils and plants. Like any well used facility, every trail needs annual maintenance.

How you can join the campaign: Give a donation, grant or bequest, small or large, to the not for profit (501c3) Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund. Donations go directly to maintenance and enhancement of the red rock trail system. Through an agreement with the local U.S. Forest Service, trail crews are funded to complete essential trail maintenance and to coordinate volunteer trail work.  No overhead or administrative costs are applied:  100% of all funds are used for on-the-ground trail maintenance.

Participate in the Sustainable Trail Fund effort. Call Dan Blaettler at 928-274-7763 to find out more, or visit the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund website at www.redrocktrailfund.com .

Get out and hike, bike, horseback ride, run or amble on the local trails. See for yourself these scenic trails and the intriguing environment we have in our “backyard”! Be inspired to care for our amazing red rock trails. 

This article was written by Jennifer Burns who served as Recreation Officer for the Red Rock Ranger District for seven years.  Recently retired from the U.S. Forest service, she now volunteers as President of the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund which is an organization that the Sedona Westerners strongly support. 

If you are interested in joining the Sedona Westerners, visit our website at www.sedonawesterners.org or just come to one of our monthly meetings. The next one will be on Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 7 p.m. at Saint John Vianney Parish, 180 St. John Vianney Lane in Sedona.  Sedona Westerners, appears every Friday in the Sedona Red Rock News.

 

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