Sedona Westerners in the Red Rock News

April 25, 2014

Westerners Renew Agreement With Forest Service


by Curt Kommer

Marion Hadji-Agha, Sedona Westerner Trail Boss and Nicole Branton, District Ranger signed the Letter of Agreement between the Forest Service and the Sedona Westerners on March 11, 2014.

The Sedona Westerners Hiking Club leadership recently met with representatives of the United States Forest Service (USFS) to reaffirm the Westerners commitment to responsible use of local trails and resources. For over 50 years the Westerners have worked closely with the Red Rock Ranger district to establish ethical and environmentally friendly hiking guidelines for their members. This year’s discussions emphasized the use of established trails, "leave-no-trace" hiking, and a continuing respect for sensitive areas. Marion Hadji-Agha, Westerner President, said "It is a privilege to hike the Red Rock area, and we as a Club are committed to continuing our strong stewardship of the local trails.

As part of the Letter of Agreement entered into by the Westerners and the USFS, the Westerners will continue to assist the Forest Service in promoting the safe use of local trails, including:

Group picture taken after signing Letter of Agreement between the Forest Service and Sedona Westerners are left to right, Travis Bone, Andy Beeler, Jennifer Burns, Nicole Branton, Marion Hadji-Agha and Curt Kommer.

According to Nicole Branton, District Ranger representing the USFS, "The USFS appreciates the unique contributions made by the Sedona Westerners since 1961 and the ongoing value of the club to the Forest Service and the greater Sedona community."

As a non-profit, non-commercial organization the Sedona Westerners have always been committed to enjoying responsible hiking while protecting the local desert landscape, wildlife, and cultural resources. Curtis Kommer, Vice President of the Westerners, commented that "what we try to do as a Hiking Club makes good sense for any local or visiting user of our remarkable trail system: know your abilities and where you're going, bring snacks and plenty of water, treat other trail users with respect, and do your best to practice "leave-no-trace"." "One more thing," Kommer added, "the Sedona area is among the most beautiful places in the world. Enjoy it."

Marion Hadji-Agha, the outgoing President of the Sedona Westerners for the 2013/14 season said she is proud to have served as Trail Boss for the Club. She states that the Sedona Westerner volunteer officers worked hard on having an enjoyable and successful hiking season this past year. Marion also gives credit to the Forest Service for their vigilance in the maintenance of these beautiful lands that are frequently hiked by all of us.

If you are interested in joining the club, go to our website or come to one of our monthly meetings. The next and final meeting for the season will be May 1st, our spring cookout, at 11:00 A.M. at the Sedona Elks Lodge, 110 Airport Road.