Sedona Westerners Trail Stewardship
For over 60 years, the Westerners have been a part of this community and we take pride in being responsible stewards for the natural treasures that make Sedona so special. The Sedona area boasts over 200 trails covering over 400 miles; trails that the Westerners and over 3 million visitors per year rely on to transport them to the beauty of our red rock country. It is a daunting task to manage and maintain this fragile and popular trail system. The Westerners assist the Red Rock Ranger District in the following ways:
- Westerners offer assistance to the Red Rock Ranger District during Fire and Emergency Trailhead closures, and, as needed, to Forest Service supported trail maintenance initiatives.
- Westerners hikers, as a club policy, are vigilant in reporting problems such as graffiti, illegal fires and camping and illegal trail-building. Our members are routinely involved in litter clean-up, trail maintenance and graffiti removal.
- Many Westerner members serve as docents and stewards for local archaeological sites and the club makes an extraordinary effort to educate our hikers, and visitors, about treating these sites with care and dignity.
- Westerners are committed to sharing the trails with other hikers, bikers, runners and equestrians in a safe and respectful way.
- The club stresses "Leave No Trace" hiking and hiking prearedness, and at every opportunity educates trail users about fragile plants and soils, hydration, sunscreen and route finding. See a more detailed description of "Leave No Trace" below.
- Many Westerners are involved in the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund, a local effort to raise funding needed to maintain and improve the Sedona-area trails.
Sedona Westerners "Leave no trace" policy
The Westerners Hiking Club works closely with the Red Rock Ranger District of the USFS to preserve and protect the precious natural and cultural resources that surround us here in Sedona. We adhere to, and advocate, the folloing principles when hiking:
- Plan ahead and prepare:
- Know where you are going. Carry a map or GPS and DO NOT mark trails with paint, rock cairns, flags or markers in or on trees.
- Visit in small groups, and split larger groups. Locally, we hike in groups of 12 or less.
- Be prepared for weather changes and emergencies.
- Hike on established trails.
- Walk single file on the trails, even when wet or muddy.
- Avoid fragile plants and cryptobiotic soils. "Don't bust the crust"
- Examine, but do not touch cultural or historic structures and artifacts.
- Leave rocks, plants, and other natural objects as you find them.
- Do not build structures or dig holes or trenches.
- Observe wildlife from a distance. Do not follow or approach them.
- Never feed animals. This damages their health and alters their natural behaviors.
- Control pets (leashed) at all times, or leave them at home.
- Be courteous. Yield to other users of the trails.
- Take breaks off the trail. Do not eat or linger in cultural sites, and pack out any litter and trash.
- Let nature's sounds prevail. Avoid loud voices and noises.
Letter of Agreement with the USFS
In April 2014 The Sedona Westerners and the US Forest Service co-signed a Letter of Agreement (LOA) that supersedes the 14-year-old Memorandum of Understanding and provides a framework for continued cooperation between the Westerners and the Forest Service. The full text of the LOA can be found here.
Etiquette for Visiting Cultural Sites
Handout can be found here.
Contacts and Reporting
Members are encouraged to keep an eye on our local environment, trails, and forest and report significant problems or concerns, including
- Illegal Fires
- Illegal Camping
- Abuse of Archaeological sites
- Illegal Trails
- Concern about Trail Conditions
When reporting, always contact our Ranger (Forest Service Liaison). Try to include a photo, GPS Location, Date and Time. Do not confront offenders. Our liaison will contact the proper authorities.