Sedona Westerners Trail Stewardship

For over 50 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. Sedona boasts 260 miles of trails; trails that the Westerners and over 1 million visitors per year rely on to transport them to the beauty of of our red rock country. It is a daunting task to manage and maintain this fragile and popular trail system. Every day the Westerners try to assist the Red Rock Ranger District in the following ways:

  1. Through the Adopt-a-Trail program the Westerners have taken responsibility for the Little Horse Trail near Chicken Point.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Westerners are committed to sharing the trails with other hikers, bikers, runners and equestrians in a safe and respectful way.
  5. 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.
  6. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Travel on durable surfaces:
    • 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"
  3. Leave what you find:
    • 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.
  4. Respect wildlife:
    • 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.
  5. Respect other visitors:
    • 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
  • Graffiti
  • 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. Document the activity and contact the proper authorities (shown below).

Reporting Illegal Activity in the Forest
   Call 928-527-3600 or 928-526-0600
   Contact: USFS Enforcement Officer

Reporting Graffiti
   Contact: Friends of the Forest (automatically forwarded to USFS)

Reporting Illegal Trails / Poor Trail Conditions
   Contact: USFS Trail Manager (Red Rock District)