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Arizona Trail e-News - 6.18.2020

The Arizona Trail Association (ATA) stands in support of Black Lives Matter and issues impacting Indigenous and other People of Color. We recognize they have faced hardship and discrimination for too long, and we want to help everyone reach a place of fairness, equality and cooperation. One way we already work to be ever more inclusive is with our Seeds of Stewardship and Gear Girl programs. Since 2011, we have helped more than 10,000 young people of diverse backgrounds and socioeconomic status enjoy nature with meaningful opportunities to connect with natural landscapes in their areas. Last year ATA added a full-time employee whose responsibility is to engage traditionally under-represented communities with the Arizona Trail, helping to guide our perspective and priorities. We always strive to actively invite all people, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, age, sexual orientation or identity, education, ability or economic status to experience the Arizona Trail. To read the Arizona Trail Association’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement, developed in 2019, please click here. With that in mind, we ask members and users to let us know what might better serve all citizens in making our National Scenic Trail even more of a shared treasure. Since 1994, our vision has been “a continuous, non-motorized path from Mexico to Utah connecting deserts, mountains, canyons, forests, communities, and people.” We think we can be a more unifying force with input and feedback from you. Wildfires Force Trail Closures Throughout Arizona

The wildfire season we’ve been dreading is now upon us, and Arizona currently has 12 active fires on five forests. Three blazes have impacted the Arizona Trail, and portions of the AZT are now closed. If you’re planning a hike or ride on the AZT this summer, please check current conditions, closures and other important information before you go. Also, remember that campfires, charcoal and open flames are banned on all National Forests in Arizona and New Mexico. The Bighorn Fire is currently burning in the Santa Catalina Mountains near Tucson, and has forced a closure of the AZT’s Passage 11 between Sabino Basin and Romero Pass. Although other trails on Mt. Lemmon remain open, everyone is being asked to avoid the entire area to allow firefighters to continue battling the fire from the air and on the ground. The Bighorn Fire started on June 5 from a lightning strike and has grown to over 13,000 acres. The Mangum Fire is currently burning on the Kaibab National Forest near Jacob Lake, and has forced evacuations and a forest closure order near the AZT’s Passages 41 and 42. Although the fire is still west of the Arizona Trail, Highway 89A between Marble Canyon and Fredonia is closed, as well as Highway 67 from Jacob Lake to Grand Canyon’s North Rim. In only one week the fire has grown to 25,000 acres, and its cause is currently under investigation. The Bush Fire is currently burning on the Tonto National Forest west of Tonto Basin, and has forced evacuations of nearby communities. The fire has crossed the AZT near Pigeon Spring along Passages 20 and 21, and has grown to over 14,000 acres in three days. State Highway 87 is closed near the town of Payson to Bush Highway, and Highway 188 is closed from Highway 88 to 87. One of the best sources for wildfire news, closures, and other information is Arizona Trail Virtual Adventure

Tired of being cooped up indoors? Looking for a big goal to keep you healthy and motivated? Then sign up for the Arizona Trail Virtual Adventure today! This do-it-yourself event encourages you to hike, run or ride anywhere, and accumulate miles toward completing all or a portion of the 800-mile Arizona Trail. There are great rewards for various miles completed, and all proceeds benefit the Arizona Trail Association to help supplement revenue the ATA has lost through cancellation of our trail running events, Arizona Trail Day, and other community events that are an important source of financial support for all ATA programs and operations. Choose from the 25, 50, 100, 200, 400, 600 or 800-mile challenge. You can walk around your neighborhood, ride trails close to home, run on a treadmill, or any form of non-motorized locomotion anywhere. If you complete an average of 4 miles per day between now and the end of the year, you’ll reach the 800-mile finish line. Shorter distances have a completion date of September 30. Every mile achievement has Arizona Trail rewards to keep you motivated, including a hat, bandana, Buff, coaster, coupons, socks, custom 3D wooden map of Arizona, and much more. Learn more about the event by visiting the Arizona Trail Virtual Adventure website here. Trail Skills Institute on June 20-21

If you’d like to learn the art and science of trail assessments and maintenance, be one of the first 8 people to register for our upcoming Trail Skills Institute on June 20-21. The two-day course will be held near Mormon Lake and will cover Modules 1 and 2 of the ATA’s Trail Skills Institute, which is ideal for trail stewards and anyone interested in sustainability of recreation trails. Due to COVID-19 protocols, the course will be limited to only 8 participants and 1 instructor. Module 1 (Trail Assessment) covers:

  • Seeing the trail and the surrounding landscape

  • Erosion and deposition

  • Identifying problems and causes

  • Documenting trail conditions

Module 2 (Trail Maintenance) covers:

  • Reopening the trail corridor

  • Slough, berm and tread

  • Drainage (dips, knicks, reversal, checks, water bars)

  • Hardening the trail

Cost for the two-day training is $75 for AZT segment stewards and $125 for everyone else. Scholarships are available, too. Learn more and register here. Updated Maps of Arizona Trail Loops

Thanks to the hard work of our GIS Director Aaron Seifert, we are proud to announce the release of a new series of Loop Trails for the Arizona Trail. Out-and-back hikes and rides can be fun, but almost everyone prefers loop routes. With this in mind, the ATA has pieced together other trails, dirt roads and arroyos to help you get the most out of your Arizona Trail adventures. They’re available online for free for current members of the Arizona Trail Association. In consultation with the ATA’s Vice President of Trail Operations, trail runners, mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians, we have assembled 57 different loops along 29 Passages, ranging in distance from 3.3 miles to 61.9 miles. Full-color maps and text documents are available for download for ATA members. Just login at, then click on Explore -> Maps > Loop Trails. Loop Trails Maps utilize the same background as the Arizona Trail Topo Map Set, and can be imported into the Avenza Map app where you can use your mobile device to see your location on the map. If you identify other scenic and rewarding loops that integrate a portion of the AZT, please let us know.

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