Trail construction on the 32-mile Temporal Gulch Reroute Project has begun! A crew of four American Conservation Experience trail professionals and a mini-excavator operator – Rob Bauer of Bauer Built Trails – have been hard at work building singletrack in the Canelo Hills. Watch this 30-second time-lapse video for a snapshot of what they’re up to. Once completed, this project will replace paved and dirt roads with sublime trail. Want to help? Donations are the best way to ensure this project keeps moving forward, and we’ll be doing outreach for volunteer labor later this year. DONATE New Outdoor Learning Activities for Youth, Families and Educators
Since schools are shuttered through the remainder of the semester, our Youth Outreach & Education Coordinators haven’t been able to take youth out on the Arizona Trail and engage them in meaningful service projects. Instead, they developed online resources to encourage youth and their families to enjoy the Arizona Trail close to home, participate in some educational activities in the forest and desert, and stay connected to their peers and other students throughout Arizona through social media. Check out the Tools For Remote Learning link on the Seeds of Stewardship page at aztrail.org. These do-it-yourself guides are designed to help young people living near Flagstaff and Tucson engage with the Arizona Trail close to home, however the activities can be adapted to just about any trail anywhere. Each guide includes:
Know-before-you-go tips to help you safely and responsibly enjoy the outdoors.
5 hikes with directions to trailheads and route suggestions.
Lists highlighting some of the area’s notable features.
Site-specific activities with background information, activity supply lists, directions, and opportunities to share your learning.
Learning activities for grades 5-8 and 9-12 include:
Sensory Map - Use your senses to create a map and learn about your area’s ecology.
Home in Nature - Consider human needs and the environment to construct a small home using natural materials.
Interpreting Bird Behavior - Observe bird behavior and hypothesize how their behaviors help them survive.
Biodiversity Study - Find evidence of biodiversity in a plot study.
Landscape Storytelling - If the landscape had a story to tell, what would it say?
Tree Observation - Observe and learn about your area’s diverse trees through photography and drawing.
Layers of a Forest - Learn about ecosystem layers in a forest through observation and drawing.
Please share these resources with any youth, parents, educators, schools you have connections to. Babbitt Ranch Singletrack Continues
We are excited to report that the crew from Flagline Trails is back to building the remaining four miles of the Babbitt Ranch Singletrack Project with assistance from some of our stellar trail stewards in northern Arizona. They’re using a micro-dozer and hand tools to create fresh trail across the CO Bar Ranch north of Flagstaff. Once completed, this project will have successfully replaced 14 miles of dirt roads with scenic singletrack on Passage 35 of the AZT. This will make the journey between Flagstaff and Grand Canyon all the more enjoyable. Ten miles of the project is already complete and ready to be explored. Steel trail markers were recently installed at road/trail intersections to assist with wayfinding. Once the rest of the project is complete, all of the digital maps and navigational resources will be updated. Fresh trail needs boots, hooves and wheels to help compact the soil, so this is your official invitation to help. The new singletrack begins at AZT mile 633.6. To get there, head 8 miles north of Cedar Ranch Trailhead on Forest Road 9008A. View and download a map of the area here. The purple line shows the 10 miles that have been built and ready for exploration. We are looking for volunteers with trail building experience to help with trail construction, as well as anyone interested in helping to rehabilitate 2,000 feet of trail that will be abandoned and naturalized on the Kaibab National Forest as part of this project. If you’d like to help, just “become a fan” of Passage 35 on our volunteer web portal and we’ll be in touch with opportunities. Thanks to the Arizona Horse Lovers Foundation, Coconino County Board of Supervisors, and Arizona Trail Association members and donors for helping to fund a portion of this project. Working together, we’re making great progress toward improving the AZT every year. Trail Stewards Find Creative Ways to Volunteer During COVID-19 Pandemic
With volunteer events canceled since the COVID-19 outbreak two months ago, trail stewards have been working with the ATA’s Volunteer Program Manager to find safe, healthy activities to help maintain the Arizona National Scenic Trail. Since the Arizona Governor’s stay home, stay healthy, stay connected order includes exercise as an essential activity, many stewards have used the past month to visit segments of the AZT and report on conditions. This is among the most important activities that trail stewards, volunteers, and members of the trail community can do to help the ATA identify hazards and areas most in need of maintenance. The Trail Conditions Form online is an ideal way to report what you see on the trail. Steven Terry, Segment Steward for Passage 9C, did a big trail run up and over the Rincon Mountains to assess trail conditions from Manning Camp all the way to Italian Spring. Christian Timmerman, Segment Steward for Passage 10A, recently did an assessment of signs along the AZT. We are mailing him stickers to replace the faded ones along his segment. Jim Hugo, Segment Steward for Passage 7A, replaced all of the faded stickers along his segment and is working with the ATA and Pima County to “clean up” the numerous fiberglass posts along this part of the trail through replacement and/or removal. Thank you Arizona Trail Stewards and Volunteers! You make the Arizona Trail great. Oh, and don’t forget to report your volunteer hours online. With our spring season hampered by the quarantine, we need all of the hours we can get. History Along the Arizona Trail
Arizona is rich with history, and a walk or ride along the Arizona Trail can be more meaningful when you know some of the stories hidden within the landscape. Preston Sands, an Arizona history enthusiast, has assembled an incredible collection of stories about Arizona’s colorful past – all told from the vantage point of the Arizona National Scenic Trail. Here’s an excerpt from Passage 1 – Huachuca Mountains: At the bottom of the Sunnyside Canyon stretch, the Arizona Trail passes near the site of Sunnyside. Sunnyside was an unusual town in Arizona, in that it was founded as a religious commune. Samuel Donnelly, leader of a religious sect known by outsiders as the Donnellites, settled here along with his followers in the 1880’s and began working mines nearby. The residents pooled their resources, and everyone was expected to pull their weight. Drinking was forbidden. The Donnellites were viewed by others as odd, but were noted for their generosity toward those in need. After one of their mines flooded and Donnelly passed away, the commune began to fade away. Sunnyside experienced a ranching revival after the Donnellites departed, but ultimately, Sunnyside became a ghost town. To read more about Arizona’s history within the Huachuca Mountains, check out the new History page here. Preston has written one brief chapter for every passage of the AZT (43 in all), and they’ll be available for reading and downloading online on the Passage pages. Every week, we will add another history chapter, in order from 1 through 43. Check back each week for a new chapter and enjoy a little bit of Arizona history before, during, or after your time on the AZT. Comment Deadline Tomorrow for Proposed Border Barrier Project
Friday, May 15 is the final day Customs and Border Protect (CBP) is accepting public comments on their proposal to construct border barriers through Coronado National Memorial, along with a road, lights, cameras, and a linear ground detection system. This would significantly impact the southern terminus of the Arizona National Scenic Trail. The ATA is recommending these mitigation measures to preserve the landscape, wildlife corridors and the Arizona Trail: (1) use ‘virtual fence’ technology instead of physical barriers; or (2) install physical barriers but restore the landscape afterwards; or (3) pay for impacts equal to the amount of border barrier construction to be used for trail maintenance and protection statewide. To read the ATA’s comment letter and mitigation recommendations, click here. You can read CBP’s statement about the project online here, along with instructions on how to submit comments your by email before the May 15 deadline.