Last weekend, girls from Flagstaff teamed up to improve 1.5 miles of the Arizona Trail near Schultz Pass. Fueled by a spirit of enthusiasm, collaboration and care, participants brushed back thorny vegetation, installed new drainages, and removed ankle-rolling rocks from the trail. The trail tools may have been taller than some of the volunteers using them, but the girls’ excitement and determination surmounted all challenges. Within the Arizona Trail Association’s Gear Girls program, young women see that they are capable of overcoming obstacles and they can consistently excel in traditionally male-dominated spaces. Through mountain biking and trail work, girls in grades 4-8 build character, tenacity, leadership, and confidence. Over the course of 10 weekends, beginner to advanced riders gain new skills, work toward self-defined goals, learn through peer mentorship, and form lasting friendships. Trail stewardship is an important component of Gear Girls, as it empowers youth to put action behind their love for trails and shows them how these pathways are the result of many people working together toward a common goal. This fall, Gear Girls has adapted to the coronavirus outbreak by adding additional days of programming to keep our group sizes small while still providing as many opportunities as possible. Following CDC guidelines, girls can learn to navigate technical obstacles with masks on and effectively connect with one another from 6+ feet apart. Participants have been looking forward to Gear Girls starting back up since our temporary halt to in-person programming earlier this year. For many, this is their only opportunity to spend quality time outdoors and to safely be in a group of peers. Gear Girls is provided free of charge to girls and their families in an effort to eliminate all barriers to participation, and is supported by Catena Foundation, Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff, New Belgium Brewing, and ATA members, donors and supporters like you. Please consider making a donation to support Gear Girls so that we can continue to empower the next generation of stewards of the Arizona Trail. E-Bike Research Report Now Available
After a year of research and gathering input from Arizona Trail users like you, the ATA is proud to release its final report on Perceptions of Conflict Surrounding Future E-Bike Use on the Arizona Trail. This research was motivated by changes in how federal agencies are managing electric-motorized bicycles (e-bikes) on public lands and trails. Before making official comments on behalf of the Arizona Trail community, we wanted to hear what you thought. Our study gathered comments through our Facebook page and e-newsletter. Quantitative data was collected using an online questionnaire about e-bikes and their use on the AZT. The analysis aimed to better understand survey respondents’ most frequent method of travel, exposure to e-bikes, and how other factors shape their opinion of this new user group and where there may be potential for user conflict. Nearly 3,000 people participated in the online survey. In collaboration with American Trails, the Arizona Trail Association will present findings from the report through an Advancing Trails Webinar on October 29 at 10 am. The webinar is free and open to all, but advance registration is required. To learn more and to register, click here. AZT Detour Around Mangum Fire
After the Mangum Fire burned 71,450 acres this summer, including 7 miles of the AZT, we have been working with the Kaibab National Forest to assess hazards and risks, recommend rehabilitation, and establish a detour around the burn zone along Passage 42. Due to the high intensity of the burn and its devastation to the ponderosa pine forest, most of the Arizona Trail remains too dangerous to visit. In addition to the hazards of falling trees and unstable soils, 2 miles of the AZT is located within the bottom of Orderville Canyon. Being anywhere in this area during a rainstorm could be fatal, as the drainage is expected to fill with ash, logs and other debris. A detour on forest roads has been established and a map is available here. The surrounding forest is badly burned and trees should be expected to fall across the roads, especially during wind conditions, but the roads provide a safer alternative than the trail. The AZT is expected to remain closed in this area for at least one year. For anyone planning a long-distance trip on the Kaibab Plateau this season, consider starting from the Orderville Trailhead, just south of Hwy 89A near Jacob Lake, and heading southbound. You’ll enjoy nearly 50 miles of beautiful singletrack before arriving at the North Kaibab Trailhead, where one of the natural wonders of the world awaits. For information on trail closures, reroutes and detours, please visit our Current Closures page online. We work hard to keep the trail open and safe, and provide the best information as soon as it’s available so you can enjoy the AZT and our public lands. AZT in a DAY is Happening This Saturday
What are you doing tomorrow? Please join hundreds of other Arizona Trail hikers, runners, mountain bikers, equestrians and others as we attempt to collectively traverse the entire AZT in one day on Saturday, October 10. AZT in a DAY is free and open to all, and a simple and informative registration page can be found here. Pre-registering helps us monitor how many people will be on each segment of trail to avoid overcrowding. While some segments remain closed, we’re hoping this is the year we complete every mile of trail that’s safe and open for recreation. AZT in a DAY is our primary fundraiser for this season, and we are soooooooooo close to our goal. Even if you can't hit the trail this weekend, please make a donation in support of our mission to protect, maintain, enhance, promote and sustain the Arizona Trail as a unique encounter with the land. For anyone participating in AZT in a DAY, we suggest writing down your itinerary and give to a friend or family member who isn’t out there with you. The itinerary should have directions to access points, a map, phone numbers of those in your group, and times for when you’re heading out and when you plan to be back. Then, be sure to follow up, and let your family and friends know you made it out. Let’s keep this event safe and fun and memorable for all. Please share your journey! If you're on social media, please post to our Facebook event using the hashtags #aztinaday and #LoveAZT throughout the weekend. Include your section number too (#section3). If you prefer Instagram, tag us @aztassociation. Show us who is out on the trail with you, and what you're seeing. We love selfies with pretty backdrops. Please consider registering or donating in support of AZT in a DAY today!