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Honoring America’s Veterans

Arizona Trail Association proudly celebrates Veterans Day. Today is an opportunity to salute all those who have prioritized country over self, and made untold sacrifices so that we can live a better life and enjoy public lands and resources like the Arizona National Scenic Trail. We invite all Arizona veterans to spend time on the Arizona Trail – hiking, running, backpacking, mountain biking, horseback riding, volunteering, or just sitting quietly and soaking up the therapeutic effects of nature. We are grateful for your service and hope the trail provides all the adventure and inspiration you seek, and perhaps even more. In our commitment to connecting veterans to the Arizona Trail, the ATA will continue to organize Veterans Volunteer Work Weekends throughout 2021. If you know a veteran that may be interested in spending time with other vets in beautiful locations to help with trail construction and maintenance, please encourage them contact our Volunteer Program Manager:

How Has the Arizona Trail Helped You This Year?

Since March, more people have been heading into the great outdoors than ever before. We are proud that the Arizona Trail has received record visitation, and provided a safe outdoor space at a time when we need it most. If you’re among the many who have visited the AZT and Arizona’s public lands during the pandemic, we want to hear your story. Please take a moment to fill out this simple form online. If you prefer to upload photos, video or audio file instead of writing, we’ll take that, too. The ATA is assembling personal stories about how trails, parks and public lands have been beneficial during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we sincerely appreciate you taking a few minutes to share your stories with us by visiting this page: Learn Trail Maintenance Skills Through New Videos Online

We are pleased to premier the ATA’s new Trail Skills Institute Video Series on our Youtube channel. The videos were produced in partnership with Flagline Trails, American Conservation Experience (ACE) and Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC) by Outdoor Evolution Media. They are being filmed in various locations across the state and include tips on trail maintenance in the wide variety of environments the Arizona Trail covers in its 800-mile journey from Mexico to Utah. Click here to see the first of three videos currently available: Why We Build Trails? The other two videos cover Desert Brushing Techniques and Evaluating Erosion. Future videos in the series will cover topics such as brushing in forested areas, solutions to erosion issues, and tips for long term vegetation management. The video series is free to anyone with an internet connection and is designed to make basic skills development accessible to a diverse audience. They are a supplement to our hands-on Trail Skills Institute, with dates for in-person training in 2021 to be announced soon. Best Backpacking Trail!

Thanks to readers of the Tucson Weekly, the Arizona Trail has been named The Best Backpacking Trail for 2020! Awards like this are only possible through the support of thousands of volunteers who help care for the trail, and the members, donors and business partners who fund our ambitious endeavors. If you’re among them, please join us in celebrating this achievement. Bush Fire Update

With special approval from the Tonto National Forest, the ATA has been surveying recent wildfire damage to the Arizona Trail and surrounding landscape. As you may recall, the Bush Fire started on June 13 and consumed 193,455 acres, including portions of the AZT’s Four Peaks and Pine Mountain Passages. A complete post-burn conditions assessment has been completed by ATA staff and key volunteers, and recommendations for emergency stabilization have been provided to the Tonto National Forest. This information supported their request for Burned Area Emergency Response (BAER) funding, and a detailed work plan has been given to the conservation corps leaders that will be conducting the work. Beginning last week, a team from Conservation Corps New Mexico (CCNM) hiked into the Four Peaks Wilderness to begin the arduous task of armoring drainages, improving sloughing hillsides, and preparing the Arizona Trail for winter precipitation. While much of the Bush Fire was a medium intensity burn, many areas were severe and the scorched hillsides above the trail are so steep they’re likely to carry heavy volumes of water, ash, charcoal and downed trees. Conservation corps members are camping in a remote location for a week within the wilderness and are working 10-hour days to get the work done. Due to lack of summer monsoons, all of the water they need for drinking, cooking and cleaning was hauled in on the backs of equines. CCNM is concentrating their efforts on the Arizona Trail within Four Peaks between Pigeon Spring Trailhead and Granite Spring. We look forward to sharing news about progress and photographs with you soon. Most of the AZT within burned areas throughout the state remains closed in the interest of public safety. Please check the Current Closures page of our website when planning your adventures, as well as the Guthook smartphone app. Job Opportunities

The Arizona Trail Association is excited to announce these two new employment opportunities: Trail Technician The ATA seeks an exceptional individual to participate in trail construction and maintenance activities on the Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT) statewide as an integral part of our Trail Operations Team. Ideal candidates will be capable of working long hours outdoors under various environmental conditions using a variety of mechanized and hand tools. Project locations often involve miles of hiking in the backcountry. The Trail Technician will work under the direction of the Trail Director to plan, coordinate and implement priority construction and maintenance activities on the AZT. This will include travel to various locations throughout southern Arizona to work alongside other trail professionals, including machine contractors, conservation corps members, volunteer groups, and others supporting the Trail Operations Program. Most projects will be scheduled Tuesday through Friday, with the possibility of some weekend work to support volunteer trail work activities. - $19/hour - Full-time seasonal, not to exceed 40 hours per week for five months - Approximate dates of employment: November 18, 2020 – April 30, 2021 - Application Period: until November 17, 2020 Click here to read the full job description and for more information on how to apply. Field Coordinator The ATA seeks an exceptional individual to coordinate and lead volunteer activities on the Arizona National Scenic Trail (AZT) statewide as a Field Coordinator. Ideal candidates will be capable of creating a safe and welcoming environment for volunteers while providing the leadership necessary to achieve the project goals to maintain and improve the trail and engage more individuals in the AZT experience. The Field Coordinator will work with the Volunteer Program Manager (VPM) to plan, coordinate and implement volunteer activities on the trail. This will include travel to various locations along the 800-mile trail to lead volunteer crews for trail construction and maintenance projects of varying degrees of technical complexity and size. Most projects will be scheduled for weekends with some overnight or multi-day events possible. Intermittent weekday scheduling may also be a possibility. - $200/day for approximately 20 weekends (40 days) annually - Application Period: November 5 – December 21, 2020 Click here to read the full job description and for more information on how to apply. The Mt. Lemmon Gravel Grinder is a proud support of the Arizona Trail Association. The Mt. Lemmon Gravel Grinder is an off-road cycling event held annually on the last Saturday in October with distance options of 60, 50, 40 and 13 miles. With a limited field of only 500 riders, the Mt. Lemmon Gravel Grinder includes awesome backcountry gravel/dirt roads at the foot of the Santa Catalina Mountains with endless views across the San Pedro River Valley. Starting and finishing at the beautiful 3C Ranch near Oracle, event activities include live music, camping and accommodations, campground games, a robust communal campfire, and more. Mark your calendar for October 30, 2021 when the Mt. Lemmon Gravel Grinder returns! Secure your spot and learn more at The Mt. Lemmon Gravel Grinder is a Saguaro level Business Partner. Please support the local businesses that support the Arizona Trail.

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