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Maverick Fire in Mazatzal Mountains

Maverick Fire in Mazatzal Mountains

On May 17, the Maverick Fire was spotted in the Mazatzal Wilderness near Hells Hole southwest of Payson. The fire is creeping along the ground within the scar of the Willow Fire. Smoke may be visible from State Highway 87 (Beeline Highway) and nearby. Hikers on the Arizona Trail are advised to use caution as they travel through the area. The Tonto National Forest is monitoring the fire closely by air.

Prescribed Burns This Weekend near Flagstaff

The Coconino National Forest has announced a prescribed burn will likely occur on Sunday, May 19 and Monday, May 20 near Kendrick Park. This will impact the Arizona Trail between trail mile 615.0 and 615.7 (north of Kelly Tank and FR 514) on Passage 34. AZT users can expect a minor detour during the burn. Approximately 2.3 miles north of Kelly Tank, continue on FR 514 to FR 523. Turn left/wes and follow FR 523 for 0.25-mile. Then turn right/north on FR 416 and the AZT. Click here for a map of the closure area.

The Slate 4 Rx Burn will reduce fuels on the forest in the interest of forest health and preventing future catastrophic wildfires. Please respect all closures and detours in the interest of public safety, watch for information posted on the trail, and thank the firefighters for their hard work when you see them out in the field.

For more information on the Slate 4 Prescribed Fire, contact the Coconino National Forest at (928) 527-3600.

The Official Backcountry Meal of the AZT

Sasquatch Fuel, an outdoor adventure food manufacturer, just announced its collaboration with the Arizona Trail Association to release the official backcountry meal of the Arizona Trail. The collaboration resulted in a nutritious and flavorful meal called Kickin’ Cactus Bowl, in reference to its spice and unique ingredients, including prickly pear cactus pads (nopales).

Additional ingredients represent a classic Southwestern meal: white rice, black beans, sweet corn, tomato, red bell pepper, lime, chili pepper, allspice, cumin, oregano, cloves, garlic, cilantro, green bell peppers, onion and salt. One pouch fuels adventurers with 409 calories, 13 grams of protein, and 89 carbohydrates.

Sasquatch Fuel encourages backcountry exploration by providing key nutrients in the form of gourmet tasting meals that just require water. The Kickin’ Cactus Bowl requires just nine ounces of boiling water and ten minutes to make. All meals are shelf stable, lightweight, and ideal for backpacking or camping. Among the reasons the ATA chose to partner with Sasquatch Fuel were the unique flavors and sustenance of their meal, the credibility of their manufacturing practices, and the integrity of their conservation efforts.

A common core component in the mission of the ATA and Sasquatch Fuel is sustaining public lands. Sasquatch Fuel provides pouches that break down wherever microbes are present. Thus, the packaging is compostable or burnable in fire permissible areas.

Sasquatch Fuel will donate up to 20% of sales from each Kickin’ Cactus Bowl to benefit the ATA's mission. Meals are currently available through Sasquatch Fuel’s website and coming soon to outdoor stores near you.

Breaking Ground on Babbitt Ranch Singletrack

We are very excited to announce that trail construction has begun on the long-awaited Babbitt Ranch Singletrack Project. This goal is to replace 13 miles of dirt roads on Passage 35 with singletrack, greatly improving the Arizona Trail between Flagstaff and Grand Canyon. This conceptual trail alignment has been in the works for 17 years, and after approval from Babbitt Ranches in 2018 and dedicated funding from Coconino County, we aspire to have the trail built and ready for hikers, runners, mountain bikers and equestrians to enjoy in 2020. But we need your help to get 'er done.

The ATA broke ground on the project on April 14 during the second day of the Trail Skills Institute: Module 4 (Re-Route Design & Trail Layout). Under the expert guidance of Matt Roberts, Principal of Flagline Trails LLC, ATA volunteers learned the art and science of trail design near Chapel Mountain. The southernmost segment of the Babbitt Ranch Singletrack Project will be built by hand with the assistance of ATA volunteers. Other segments will be built with Coconino County machine operators and youth from Arizona Conservation Corps.

The next opportunity for trail construction is July 20-21. We will be adding additional volunteer work dates to the Calendar and Volunteer website over the next few weeks, and sincerely hope you're able to join us in constructing the next great piece of the AZT. This is one of the ATA's priority projects for 2019 and supports our mission to replace dirt roads with trail. If you're unable to join us for trail building experiences this summer and autumn, please make a donation in support of this important project.

Big thanks to REI Co-op and Coconino County for their financial contributions, which have allowed us to begin to turn this dream into reality.

Oh the Places You'll Go...

On April 9, ATA Trail Operations staff and an archaeologist from SWCA Environmental Consultants ventured deep into the Tonto National Forest on old mining roads to explore a potential site for an Arizona Trail Rainwater Collector. Thanks to our friends at Tucson Off Road Cyclists and Activists we were able to borrow a Polaris Ranger to traverse the steep, rocky, rugged country south of the Town of Superior. After two hours, the crew arrived at a remote location near AZT mile 288.6 on the Alamo Canyon Passage.

This location is halfway between the Gila River and the windmill at Picketpost Trailhead -- a particularly dry segment (over 20 miles in length) that remains one of the driest and most formidable along the entire Arizona Trail. Over the past two years the ATA has been developing a design for a rainwater collector unit that can be assembled in the field by volunteers, and can store up to 2,500 gallons of rainwater. It will fill from monsoon rains in the summertime for use during the autumn season. Then, winter rains will refill it for the busy springtime trail season.

The AZT Rainwater Collector is the first of its kind, and we look forward to fabricating, installing and monitoring the unit and its water quality for a period of one year. This will help inform the ATA and land management agencies as to the possibility of future units being installed along other dry segments of the trail.

Thanks to the National Environmental Education Foundation for supporting this innovative project with a Restoration and Resilience Grant.

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