Trails system in VOC area get much-needed maintenance

Great news -- a $37,000 grant will fund trail construction and maintenance on trails near Village of Oak Creek. These trails will be targeted for maintenance: Templeton, Baldwin, Highline, and Cathedral Rock trails. Funds will also build a 0.7-mile trail between Courthouse Butte and Bell Rock.

The Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund (SRRTF) applied for the Yavapai County Title II funding in 2016 and recently heard that $37,000 had been approved. Yavapai County Supervisor Tom Thurman is on the Resource Advisory Board that approved this grant. Funds are to improve watershed conditions, visitor safety, and outdoor recreation. SRRTF President Jennifer Burns said, “Our goal is to get as much funding as we can to maintain local trails!”

The Cathedral Rock/Templeton/Baldwin trails receive over 250,000 trail users annually. These trails are near Oak Creek, designated as a State of Arizona Outstanding Water and warranting strong protection. Work will stabilize the trail surface and prevent soil from washing into Oak Creek. The Cathedral Rock Trail will be improved for visitor safety. The Templeton Trail has segments next to Oak Creek undercut by flood waters and requiring repair. Baldwin Trail will have alignment improvements. Work is scheduled for fall 2017.

For over two decades’ trail users have been “wandering” between Bell Rock and Courthouse formations without benefit of an official well-constructed trail. Numerous “social” routes have developed and visitors are sometimes “cliffed out”, requiring rescue. This project will construct 0.7 mile of new trail, through a piece of the Munds Mountain Wilderness in the saddle between the rock formations. Once completed, hikers will have an official trail that connects to the Bell Rock Pathway and encircles Bell Rock, meeting a high demand for this route.

SRRTF also secured $10,000 from a Coconino County Community Grant Fund supported by Supervisor Matt Ryan. These funds are to improve worn out segments of the north end of the Bell Rock Pathway. Supervisor Ryan is dedicated to supporting trails within Coconino County that benefit resident outdoor recreation.

The Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund’s mission is to help maintain and improve public trails on National Forest land near Sedona and Village of Oak Creek. They do this by gathering donations, grants, bequests and other funds to use for trail work. Through their agreement with the local Red Rock Ranger District, the SRRTF contributes all the funds for local trail improvements. Forest Service Recreation Manager, Adam Barnett, stated that “partners like the SRRTF make it possible to keep up with basic essential maintenance on these hugely popular trails.” Despite recent grant success, Burns said “the SRRTF relies most heavily on small donations from individuals who care about local trails.” For more information or to donate, go to www.redrocktrailfund.com

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