Sedona-Red Rock Trail Fund smooths path for hikers
Locals know that the Red Rock Ranger District offers residents and visitors one of the finest trail systems in the country, making the Sedona area a unique experience for hikers, bikers, equestrians, walkers, and trail-runners.
In fact, over 1.7 million people enjoyed the 260 miles of local trails last year. These trails are supervised, signed, and maintained by our local Red Rock Ranger District, and over the past few years, this increased popularity coupled with reduced federal funding has resulted in significant shortfalls in the District's ability to maintain, improve, and protect these fragile trails.
Enter the Sedona-Red Rock Trail Fund, a volunteer-based, non-profit coalition of local trail users. Started two years ago, the Trail Fund has worked in partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, City of Sedona, Big Park Regional Coordinating Council, Chamber of Commerce, visitors, local businesses and individuals to raise money for the essential care and protection of these special trails.
Under an agreement with the USFS, every dollar raised has gone entirely toward the maintaining and improving our local trails.
Recent Trail Fund successes include partnering with the Chamber of Commerce to create the Sedona Trail Keepers Program. This program encourages local businesses to contribute $1,000 per year (for five years) toward trail maintenance, an amount that is then matched by the Chamber, yielding up to $250,000 of sustainable funding for the trails by 2021. Fourteen local businesses have already signed on to the program.
The Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund has also been successful in receiving a $10,000 grant from the City of Sedona this month and is currently applying for 2016 Yavapai County funds to be used for stabilization and improvement of the Cathedral Rock area trails (an effort unanimously supported by the Big Park Regional Coordinating Council).
The Trail Fund also encourages visitor donations through multiple, strategically located "donation cairns", and partnerships with local hotels and resorts.
Spearheaded by the Trail Fund, these efforts reflect a community-wide commitment to preserving our local trails and landscape in a sustainable and environmentally conscious way.
Due to Federal funding cuts, it is estimated that to adequately maintain our trails; the Trail Fund will need to raise about $100,000 per year.
To date, the Trail Fund has helped raise $120,000, much of which is already earmarked for badly needed, specific trail projects. With the continued support of residents, organizations, and businesses, the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund feels confident that it can provide the funding required by the USFS to protect and preserve our local trails and keep them safe and viable for years to come.
For more information on how to contribute or get involved visit the SRRTF website at: redrocktrailfund.com