Cyclists Coalition awarded $102,000 trail-building grant
COTTONWOOD – The Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition was recently awarded a $102,000 trail building grant from the Catena Foundation for Phase 2 of the Blowout Wash Trail System.
The Blowout Wash Trail System is a three-year construction project within the Verde Ranger District of the Prescott National Forest. It’s a 27-mile stacked, loop system to facilitate recreational opportunities, both close-in and farther-out, located on the east slope of Mingus Mountain adjacent to the communities of Cottonwood, Clarkdale and Jerome.
The system will connect to several housing developments, Yavapai College, and Cottonwood Riverfront Park.
According to Tom Palmer, PNF East Zone Recreation Program Manager, “the Project will begin to address the need for community connections to public lands through quality sustainable trail recreation opportunities that promote healthy lifestyles, recreation-based economic development, and stewardship of public lands for local residents and visitors.”
The first five miles of the project were completed in late spring of this year by volunteers and U.S. Forest Service personnel.
According to VVCC President Marty Glinsky, the project’s second-phase construction will build nine miles of loop trails utilizing Arizona Conservation Corps youth crews, volunteers and Forest Service personnel.
“Phase II also includes restoration actions by AZCC crews to stabilize the ground surface by shortening slope lengths, reducing water flow velocities and trapping sediment through wattle and seeding,” Glinsky said.
Lee Gault, the Arizona Conservation Corps director, said AZCC staffs trail crews with young adults, ages 18-25, will complete trail construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation under Forest Service supervision.
Phase II construction will begin this fall.
The project is the first of several community trails envisioned as part of the Verde Trails and Access Plan.
The Forest Service approved the VTAP environmental study in September 2018.
The VTAP includes approximately 120 miles of non-motorized and five miles of motorized trails within the Verde Ranger District of Prescott National Forest.
According to Mike Wight, Restoration and Trails Program Officer for the Catena Foundation, the organization’s focus on trails and youth cycling is rooted in the belief that improved recreation access for individuals and communities leads to an appreciation of natural spaces and can be a conduit for the development of local stewards, community well-being and the economy.
For more information about the Project, the Cycling Coalition’s website, vvcc.us.
Project donations are accepted either through the website or by mail at VVCC, P.O. Box 20332, Sedona, Arizona, 86341-0332.