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Keeping our trails healthy best way to keep in shape

Riding happy through the pandemic, December 2020: Sedona Area Youth.

Riding happy through the pandemic, December 2020: Sedona Area Youth.

Originally Published: April 27, 2021 10:51 a.m.

Red Rock Trails have become a special solace during the pandemic. They connect us to the adventure and beauty of Red Rock Country and allow us to temporarily escape the worries of COVID-19.

The Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund, a local non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization, works hard to provide the funding the U.S. Forest Service needs to maintain and expand the trail system for our benefit.

SRRTF was formed in 2013 to seek donations to supplement the underfunded Forest Service Red Rock District and ensure that all donations are used to enhance trails in and near Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek.

Recent projects include 30-plus miles of new trail in the “Western Gateway” area and trail additions including Pyramid and Skywalker trails.

This year’s special projects include maintenance of Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness trails and the Bell Rock Pathway, and new trail construction east of VOC.

So, while COVID-19 disrupts our lives in so many ways, the SRRTF continues to help the US Forest Service maintain and expand the number of trails available to us for healthy recreation.

“In these unpredictable and hectic times, the one thing that is certain is that outdoor exercise on the Red Rock Trails is good for the body and mind,” according to local Doctor Neil Singer.

Doctor Singer encourages his patients to get regular exercise and being on the trails is a great way to achieve this. As a hiker himself, and contributor to SRRTF, Dr. Singer knows firsthand the benefits of the trails.

According to the website of Samaritan Health Services “Even a simple walk outside can reduce feelings of fatigue and boost energy levels.”

The website goes on to say that getting outside plays an important part in improving our mental and our physical health.

Numerous studies, posted on the site, suggest that outdoor exercise is associated with greater feelings of revitalization, increased energy and positive attitude.

Our quality of life in this community depends on the health of our trail system. Sedona and Village of Oak Creek residents know a good thing.

The trail system was rated as the most valued recreation resource during a recent survey, naming the trail system as an asset to the community for health and lifestyle. According to the survey 87% of residents are interested in Red Rock trails.

As locals, we enjoy a resort-town lifestyle, with world-class golfing, spas and restaurants, largely because of the attraction of our trail system. Visitors to our trail system bring life to our local economy, supporting amenities that might not otherwise be available to us all.

What does it take to keep our trail system “healthy”? Forrest Saville, Red Rock District trail manager, answered this question. “The most important thing is people who care.  That provides the community that supports the system which in turn provides the money, crews, volunteers etc.” He added that, “it takes a lot of Forest Service planning, logistics, and local knowledge to care for this complex of a trail system.”

Our community demonstrates we care a lot about trails. The depth of community support for SRRTF includes all sectors of the wider community: grantors, events, local businesses, government, and most essentially, individual donors.

In 2020, SRRTF provided monies that helped the US Forest Service complete more than 300 miles of trail maintenance and improvements on non-motorized trails in the Red Rock Ranger District.

Now more than ever, the work of Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund matters. Keeping our trails “healthy” is all about maintenance and enhancement.

When we support the maintenance of our trails we do so in our own best interest.

To explore the work of the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund and recent accomplishments, visit the website: www.RedRockTrailFund.org