Happy spring 2023!  As we start 2023, we are reflecting on how amazing 2022 was for the Flagstaff trail community.  Volunteer trail building events co-sponsored by Flagstaff Biking Organization (FBO) with the U.S. Forest Service tallied 720 volunteer hours and 14,526 feet of trail maintained or built!  The focus of those efforts was on the Mount Elden Dry Lake Hills Recreation Project (MEDL).  A detailed wrap-up on the 2022 season can be found here:  https://flagstaffbiking.org/2022-trail-program-wrap-up/

And here:  https://flagstafftrailsinitiative.org/2022-flagstaff-ranger-district-trails-accomplishments/?

Current Fire/Flood Closures
Here’s the current map of routes in the Pipeline Forest Closure Order:

What’s Next in 2023?

The Flagstaff Ranger District (FRD) Volunteer Events Calendar for 2023 is posted on the Flagstaff Trails Initiative’s website:  https://flagstafftrailsinitiative.org/2023-flagstaff-ranger-district-volunteer-events-calendar/?

In addition to FBO events on Saturdays, https://flagstaffbiking.org/mountain/trail-program/trail-schedule/, the FRD will also be holding volunteer events beginning in May on just about every Thursday at 3pm.  Expect future announcements on locations but similar to 2022 the focus will be on realigning and building new trails in the MEDL project area.  Because of the epic winter, however, first up on the schedule is the Campbell Mesa trail system to address long-overdue maintenance.  After the snow melts, we’ll then shift attention to reroutes on the upper Schultz Creek trail to address flood impacts from post-2022 Pipeline Fire flooding.  Motorized access to the Schultz Pass area will still be limited but we expect to make progress on the proposed Little Gnarly and Climb 3 realignments as part of MEDL.  A description of the project is here:  https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=38239

Flood damage to Schultz Creek Trail, photo credit John Coe
Flood damage to Schultz Pass Road
Flood damage to Schultz Pass Road

The FRD recently released a 2-year trail plan for City of Flagstaff-Inner Basin pipeline, waterline road, and Schultz Pass road (420rd).  Public comments are being solicited until April 12 but we expect the project to begin later this summer.  We’ll post updates if there are additional closures in the area.  You can also review the entire plan here:  https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=63360

As part of MEDL we are working on grant funding for the new Sunset Ridge directional flow-type trail with bike-optimized features in partnership with the FRD.  Once funding is secured for hiring of a professional trail contractor for this project but hope to break ground on the project in July.

The FRD Thursday volunteer events will be primarily focused on the Schultz Creek stacked loop trail system.  Efforts will then shift to reroutes on the Lower Oldham trail and connections to Buffalo Park and then later in the summer or early fall, the lower Red Onion and Ginger trails.

In Other Trail News

The original Observatory Mesa Proposed Trail Plan Map, to be revised soon.
The original Observatory Mesa Proposed Trail Plan Map, to be revised soon.

The Observatory Mesa trails plan will be back out for public comment later this spring.  The planners have responded to the comments and are currently working with Lowell Observatory to address their concerns.  We have been told to then expect a revised draft to go out to stakeholders with a community meeting targeted for late May and a City Council presentation in June.  You can find our comments on the initial draft plan here:  https://flagstaffbiking.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/July_2022-FBO-ObservatoryMesa-Comment-Letter.pdf

Why Your Support of FBO Matters

With your help we can continue our mountain bike advocacy efforts and to build and maintain trails. We are so grateful for all the folks who have participated over the years, either by signing up for a volunteer event, donating to the Trail Fund, or by just staying in the loop by being on the email list. With implementation of the MEDL project now well underway, funding is tight and Flagstaff Biking Organization is seeking to generate substantial donations to achieve the best possible outcome for this project. We need your help to get these and other projects across the finish line! Your generosity will help FBO, in partnership with the Forest Service, make these things happen!

You make our trails great and our community a wonderful place to live.