We would like to thank the Mountain Bike Association of Arizona, (MBAA), and the American Conservation Experience, (ACE), for the funding and matched-work that is going into restoring the most damaged sections of Little Bear Trail.

The MBAA gave Flagstaff Biking Organization a $5000 grant that was matched by $5000 of funds raised over the years from entry fees paid for the annual Flagstaff Super-D Race. ACE then committed to matching this financial contribution with volunteer time.

This past fall, an ACE crew did a substantial amount of work circumventing the most devastated section of trail with a new switch back and tread.

Read on for details:

  • Title of Project: Little Bear Trail
  • Project Partner: Flagstaff Biking Organization and Coconino National Forest
  • Location: Little Bear Trail, Coconino National For-est, Flagstaff, AZ
  • Dates: September 9– September 18, 2015
  • Total Days worked: 10
  • Total Hours Contributed: 1,131
  • Volunteer hours In-Kind Match: 491
  • Crew Supervisors: Jimmy Gregson, Alex Fisher, Bryan Wright

Project Overview:

American Conservation Experience (ACE) was tasked with rerouting a portion of the Little Bear Trail, a popu-lar mountain biking trail, that had been severely damaged by post fire flooding. A heavy precipitation event, during the 2013 monsoon season, caused extensive damage in the drainages and sections of adjacent trail. In these areas the trail was completely destroyed with many feet of soil being removed. A field reconnaissance trip with Sean Murphy (USFS) and Anthony Quintile (FBO) identified one area of significant damage where the trail crossed an eroded drainage (see photo above, the arrow shows the trail alignment before damage), made a turn and re-crossed the same drainage lower down the slope. It was decided that a reroute of the trail, to make a turn before crossing the drainage, would provide the most sustainable long term outcome. The trail re-alignment was designed with sustainable grades, dry stone retaining walls and one switchback turn to create a long lasting solution for this portion of trail.

All trail work was performed to USFS trail standards as defined in the USDA Trail Construction and Maintenance Notebook. The re-route involved the establishment of an 8′ wide and 10′ high corridor through primarily pine and spruce habitats. Once established, the crew proceeded to install a 30-inch wide tread surface, which involved cutting a full bench into a steep cross slope. Full bench tread construction places the entire width of the trail on the hillside, using no overburden as tread surface. The tread was rerouted using a switchback just before the wash to avoid two wash crossings still threatened by flooding. The reroute involved the construction of two rock retaining walls to provide tread retention, a maximum sustainable grade of 12%, and the relocation of large rocks and the removal of tree stumps to create an inviting trail. To help make this construction safe and effective, specialized equipment was used to do this, including using resources found at websites akin to https://www.platformsandladders.com/mobile-platforms/ for the process.


The main objective of the ACE crew on this project was to mitigate the erosive effects of the steep hillsides and ravines that have washed out sections of the Little Bear Trail with properly designed and executed trail construction. Results and

Measurable Accomplishments:

  • New Trail Construction Miles: 0.15
  • Brushing Mileage: 0.13
  • Hazard Tree Removed: 1
  • Logs Bucked & Cleared: 1
  • New Switchbacks Built: 1
  • Large Rocks Removed: 10
  • Large Rocks Moved by Rigging: 7
  • Cubic Feet of Rock Quarried/Split: 98.3
  • Square Feet of Retaining Wall Built: 73

Trail maintenance photos