Flagstaff Biking Organization continues to make progress towards completing the Flagstaff Loop Trail with the help of a $5000 grant from REI. These funds are being used, through a Memorandum of Understanding with the Coconino National Forest, to hire an American Conservation Experience (ACE) crew to construct a more remote, technical section of the trail on Coconino National Forest land. ACE will be further leveraging these funds by matching REI’s contribution with an in-kind matching donation of Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) volunteers’ time.
“This REI grant is a great example of how we are able to leverage our relationships with governmental groups like the City of Flagstaff, Coconino County and the Forest Service to channel support from a company like REI into a project like the Flagstaff Loop Trail that benefits the whole community,” states Anthony Quintile, Trail Program coordinator for Flagstaff Biking Organization. “Having the ability to work locally with a group like ACE, who brings expertise and a strong volunteer ethic to the equation, is icing on the cake.”
The goal of the Flagstaff Loop Trail is to provide an exceptional multiuse, non-motorized recreational experience close to the urban fringe. When completed the 42 mile trail will circumnavigate Flagstaff, providing access from all areas of the city. The concept is that of an outer wheel surrounding Flagstaff, with the linking trails acting as spokes entering the city (the Flagstaff Urban Trail System). The wheel will then link to the communities outside the city limits and to the network of Forest Service trails. The Loop Trail will utilize a variety of Forest Service trails, abandoned roads, the Flagstaff Urban Trail System, State Land department trail easements and the Arizona Trail.
REI designates three percent of the previous year’s operating profit to its annual grants program. Because REI employees have the most direct connection to local
nonprofits, store employees nominate organizations from their local community. REI invites selected nominees to apply for grant funding. Eligible organizations must be outdoor nonprofits that promote active volunteerism
through their programs, such as hands-on trail building or restoration events.
Throughout this year, Flagstaff Biking Organization will host twelve volunteer trail construction and maintenance events with the Flagstaff District of the Coconino National Forest and the Coconino County Parks and Recreation Department. Of those dozen events, five will be constructing sections of the Flagstaff Loop Trail.