We have been working with Sean Murphy since our first volunteer event in 2002. We had arranged for an IMBA Trail Care Crew to come out and teach their take on sustainable trail building and the steps and considerations that go into developing and maintaining trails. Sean was there, part of the Flagstaff Ranger District Trail Crew, and he asked if some of the things that we had helped to lay out and build, the features on Poker Trail in Fort Valley, were the types of things mountain bikers wanted to see on the trails.
Throughout the years Sean has been a key player in implementing and maintaining trails and partnerships. His guidance and persistence was vital to the implementation of the Flagstaff Loop Trail, the Arizona National Scenic Trail, the Fort Valley Ecosystem Restoration Project Trail System, and many other projects. His signature safety briefings at our sponsored Trail Day events, always reminding us to bring our “snacky-poos and chapeaus”, is greatly missed.
We worked with him to twice restore Little Bear and Little Elden Trails, as well as the lesser appreciated Deer Hill Trail, after the Schultz Fire and subsequent flooding. These iconic trails needed the leadership of a true “trail guy” as well as someone capable of orchestrating the myriad moving pieces of different grants and agreements and folks working on the ground. Sean was that guy.
Sean was equally responsible for moving the Mount Elden Dry Lake Hills Recreation Project forward from a single letter about adopting a few downhill mountain bike trails to the comprehensive trails strategy that it has become.
Sean twice helped move volunteer mobile trail crew groups forward with FBO. Although the first effort foundered somewhat, (no fault of Sean’s), the second time has been a charm and his leadership has helped put the Flagstaff Trail Faeries in place as a significant group of contributors to the trails. He was also the person behind putting the volunteer sawyer program in place that has been key in keeping our trails free of deadfall.
Throughout the years he was the Forest Service’s presence at innumerable committee and public meetings that helped further the cause of sustainable trails by generating public engagement from all manner of trail user groups.
Without Sean making sure that grants were applied for and grant obligations were met, that volunteer events were lined out and supported, that specialists were consulted and had signed-off, that the trail alignments were sustainable, our trail system would be significantly less enjoyable and extensive than it is today. He has always been patient in explaining the challenges in negotiating the processes and regulations present within the Forest Service in a way that kept us, and other stakeholders, engaged and enthusiastic about our partnership.
For Sean’s contributions to mountain biking opportunities in the Flagstaff area, we recognize him with a brick to be installed at Heritage Square.
Thank you Sean!