The 2019 trail work season has wrapped up and the numbers show that, despite the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project helicopter thinning and the Museum Fire closures, Flagstaff Biking Organization and the Flagstaff Trail Faeries mobile trail crew got a lot done on Flagstaff area trails.
There were seven FBO volunteer Trail Days on Little Elden Trail and we were able to open 2 miles of new trail to the public on the National Trails Day event in June. Another Trail Day on the Arizona National Scenic trail near Aspen Corner and Snowbowl was held in July where we built drains and closed a braided section in the beautiful meadow above Alfa Fia Tank. The Mount Elden/Dry Lake Hills area largely reopened in late June, after the helicopter logging, but closed again because of the Museum Fire in late July. Thankfully no trail events were canceled because of this unfortunate event but we anticipate lots of work to do in the burn scar in the upcoming years. FBO was a partner with the Coconino Trail Riders, Northern Arizona Trail Runners, the Coconino Horsemen’s Alliance and the Coconino National Forest in the annual Pedals v Pistons v Horseshoes v Hiking Boots Trail Day, an event that encourages cooperation and community between all single-track trail users. In early October we held an event on Rocky Ridge where we built drains and repaired tread impacted by FWPP thinning efforts. We wrapped up this year’s Trail Days back on Little Elden with the hopes of finishing the nearly four-mile realignment. Alas, the completion of this important project will have to wait until next year, although we are getting close!
The Flagstaff Trail Faeries had an amazingly productive year in establishing themselves as the go-to strike team for quality volunteer trail work! This small crew spent numerous Friday afternoons rebuilding corners, building drains, and re-establishing single-track in widened, braided sections on Chimney Trail in Fort Valley throughout the summer. These informal events are known as Friday Happy Hour and all are welcome to attend. (See the Flagstaff Trail Faeries Facebook page.) The Trail Fairies have been leading the layout and alignment for our Trail Days on Little Elden, and elsewhere, throughout the season. Their expertise has been critical in completing complicated tasks such as building the difficult drainage crossing on Little Elden, a drainage likely enlarged from flooding following the 1977 Radio Fire.
FBO received a $75,000 grant from the Catena Foundation to be used to hire American Conservation Experience to build the Heart Trail. We are matching the remaining $14,600 from our trail fund. (Donate here!) About 3 miles of this unsustainable trail has been realigned and the remainder will be completed in spring 2020. Other substantial fund-raising successes include an $8,200+ donation from the Arizona Snowbowl Flagstaff Enduro Presented by Absolute Bikes, $500 donation from the Flagstaff Mountain Film Festival Showcase Series showing of Anthill Films’ “Return to Earth”, where we also raised approximately $2,300 in private donations thanks to a generous impromptu match offer from Elliot Martich and JP Bonn and Mary Mulde, (thanks to Scott Countryman and Robert Henderson for setting up this opportunity!), another $1695 from a raffle hosted by Absolute Bikes and Specialized, approximately $1,200 in funds raised thanks to the Blue Wolf Events Barn Burner Mountain Bike Race and Historic Brewing cooperative effort for us to provide adult beverages to the Barn Burner Racers, and $888 from New Belgium Brewing and Altitudes Bar and Grille as part of their Pints for Public Lands.
It is important to recognize the volunteer time that went into these efforts! FBO volunteers and Trail Faeries contributed over 2,000 hours this year on Coconino National Forest multi-use trails, including 1,700 hours alone on the Little Elden trail. We’ve spent countless additional hours in meetings with the Flagstaff Trails Initiative, the Mount Elden Dry Lake Hills Recreation stakeholders group and others advocating on behalf of mountain biking this year. Huge thanks to everyone who gave their time and energy to all these efforts!
And last, but not least, we couldn’t have done it without our Trail Day sponsors and partners! Huge thanks to Absolute Bikes, Aspen Sports, Biff’s Bagels, Cosmic Cycles, Kickstand Kafe, Flagstaff Bicycle, Flagstaff Bicycle Revolution, Fratelli Pizza, Mountain Sports, Nackard Pepsi, Run Flagstaff, and Single Track Bicycle Shop for sponsoring our Trail Days with cash for advertising and food and beverages to entice our volunteers. Our partners, Arizona Conservation Corps, American Conservation Experience, Arizona Trail Association, Northern Arizona Trail Runners, Coconino Trail Riders, Coconino Horseman’s Alliance, the Coconino National Forest and Coconino County Parks and Recreation, are vital to building the vibrant trail community and amazing trail system that we have in the Flagstaff area.
Our trail volunteers and sponsors rock!
Hope to see everyone out at volunteer events next year!