The Blog

Help Save the Trails in Flagstaff, Arizona

i Nov 5th No Comments by

Well, it’s been 4 years since the USFS released the “TravelManagement Rule” (TMR), the document that mandates that all of the National Forests (NF) form, adopt and implement a plan which, for the most part, will effectively ban motorized “cross country travel” on the NF’s.

Here’s a link to the document if your interested in reading it
(I downloaded it to my computer years ago and have read it
4 times, so far).
 
http://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/programs/ohv/final.pdf
 
Motorized travel will be restricted to “Designated Routes”
(DR) which can be roads of various classifications,
trails of various classifications, or “areas” which can be open
to cross country travel (the Cinder Hills north of Flagstaff
will be designated as an “area”).
 
As many of you know, there are some awesome singletrack
(ST) trails throughout the Coconino National Forest (CNF).
Our local motorcycle club, the Coconino Trail Riders (CTR)
have been trying to get these trails “designated” with the
CNF for years, many years before the TMR was released.
 
These ST trails have a lot of history, many of the trails have
been used by dirtbikers for over thirty years. Some trails
were used back in the 1960’s which make them over 40
years old. I first rode some of the ST trails back in 1977 and
have ridden them regularly since.
 
In 1981 and 1983 there were Enduro races held which used
some of the trails we’re now trying save.
 
If you visit CTR’s website,  http://www.coconinotrailriders.org/  , you’ll find maps that
show many of the trails and some of the letters and
proposals that CTR and it’s members have submitted to the
USFS/CNF.
 
Here’s the “situation”. We, CTR, have been working with
various CNF employees for several years now to come up
with a “plan” for motorized recreation on the CNF.
Unfortunately, the “team” that has been assigned the task of
road/trail/area designation under the TMR has focused their
time and resources primarily on roads and have largely
ignored motorized, recreational trails, claiming that they “do
not have the time or resources” to evaluate the ST trails for
inclusion as DR’s under the TMR.
 
A few years ago, I contacted Brian Hawthorne of the Blue
Ribbon Coalition (BRC) to find out if and what we, CTR, were
doing everything possible to either convince the CNF to
include the ST trails in the TMR, or, to help us “posture” our
position for future legal action, if necessary. Since that
initial conversation, Brian has came down from Idaho on
several occasions to attend meetings with me between the
USFS and CTR, as well as attend several of our “Trail Days”
where we build new ST trail….. yes, you read correctly, we,
CTR, build NEW ST trails with the CNF Recreation Staff.
 
These NEW ST trails will be included in the TMR as
motorized DR’s, but they only consist of less than 30 miles
of trail. The remaining hundreds of miles of ST trails are at
risk of being closed “de facto” due to the CNF’s elimination
of “cross country travel” and they’re not being recognized as
Designated Routes.
 
While we are still meeting with the USFS attempting to get
the ST trails either included in the TMR, or under other
methods. The possibility that we will need to seek a “legal”
remedy, seems likely. That means using BRC’s legal team to
first file an appeal with the Regional Forester of USFS
Region 3 in Albuquerque, and possibly pursue litigation in
US Federal Court.
 
While using BRC’s “legal eagles” is the most cost effective,
they don’t work for free. Last year, CTR started a “Legal
Fund”, per the recommendation of the BRC.
 
We call CTR’s Legal Fund, our “War Chest”….. funds that we
use to fight trail closures. We need to amass these funds
BEFORE they are needed as the filing of appeals and motions
usually need to happen very quickly and the legal folks need
to be paid in a timely manner so that we do not cause any
unnecessary financial burden on the BRC’s coffers.
 
 
Here’s how you can help…..
 
 
Any donation to CTR will help….. $5, $10, $20, $100….
whatever you can spare will be greatly appreciated.
 
 
It’s very easy to donate, as we have PayPal on our website.
Or, you can send a check to:
 
 
Coconino Trail Riders
P.O. Box 1094
Flagstaff, Arizona 86002
 
Any donation of $25.00 or more…… we’ll send you a super
cool CTR t-shirt. Just let us know what size and where to
send it.
 
CTR is a 501(c)(3) “Not for Profit” entity, which means that
any donation to CTR is tax deductable. If you make a
donation of $250.00 or more and need a receipt to keep you
“happy” with the IRS, let us know and we’ll send you one.
 
If the funds collected are not needed for legal fees, or if
there are excess funds, CTR will forward/donate those
funds to the BRC, or use the funds to build/maintain trails.
 
Many thanks,
 
Keith Greenwalt
Land Use Officer
Coconino Trail Riders