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  1. #1
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    Attendee Responses at the 10/25/12 RTCA Meeting in Sedona

    In Sedona we are in the process of using the RTCA to help the USFS formulate a new long term trail plan for the Coconino National Forest. The current forest plan hasn't been updated since 1998 and the monthly two hours meetings with the Sedona and Village of Oak Creek user groups are estimated to last about 12 months.
    At the 11/29/12 meeting one of the attendees asked whether the meeting process could be speeded up by using information from previous RTCA meetings with similar groups to help us with our meetings.

    The facilitator lead us to believe that such meeting summaries from other meetings would not be helpful for us to possibly move our process forward more quickly. So far this is feedback received from the attendees when asked for their Individual input – “What are your desired outcomes for trails around Sedona and Village of OakCreek? What are your most pressing concerns about trails now? What are your desired outcomes for this planning process?”

    This is the link to the 10/25/12 meeting (https://docs.google.com/file/d/0Bztd...WFE/edit?pli=1)

    These were the 30 second responses from the approximate seventy-five 10/25/12 attendees:

    Maintenance
    Illegal trails
    Legal trails for all mountain bike abilities
    Access to trails and to unique areas
    Loop trails (Sedona loop trail completed)
    More trails within the village
    Preservation of habitat and water quality
    Sustainability/stewardship, education/awareness, respect/reverence for natural resources
    Trail system connectivity across and within the local and federal jurisdictions
    Advanced ride technical areas with signage to indicate this trail use
    Rate trails for skill level(s)
    Limit number of social trails to reduce calls to Search and Rescue
    Interconnectivity of the trail system
    Well marked routes
    Quality non-system trails included into the FS system
    Safety and stewardship information and education for trails
    Education and signage on who has trail right-of-way (trail etiquette)
    Allow horses on all trails
    Protect slick rock off-trail opportunities
    Create epic experiences and expand trail system by 300%
    Progressive skill opportunities in the system
    Diversity (variety) in style and character of experiences, skill level and length, categorize and sign
    specific trails for specific use and keep them that way
    Preserve what we have and the experience here
    Connect communities through an urban system of safe trails (like the Flagstaff Urban Trails
    System)
    Realign existing trails to sustainable levels
    Purpose built use features
    More and better trails in the Oak Creek area
    Approval process for new trails shortened
    Quality of trails input from users groups to inform about maintenance needs
    More signage
    Expand wilderness trails to connect to system
    Explore ideas for user specific trails
    Motorized use issues should be addressed
    Access and parking for horse trailers
    Wet Beaver Creek trails
    Creativity and flow designed into trails for the rider experience
    Quick turn around on maintenance needs (more volunteers)
    Better promotion for back country horse and hike experiences
    Easy levels of trails to good destinations
    Plan for user groups to help maintain trails
    Preservation and new trails for advanced riders
    Bike skills park/area for new riders of all ages
    Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) trails or segments that at minimum get far enough away
    from parking lot so it can’t be seen
    Horse manure catchments
    Improve parking situation at West Fork and Midgley Bridge
    Allocation of event trails and permit process for group use
    Discussion about skill levels to define skill of trail (need to define skill levels)
    Rehabilitation of damaged trails
    Education about using trails
    Education about various user activities and how to allow safe passage on the trail for various users
    Restrooms at major trailheads
    Neighborhood roads open to access trails (especially for horses)
    Sustainable revenue stream for up keep on over 600,000 trail users per year
    Coordinate with other communities and their trail groups
    Archaeology sites protected
    Designated area for high skills riders
    Leash laws obeyed on trails and dog litter removal by owners
    Protect the “golden goose” (trails and natural resources) of this economy
    Remove/reduce wire baskets with rocks on over defined trails
    Visitors need to be heard in this process
    Indicate where trails are closed for restoration prior to getting there to avoid a dead end trail
    experience
    “Closed unless marked open” policy impacts cross country trails
    Improve sunrise/sunset, hydration and other information for trail users
    Add technical spurs to existing trail system
    Add summit routes
    Define routes into climbing areas
    Mark trails so they are easily recognizable and erase social trails
    Water slide
    Emergency cross country mountain bike closure order
    More people show up to FS trail work days

    Due to the lack of time these were written responses left with the meeting facilitator after the 10/25/12 meeting:

    • Sustainability means stewardship of resources, public education and awareness, and reverence for
    natural resources
    • Better maintenance (rocks and trimming), more education or signage on rights of way
    • Connect the trail networks (W. Sedona, Oak Creek, Village of Oak Creek, Elmerville, 89B, 525C,
    Cornville, Cottonwood…), more Oak Creek trails, more beginner or smooth mountain bike trails
    • Preservation of the wild lands is crucial to the preservation of flora, fauna, and most critical to water
    availability for all, preserve and protect ancient sites
    • Sustainable, expand the system 200% to 300%, utilize terrain to create epic experiences, drive the
    economy
    • I believe horses should be allowed on all trails. They are natural users and in my opinion there has
    never been any problems with others. People are happy to see them always.
    • Make it fun interesting
    • Increase public awareness regarding safety, good stewardship, illegal fire building, other bad
    behaviors
    • Concern: hiking trail users tend to speak to trail use for all (inter-connective, maintenance,
    sustainable, etc.). Biking users tend to speak to their specific biking wants, and there are a
    preponderance of bikers in attendance. We should be careful to reflect a plan that is appropriate for
    all, without leaning towards bikers.

    • A few wide, large (1-5 mile long) trails that can host special events or competitions, trails that
    connect well with a few leading to the City park, some trail availability for group use/economic
    development, hiking trails with higher level of difficulty, climbing
    • Areas for more advanced mountain bikers, designated areas for jumps and technical trails, bikes are
    becoming more advanced and trails are not, please give us an area and we will build, sinage to rate
    trails could be an answer
    • Adopt (as fast as possible) all existing trails which make sense, emphasis on linkage and loops and
    summits, use trained volunteers for maintenance (Adopt-a-trail is good), improve signage including
    rating difficulty, no fees, fully complete and mark and encourage use of Sedona loop trail, get
    commercial benefit ($$$) from organizing a trail run (marathon/half marathon, 5K) in October,
    preservation of Casner Canyon area trails, continue FS-user cooperation
    • More trails, better trails, more people working together
    • Purpose built trails, equality amongst users
    • To have trail systems connect communities through an urban system of safe, well-marked and
    mapped veins, similar to the Flagstaff trail system (FUTS), think about population growth in this
    area in the next 20 years, bike parking, rating would (???), signing it
    • Diverse ability of experience levels from ADA compliant to extreme downhill, diverse ability of
    experience (canyons, ridges, in trees, on rock, opportunities for exploration even off trail (slick
    rock), special event permissible trails
    • Clearly marked sustainable trails that go to or by some of the magnificent scenery we have here,
    I would like to see them marked by grade (i.e. difficulty) so that users could see how challenging
    each trail would be, I would like to see a regular, planned cycle of maintenance, I would like to see
    primitive, raw trails kept that way
    • Have as many different types of sustainable trails available for a range of possible experiences for
    all skill and fitness levels of each user group, and a trail that goes anywhere any of these various
    users may want or need to travel, and to have the entire network adequately signed and mapped
    • Bike access in wilderness, diapers on horses
    • Removal/reduction or minimize ridiculous, large numbers and dangerous wire baskets full of rocks
    • More trails and a coherent, timely way to get trails built
    • Ongoing maintenance and repair, adopt-a-trail program, ability to make enhancements and additions
    to system trails, network of communication between trail users and trail information, create new and
    preserve Red Rock trails and experience, cooperative management, collaborative trail management
    and maintenance, preservation and enhancement of trails and experience
    • Multiple use, area loop, region connectivity
    • Better maintenance, no illegal trail building
    • Healthy ecosystems and less off-trail/social trails, education, rehabilitation
    • Complementary trail system and amenities through the range of jurisdictions (NF, state parks,
    city), emphasize linkages and loop design, water quality protection by best management practices
    (BMPs), maintenance, toiles, pet waste stations, diversity of trail options that fit most user group
    profiles, buffer water sources, roost and nest sites, sensitive soils (mycorrhizal) and rare plants,
    match level of service design to intensity of use and focus user group
    • Ceiling on use on high-demand trails, as needed
    • Something for everyone, continuously connect parts of town
    • Beginner single track and rock for youth, maintenance

    • Comprehensive planning, trail progression easy to difficult, multi-use, single use, creative,
    sustainable, fun trails, controlling social trails, maintenance plan, Turkey Creek area development,
    reasonable permitting process for group use
    • More expert level trails for biking, better promotion of back country wilderness for hiking and
    horseback riding/tourists, quick turn-around for volunteer trail maintenance, trails rating system like
    ski mountain, mountain bike specific trails
    • More trails to lessen the trail use on all trails, rating the trails for skill level, more advanced
    mountain bike trails to challenge the cyclists, an urban trail loop linking all of the Sedona areas –
    paved as found in a lot of the mountain towns in Colorado, advanced mountain bikes prefer narrow
    technical trails, bike park/skills honing, dirt jumps, mountain bike events
    • User specific trails, hikers and equestrian make better use and care of wilderness, front country
    oriented to mountain bikes, more expert level/downhill/freeride mountain bike, FS needs to be
    more accommodating to mountain bikers, FS needs to be even-handed in dealing with social trails,
    motorized plan?, appropriate areas/trails for OHV/ATV use, freeride park
    • More wilderness trails, more backpacking trails, more water availability along trailhead starts,
    receptacles increased in high use areas and greater signage
    • Better wilderness boundary markings, “Bell Rock Pathway” for West Sedona, easy trail access from
    town, trail maintenance, advanced trails for advanced riders, bike park
    • Sustainable, beautiful, accessible, compatible with the environment, cared for
    • Existing trails with poor alignments requiring significant work are rerouted, consistent style and
    difficulty within a trail
    • Wide variety of types of trails (narrow, technical, steep, easy, challenging, ADA accessible), a trail
    grade system so people don’t go on a trail beyond their abilities, planned maintenance and ways to
    help, way(s) to hold events
    • FS trail riding and technique videos, riding clinics, trail stewards to maintain trails, trail map(s)
    sales to support trail care, local fundraising for trails, if Casner Canyon is unridable then trails
    south of Mitten Ridge, like upper Munds to Cow Pies, Hangover area needs nested loop of trails
    well signed and managed, current best advanced rides are on Schnebly Rd to Casner Canyon to
    Tomahawk to Killer Bee to Damfino to Hangover Saddle to Hangover to Munds Wagon, similar
    terrain as Hangover trail, up to 4-5 hour rides, more than 13 mile, advanced to expert rides in
    Schnebly Hill and Mitten Ridge areas, active community involvement in trail management, new
    development to meet needs of mountain biking (technical, creative, single track),well thought out
    system with character, different experiences
    • Mapped and signed trail system which benefits local residents and businesses, an adopted trail
    network for all abilities of mountain bikes, no more illegal trail building
    • Inclusion of quality non-system (user built) trails into system, preservation of technical nature of
    technical trails, development of easier trails for beginner level users, connections at key geographic
    points to have continuity, trails built sustainably so that they require less maintenance, mulit-
    user capable trails not exclusive or dangerous/hazardous, well signed, rated so visitors can decide
    suitability, dispersion of users via volume and variety of trails, technical off-shoots/options,
    • Trails built with sustainability in mind, not every trail needs to support all users, high level
    mountain bike trails, a trail system for all users that lets a beginner begin happily and progress to
    any level of that experience, flow trails, stacked loop systems
    • Sustainability, mulit-use, graded for level of difficulty
    • Upgrade for all user groups, connectability, understand group desires
    • Usable trailheads for equestrians, interconnected trails

    • More trails in the village, more loop trails, greater access, better maintenance

    This is the facilitator’s summary of all of the attendees responses from the 10/25/12 meeting:

    1. maintenance and rehabilitation of damaged trails and for active volunteerism
    2. protection of natural and cultural resources
    3. effective access/trailheads/facilities/parking
    4. trail user information and education and effective trail signage and rating system
    5. a purpose built trail system with diversity of character, challenge, experience, and mileage for
    hikers, bikers and equestrians
    6. trails that connect, link, and loop
    7. a clear, efficient process to improve existing trails and to add new trails and facilities
    8. a trail system that is ecologically sustainable, sufficiently maintained and that benefits local
    economy
    Last edited by traildoc; 12-01-2012 at 09:32 AM.

  2. #2
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    So the purpose of my post is to give people who didn't attend the first or second meetings an idea as to how these meeting go, so we can get better attendance from the mountain bike community at each meeting.

    When the notes of this latest meeting on 11/29/12, i will post what was asked of the 100 plus attendees and what their responses were.

    What is interesting is that the USFS and the RTCA expected to have less attendees this last meeting and to their surprise they got a 25+% increase.

    The mountain bike community was well represented but hikers were the predominant user group represented.

    At the last meeting one of the most influential representatives in the Sedona hiking community commented that the hikers and mountain bikers are pretty much on the same page as far as getting the sustainable user built trails brought into a system status. I have brought this to the attention of several of the FS personal previously and since this person got up at the meeting and voiced how the hiking and mountain biking community are working well together it reinforced my prior statements to the FS and their personal friends who work with them.

    This person who voiced his support for the mountain biking community didn't actually state he was in support of only user built trail, but I was lead to believe with other discussions with this individual that on a go forward basis he is in support of all sustainable trails that fill that needs of the hiking community and that user built mountain biking trails help fill that need.

    Lastly, my hope is by providing summaries of attendee comments whoever goes through this process will be able to better facilitate their specific process. It seems like there must be a faster way to get to the end result, and by maybe seeing the responses it will help future attendees of future meetings understand what is being asked of them so they will be better prepared at each subsequent meeting.

    If anyone out there in the MTRB viewing world knows of a place to get hold of meeting summaries of other RTCA processes to help the FS formulate a long term trail plan for their area please let us know. I think it would be interesting to see the attendee input and summaries of similar meetings and what the end result was compared to the initial objective.

    I know IMBA representatives from other parts of the country must have participated in these sorts of processes, but my guess is that they have to be so politically correct they are not able to be of much help to guide us through this process in an online forum.

  3. #3
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    Such is the appeal of large meetings, the process slows down, so your digging around to find a way to speed up the process most likely is a dead end road. Do you have a picture of the diagram that J. Burns had up on the wall? Left of the "no vote" note. That in a nutshell is Trail (Project)Development Agreement, a process that takes years because of NEPA and a series of public comment periods. Factor in appeals, possible litagation, one project can take at least 2 years at the soonest. Then at the end of that process, the USFS can still say no to your project. One of my experiences with such a process took 9 years time (to open the entire oak creek overlook to rock climbing), and at the end, we walked away with nothing. I also worked for 3 years of trying to do a cliff top restoration project with the Kaibab National Forest, and got no where. I sat in for a period of time with the travel management plan on the coconino, and how many miles of motorized singletrack is now available? With the added round of a year of public meetings (the USFS is asking people to commit 24 hours of meeting time), then start the process of what you would want to do, (get existing trails adopted into the system), this is a very long road of committing time and effort.
    So with so many dedicated local cyclists who know what's involved, as your list above shows, the process has started and I think that through this process a 10-25 year Master Plan will develop. Will any actual social trails be brought in while this is going on? I don't know.
    Want some more bad news?
    There is a big difference between ripping and skidding.

  4. #4
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    I hesitate posting this because deep down i want to support the Land Manager but things can happen pretty fast in Sedona if they want it to. Case in point, the Soldier's Pass area area and the new trails associated with slim shady near the Yavapai Vista or whatever it's called *ie., Coconino, Kaibab, etc.) have been approved through a categorical exclusion process. A step below NEPA. I'm not sure the latter has been used for any of the recent new work and/or the adoption. NEPA is a much bigger deal and as Chalkpaw alludes, can take years....and years. It's no wonder why locals took things into their own hands.

    I'm on the outside looking in but don't let what looks like an enormous red tape bureaucratic waste of public meeting time get you down. Give it some time. Or not, but the tide is changing.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    I hesitate posting this because deep down i want to support the Land Manager but things can happen pretty fast in Sedona if they want it to. Case in point, the Soldier's Pass area area and the new trails associated with slim shady near the Yavapai Vista or whatever it's called *ie., Coconino, Kaibab, etc.) have been approved through a categorical exclusion process. A step below NEPA. I'm not sure the latter has been used for any of the recent new work and/or the adoption. NEPA is a much bigger deal and as Chalkpaw alludes, can take years....and years. It's no wonder why locals took things into their own hands.

    I'm on the outside looking in but don't let what looks like an enormous red tape bureaucratic waste of public meeting time get you down. Give it some time. Or not, but the tide is changing.
    Rockman:

    Thanks for you response. As I have brought up previously, I have asked Justin why he could not have helped the group I was working with on what answers regarding trail maintenance the RTCA was looking for in our one of nine discussion groups.

    It seemed like the answers to "why do you need trail maintenance" were obvious. Kind of like why do you need to check the oil level in your car.

    So far Justin has not gotten back with us to explain why he wasn't able to help with the answers. We weren't given any study materials before the meeting so what ever answers we came up with, like mine to incorporate an Adopt-a-Trail program, was not an appropriate answer like safety, maintain trail sustainability and maintain the trail character at a certain level. An Adopt-a-Trail program would address those issues, but it wasn't the answer the RTCA was looking for.

    If Justin was being paid to be at the meeting I would think he would want to be more helpful. If he was there as a volunteer then I guess he didn't have to help us out even though he knew the answers and was listening to the whole discussion.

    It would be nice if the facilitator could post the questions that we are going to be getting at the next meeting at least a week before the next meeting, so those of us that want to come better prepared to the meeting could get a chance to research the answers before the meeting.

    The nine groups of questions could easily be posted online prior to the meeting. I for one am curious what kind of format the next meeting will have? Nine groups came up to a multitude of different answers to the questions they were being asked. Daniel gave one of the best recaps to what his group came up with which looked like over ten written points. I am not sure what the specific subject was, but I think it addressed 5.) a purpose built trail system with diversity of character, challenge, experience, and mileage for hikers, bikers and equestrians.

    Anyway I am curious how the numerous answers to the individual group will be moved forward to the next meetings questions for the group.

    Will the facilitator post the next meeting question sheets to her last 11/29 meeting summary??? Will Justin post his thoughts on how to speed up the meeting process??
    Last edited by traildoc; 12-01-2012 at 05:17 PM.

  6. #6
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    Deal With Requests That Will Never Happen

    Chalpaw said he has gone through several similar RTCA process that the user group attained a less than satisfactory result for what they wanted out of the process. My question is should the FS go through all of the list of desired outcomes from the 10/25 and 11/29 meetings and let people know their is no chance that their request is going to implemented.

    At the 11/29 meeting a guy said one of his desired results was that the parking be expanded at the West Fork and Midgley Bridge locations due to a large demand of users at peak periods. I personally don't believe the FS is going to increase parking at those locations and if that is the case should the FS personnel tell the attendee that that is not only to happen with an explanation why. Better yet rather than tell the attendee why maybe that would be a great question for the meeting. I think I know the answer, but it would be interesting if I am right.

    If this was the main reason why the individual was showing up they might just stay at home and make more room for attendees who have a good chance their dream is implemented.

    When we were at the meeting their was a lady there that was a paraplegic and she wanted to see that there be a nice trail be made to allow her to get away from a busy trailhead and out into a more remote and beautiful area. I am sure we would all like to see opportunities like that be built. Maybe something like a paved walkway up Fay Canyon. Should that dream be openly discussed or should the FS just say it's not going to happen.

    I called the people in Moab who deal with the building of new trails there and mentioned that ADA issue. They said they get similar requests, but are unable to give those users that remote experience they are looking for. They have recently put in an over one million dollar six mile paved access path from Moab to the Bar M riding area, but it isn't remote so the ADA folks aren't satisfied with it.

    So I am curious since the FS came out and stated that there is "no vote" should they go through the 115 list of individual wants (many are duplicates) and cross off those that are not going to be incorporated into the Coconino National Forest Trail Plan and happen in the next 10 to 15 years or more. So those individuals who want them can spend their time doing something more enjoyable on a Thursday evening and leave more room for others whose dreams may be realized by showing up at the future meetings.
    Last edited by traildoc; 12-02-2012 at 10:38 AM.

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