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  1. #1
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    The Last RTCA Trails Planning Meeting Was Held Tonight

    As many of you know the Red Rock Ranger District has been having monthly meetings since October 2012 to help develop a new trails management plan for the Coconino National Forest.

    At the meeting tonight we had the opportunity to listen to a presentation by Scott Escott who is the trails coordinator for Trails Mix. In the last four years Trail Mix has built or adopted approximately 100 new miles of system trails in the Moab area.

    According to Scott it was slow going in the beginning of the Trail Mix relationship with the BLM, and he said that until there was a trust relationship between the two entities new trail production was slow going. Now that there is a trust worthy relationship trail construction is moving much quicker and recently there has been funding to develop 40 new miles of new trail over the next two years.

    After Scott's presentation Jennifer Burns shared with us some of the results of the recent Survey Monkey survey that some MTBR viewers participated in and a number of the 1,200 Arizona IMBA members also filled out.

    Due to the Arizona IMBA members input the survey from over 700 people about 350 said they were mountain bikers. This reality has put the FS in in a difficult position since they only believe 10 to 20% of the Coconino National Forest is used by mountain bikers therefore they say the survey results are probably not representative of the actual users wishes.

    It was also stated that there were assumptions made from the survey results that were not really based in survey data, but were interpreted to be something the FS thought might be more reasonable than the actual results.

    We are being told that the raw data of the survey will be provided and it will be interesting reviewing the results to come up with possibly other conclusions.

    In the last meeting notes it was stated that there was a 50/50 split between resource protection and the production of new system trails. At tonight's meeting that number changed to higher percent for resource protection and a lower percent for new trails.

    Now that the meetings have ended it will be interesting how the trails planning process plays out. One thing for sure is if there is another RTCA process somewhere else in the country there will be a lot of information available via Google for the next group to see how the meeting process evolves.

    I will venture a guess that if another Survey Monkey survey is done at the end of a different new RTCA planning process the question regarding resource preservation will be better defined. At the meeting one individual pointed out that to him not having mountain bike trails destroyed could be resource preservation where another person might want all mountain bike trails destroyed for more resource protection.

    One question I would have liked to ask Scott was is if he has any remorse for having been involved in the planning and building of that 100 miles of new system MTB trails in Moab? One could certainly see that as extreme resource destruction depending on your point of view.

  2. #2
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    Hi Traildoc.

  3. #3
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    Alice saw this coming...

    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.
    - Julie Furtado

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    One other point that Scott brought up in his presentation that I thought was informative for landmanagers was how much more efficient it is to use bikes to perform maintenance projects and build new trail. Apparently the Trail Mix volunteers and employees can get to maintenance projects six times faster riding to the project site than walking in.

    Apparently Trail Mix is designing tools that can be broken down into a pack to be transported out to the work site.

    Another interesting point was that with all the new trail construction in Moab there has been no significant injuries incurred on the trail maintenance or trail building projects that Trail Mix has worked on. Since accidental injury coverage is being provided for workers by the BLM I am sure this makes for a good working relationship.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woahey View Post
    Alice saw this coming...

    "And he crawled out of his hole " LMFAO...
    fat old man ... fueled by Mexican pastries....

  6. #6
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    Interesting that just below, where it lists "similar threads", these two threads popped up.

    Sedona Trail Information Requested for RTCA Trails Planning Process
    By traildoc in forum Arizona Replies: 6
    Last Post: 02-02-2013, 01:01 AM .I Went to MY First Sedona Rivers Trails and Conservation Assistance (RTCA) Meeting
    By traildoc in forum Arizona

    Just a strange coincidence?

  7. #7
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    Regardless of your point of view on building new trails, I see no reason not to maintain the existing trail systems. The Scheuermann trail could be fun climb with a nice XC ride down to lower Red Rock Rd, but the trail is in pathetic shape. Oddly the closed trails such as Special Ed, seemed to fair better in the recent rains than some of the "system trails." Carroll Canyon doesn't make sense either. You come up Herkenhan and nothing connects to go back down. Old Post up to Ridge back down works, but something is definitely missing. Sedona is nice get away, but doesn't grab me as a mountain bike Mecca. Would be great if a lesson or two could be learned from Moab.
    " the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." C&H

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    Quote Originally Posted by cannonballtrail View Post
    Would be great if a lesson or two could be learned from Moab.
    One massive way that Sedona differs from Moab is the land management. All of the trails in Moab are managed by the BLM. Sedona is managed by the USFS. HUGE difference in operating procedures, practices, and funding.
    The secret to mountain biking is pretty simple. The slower you go the more likely it is you’ll crash.
    - Julie Furtado

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    Quote Originally Posted by woahey View Post
    One massive way that Sedona differs from Moab is the land management. All of the trails in Moab are managed by the BLM. Sedona is managed by the USFS. HUGE difference in operating procedures, practices, and funding.

    What are the huge differences? Moab, Fruita, Hartman Rocks, Gallup,and Las Cruces all have some really great riding backed by local efforts on BLM Land. I'm just curious how the BLM Managers work differently than the forest service. When ever there are non-sense closures and drama it seems to mostly come from the forest service.
    " the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." C&H

  10. #10
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    Re: The Last RTCA Trails Planning Meeting Was Held Tonight

    Moab differs from Sedona significantly in the fact that it's in the middle of nowhere. Moab not only caters to mountain bikers but off roaders as well. There is almost no where that you can't take your 4 wheeler and go have fun. I'm sure they have become a bit stricter over the past few years but basically its an open playground for anyone to go do whatever they want. They need the tourism that comes from several small factions.

    Sedona on the other hand also benefits hugely from tourism, the difference is they cater to the high end travelers with lots of money to spend. Most of the people in Sedona are there because they think for votex's might actually be real, and have lots of money to spend to see the west.

    Few from the east coast with money to burn are going to Moab... Unless they are a mountain biker or a four-wheel-drive enthusiast.

    Sedona seems happy to cater to the wealthy locals, and the wealthy out of towners who hike one or two miles on their trip... But spend lots of money.
    Last edited by eatdrinkride; 10-01-2013 at 10:44 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by woahey View Post
    One massive way that Sedona differs from Moab is the land management. All of the trails in Moab are managed by the BLM. Sedona is managed by the USFS. HUGE difference in operating procedures, practices, and funding.
    Actually there are a lot of trails in the La Sal's that are governed by the FS: Burro Pass, Moonlite Meadows, Hazard County, Kokopelli, UPS, MPS, Trans Lasal, Ho Chi Min, Oowah Lake, Hells Canyon (Hell's Canyon 5 16 11 With Pete - YouTube ), etc. to name a couple popular ones.

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    I think the FS is very conflicted at this point in time. We have just finished with the trails planning meeting process, so now we move into a wait and see mode to see how things go with the closure of a number of the more popular user built trails and the continued process to move the ball forward or backwards.

    The archeological part has been resolved on 5.5 miles of a supposed heavy archeological rich area that didn't come up with any significant archeological sites along the trail tread of those popular closed trails. It was interesting to see the FS archeologist confused that his model of the area not coming up with significant sites along the existing trail tread of those popular closed trails, that create great hiking and mountain biking loop opportunities that both user groups are saying they are looking for.

    The next question to be resolved is whether the trails are built in a sustainable manner that doesn't cause significant erosion problems that exist on many of legacy trails. At the meeting one of the attendee's asked Scott how long it would take him to evaluate whether an existing trail is built in a sustainable manner. He said that due to his experience level all he would have to do is walk the trail and he could determine how the trail was holding up now to determine whether it was sustainable.

    After the meeting he told me that he told the FS that he thought it would be a good idea to adopt a lot of popular user created trails that were on the old Over the Edge trail map, if those trails were deemed to be sustainable and not encroaching on significant archeological sites. Apparently that is how the renegade trail building community in Moab decided to work with the Moab landmanagers rather than against them.

    Now in Moab, if you personally want to build a new trail you can go to Trail Mix and get their maps to check if your trail idea will run into problematic areas. If it doesn't you are free to go out and flag your new idea and show your routing to the Trail Mix group to see if the alignment meets their criteria of a well routed sustainable trail.

    After the the route is approved by Trail Mix the landmanager provides an archeologist free of charge to walk the alignment, if there is a site issue the trail is re-routed around the site and the trail is ultimately approved. Then you get to volunteer as much time as you want to build the trail because more than likely there will only be at the most 50% funding for Trail Mix employees to help you.

    Basically, this is how the 100 miles of new Moab trails have been built, except for the popular user created trails that were adopted with re-routes to bring them up to Trail Mix standards.

    As many of you may know in Moab there is an existing very popular user created trail called the Gold Bar Rim to Portal Trail. This trail has been closed to mountain biking use for over five years due to bird issues. The issues are being worked on and possibly they will be ultimately resolved. If this happens this trial will become one of the best trails in Moab for the highly skilled very fit mountian biking community.

    Like a lot of the Mag 7 trails, if some renegade mountain bike trail builders had never come up with the unique routing of those trails years ago they would have never been created to date. Who knows if some dedicated Trail Mix employee or volunteer would have come up with those enjoyable challenging alignments during this unique period in time?

    Obviously this whole new trail building opportunity in Moab is more difficult than ever due to a lot of the easier sites being used up by other motivated trail routers, but without that dedication and hard work from those trail routers and trail builders those new system trails would not exist.

    Apparently when the landmanager first approved Trail Mix to start building some new trails, some of the people involved with the approval didn't think Trail Mix would be able to build more than five miles of trails before they would give up the process. To me that tells the story about how motivated the mountain bike community is when it comes to building new trails. For the landmanager it is just a job, for the Trail Mix group it is a DREAM come true.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cannonballtrail View Post
    What are the huge differences? Moab, Fruita, Hartman Rocks, Gallup,and Las Cruces all have some really great riding backed by local efforts on BLM Land. I'm just curious how the BLM Managers work differently than the forest service. When ever there are non-sense closures and drama it seems to mostly come from the forest service.
    That is a great question and was addressed by one of the attendees at last night's meeting. The FS official was asked if she thought the Trail Mix model could be used in the Red Rock Ranger District? The answer of the FS official was yes, so I consider that to be a positive sign of what might occur in the future.

    The problem with the Trail Mix model is that there are a number of dedicated volunteers who make the Trail Mix model work. Without their effort the model will potentially fail due to a lack of funding to pay for the hard work the volunteers put into the Dream for free.

    I would venture a guess the the Trail Mix presentation was not well received by some of the attendees at the meeting because is was pretty much about the building of trails enjoyed mainly by mountain bikers. Obviously any trails suitable for that group of mountain bikers is also suitable for hiking.

    What most everyone at the meeting don't know is that two of the people who make Trail Mix work are not mountain bikers they are avid hikers. I don't know them well enough to understand what their motivation is to work so hard for no pay, but I think it would have been interesting to have informed those meeting attendees that hikers played a major roll in the creation of the 100 miles of new trails.

    IMHO there would not be all those new trails in Moab without the efforts of Jeff and Sandy. Can you imagine two volunteer hikers in the Red Rock Ranger District stepping up and creating an organization to build and maintain a bunch of new popular mountain biking trails?

    If such a thing happens I would personally contribute $5,000 to the adoption process of those closed user created trails.

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    Thanks Renegade and EDR for those prospectives. I agree. What Sedona has over Moab is a warmer winter, cooler summer, closer proximity to a major airport, some decent dinning options, organic natural supermarkets, quality lodging, I-17 close by, and less than 100 miles from a metro area. The downside seems to be a few older wealthy folks that have their vision of paradise and are unwilling to share or embrace change.

    Maybe it is just a matter of time. Many younger folks are less into Hiking, lavish resort style vacations, and telecommuting is growing by leaps and bounds making Sedona accessible for younger works, who need only to commute down to Phoenix 1-2 times per week. A huge demographic shift will probably be a rude awakening for some, but a blessing for mountain biking.
    " the surest sign that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us." C&H

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    Quote Originally Posted by cannonballtrail View Post
    Thanks Renegade and EDR for those prospectives. I agree. What Sedona has over Moab is a warmer winter, cooler summer, closer proximity to a major airport, some decent dinning options, organic natural supermarkets, quality lodging, I-17 close by, and less than 100 miles from a metro area. The downside seems to be a few older wealthy folks that have their vision of paradise and are unwilling to share or embrace change.

    Maybe it is just a matter of time. Many younger folks are less into Hiking, lavish resort style vacations, and telecommuting is growing by leaps and bounds making Sedona accessible for younger works, who need only to commute down to Phoenix 1-2 times per week. A huge demographic shift will probably be a rude awakening for some, but a blessing for mountain biking.
    I try not to mention Sedona in my posts because it is upsetting to a number of viewers when I do, so I try to use some code like RRRD or Coconino National Forest. Your analysis of the town of Sedona is pretty accurate.

    There is certainly a group of old folks that have the feeling mountain bikers are destroying the landscape at a pace faster than mother nature, but people with any common sense know that just isn't the case.

    To get back to the RTCA trails planning process at the last meeting Jennifer B. announced the the Hog trails were going to be adopted and after the meeting she and some of the people who get to decide stopped at PJ's sports bar to discuss how to obtain funds for the project.

    At the RTCA meeting she also mentioned that the FS was working on the adoption of a real old trail I have heard called the West Connector to Canyon of Fools (COF) and the newer trail Canyon of Fools. Apparently there is some re-routing of the old trail because of some eroded fall line segments that can be easily re-routed to a more fast flowy trail to get over to COF.

    I have heard that COF originally came about from a Bushwhack Bonanza ride and the route rode so well that is was made into a challenging uphill connector from Dawa to get to the east end of the ledgey section of Mescal, all on singletrack, rather than riding a bunch of pavement.

    The current wall ride segments of COF came about over a period of about five years by the wall ride community. It seemed like whenever we would ride COF a new feature was added to the trail.

    At the meeting Jennifer said the new name for the West Connector was going to be Yucca. I don't think they have the funding for that project yet and I am not sure if all of the resource approvals are all completed at this point. If they were it seems like with a fairly experienced volunteer crew the Yucca trail could be built pretty quickly IMHO.

    So if the current progression of trail adoption continues the future looks bright for mountain bikers. Some of these trails have been scoped previously so it's too early to tell what lays ahead in the hopefully not to distant future.

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