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  1. #1
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    MEDL trail plan out for public comment

    Mt Elden/Dry Lake Hills Recreation Planning in Flagstaff. There is a 45 day public comment period. There's lots to like in here, especially for a mountain biker. Some trails didn't make it in and will be obliterated. Read up and post up your concerns and suggestions and don't forget to send in a comment letter.

    Scoping Letter and instructions on how to comment: https://content.govdelivery.com/atta...ngCoverLtr.pdf

    Documents and maps here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=38239

  2. #2
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    For those wondering about closure of unauthorized social trails...the document does not do an adequate job of explaining why so here's the rationale as I understand it.

    -CanI. This trail is in the middle of the Schultz Mexican Spotted Owl Protected Activity Center (MSO-PAC). Not only that it goes through the nest core.

    -Pickle. Largely redundant with the realignment of lower Brookbank. Otherwise, there would have been crossing trails. Too bad as I much prefer Pickle over Ginger but there are some cool features on Ginger for sure. Lower brookbank is being realigned to put it on a sustainable grade and to also get it out of Brookbank canyon which is also a MSO-PAC.

    -Prom Night. The same MSO-PAC applies here and the slope also burned hot in the Museum Fire.

    -Private Reserve. Most of the trail is in an MSO-PAC and the feature known as Happy Ending is in the nest core. The plan addresses this loss by adding directional trails to the north on the west facing slopes below Oldham Park albeit in the burn scar.

    To summarize, closures are largely about wildlife concerns. Primarily MSO and the remaining mixed-conifer habitat. There's a lot to be excited about in this plan especially for the hiking community.
    Last edited by rockman; 08-15-2020 at 10:18 PM.

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    Here is some things I think we should comment on or advocate for:

    -Advocate for a loop in the Dry Lake Hills just below the rim, so it will not affect the "wetland habitat".

    -Comment on why on the attached map shows multiple multi-use trails dead ending into hiking only trails.

    -Advocate for downhill mountain bike trails to be for mountain bike use only. The new hiking trails specifically say closed to all other users but the dh mtb trails do not.

    -Advocate for more downhill mountain bike trails. Rockman mentioned that Private probably won't make it through because of the bottom half being in a MSO PAC. Perhaps we could advocate for a trail in the area of upper Private Reserve but turning into same area of Lone Eagle, avoiding the MSO PAC on the lower section of Private. This would put the trail in more desirable terrain and vegetation.

    -Advocate for a scenic loop at the top of Mt. Elden. This could provide loop for hikers and bikers and may serve as a access trail to the downhill trail I mentioned above.

    -Advocate for a pump-track and small dirt jumping area at the new "Y" trailhead. There are many user built jumps in this area that suggest this would be necessary.

    -Support the overall plan and comment about things you like the current one.

  4. #4
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    ... and if we just ...

    WOW. If Heart trail is any indication of what reroutes and new trail will look like this is very exciting. Ive read through once and still trying to wrap my head around a few things and determine what comments to make. Since the trail names are not labeled on the maps it makes it a little difficult to figure out what they are talking about some of the time. I do NOT consider myself a master trail builder or planner - others here have much more experience. So with a grain of salt here are my thoughts / suggestions.

    I think this thread might be a great forum for our community to organize / discuss our suggestions. If there are some ideas that many agree with and we all send them in it may carry more weight.

    1. Keep bikers of mount elden look out road.
    a. Reroute/ clean up rocky ridge trail so that most can ride relatively easily

    b. Provide a trail option that climbs at an easy grade all the way to the top of mount elden. This could even be a hiking/ directional up trail like Armstrong in park city. Not sure if Rocky ridge -> bottom of lower brookbank -> new upper oldham would fit this description?

    c. If that is not an option Close Mt. Elden look out road past proposed Oldham base Trailhead on certain days. (Ideally for me weekends and holidays when road traffic is heaviest. Or possibly just "silent sundays" like they have at South Mountain in phoenix.

    2. New trails
    a. Dedicated Equestrian Trails (North of little elden)- Good for them. Will probably increase this as a destination and increase traffic on little elden trail. But we should all have a place to recreate. And it is as far away from the Shultz creek loops as possible.

    b. Elden Base Urban Trail (near pipleine south of elden)- good connector to bring people to Oldham Base Trail head. I wish they could reroute Forces of nature so there was some good singletrack to make loops around elden. But this is atleast an alternative for those who dont enjoy forces of nature tight rocky areas.
    c. Hiking trails - Devils chair looks awesome.

    d. Dry Lake ridge trail looks like it could be awesome! and Tie in well with new lower Brookbank. Tie into new upper oldham. Looks like the grade of lower brookbank and upper oldham will be much improved. I cant climb lower brook bank and while I can clean it going down I would not describe it as fun.
    Dry lake ridge <-> Realigned Lower Brookbank <-> Realigned upper Oldham looks like it could be epic hopefully the grading will allow uphill pedaling for us mere mortals.

    3. Directional MTB trails - good addition. Nice to see the downhill crowd get some official recognition.

    4. "General Trail System" - says they will try to basically try to clean up class three trails to make them more sustainable and improve user experience.

    4. Trail adoptions all look good. Hope they can do something with Red onion, that can only be improved. Getting Little Gnarly into single track would be nice. Sometimes I feel like Jedi, some times I wish there was a smoother option.

    In general this is something to get pretty stoked about.
    With the MEDL improvements and proposed Observatory Messa trails there will be lots of new trail out my back door

    -How many years will this take?

    -Are there parts of this that are controversial that we need to support in our comments to the FS?

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones2 View Post
    -How many years will this take?

    -Are there parts of this that are controversial that we need to support in our comments to the FS?
    Good comments and suggestions. Keep them coming and I can assure folks they will make it into a comment letter from FBO. Regarding timeline, a signed decision is expected October 2021. First the comments will be addressed and then the NEPA specialists will have at it. But that will provide time for going after grants and do fund-raising.

    As for #2 there is a lot that is controversial. It would really be best to have a look at the findings and recommendations from the MEDL collaborative group. This group met for 9 months and was composed of stakeholders and conservation groups. Have a look at the table and you can see where we could not reach consensus. It proved hostile enough that I resigned from the group so I'll leave it at that. http://flagstafftrailsinitiative.org...s-May-2020.pdf

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    All in favor for a climbing trail to get to the top of Elden and Sunset.

    Also, my work from home has been extended to the end of the year, so anything I can do to help let me know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdcatnau View Post
    All in favor for a climbing trail to get to the top of Elden and Sunset.

    Also, my work from home has been extended to the end of the year, so anything I can do to help let me know.
    So you don't think a realigned new middle and upper Oldham at 6% grade or less could work? I would also think it would need to be bi-directional so lesser skilled riders have a way down the mountain on that side that coming down one of the directional DH trails.

    As it's drawn they have Red Onion coming over the ridgeline toward old Red Onion and then using lower Wasabi. I guess that could work while still keeping Oldham uphill only but doesn't seem the best solution?

    MEDL trail plan out for public comment-oldham-map.jpg

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    So you don't think a realigned new middle and upper Oldham at 6% grade or less could work? I would also think it would need to be bi-directional so lesser skilled riders have a way down the mountain on that side that coming down one of the directional DH trails.

    As it's drawn they have Red Onion coming over the ridgeline toward old Red Onion and then using lower Wasabi. I guess that could work while still keeping Oldham uphill only but doesn't seem the best solution?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I havenít been over in that area in years. 6% is still a good climb (especially for beginners). Maybe those who ride every day might not think itís that bad. However, most people are weekend warriors and would still be a challenge. That would be steeper than the Dogfood climb, no? I think weíve just settled for going straight up the mountain as locals. I guess my definition of a climbing trail is something thatís not going to suck your energy getting up the hill where you need to take a 10-15 minute break to recover.

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    MEDL trail plan out for public comment

    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    So you don't think a realigned new middle and upper Oldham at 6% grade or less could work? I would also think it would need to be bi-directional so lesser skilled riders have a way down the mountain on that side that coming down one of the directional DH trails.

    As it's drawn they have Red Onion coming over the ridgeline toward old Red Onion and then using lower Wasabi. I guess that could work while still keeping Oldham uphill only but doesn't seem the best solution?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    If Middle/ upper oldham (not sure where the dividing line is there) can really stay to a 6% grade that should work. I really hope they can stick to a good grade. The new Heart is wonderful but when it was first discussed I was hoping that it would be something I could easily climb the whole way up and it is not. Not all trails need to be easy to climb the whole way, but having at least one that can get you to the top IS very important. I would include Rocky ridge in that category of a trail that should be easy to pedal to get you from bottom to top - at least from AZT to oldham if this is going to be that long well graded climb to get from bottom to top.

    I would think that the down hill only trails would relieve the pressure of the the fastest downhill riders from Oldham. But at the same time there will probably be even more downhill riders there in the future, some of them bad apples from out of town choosing to bomb Oldham. It could always go in as bidirectional and see if it generates user conflict or not. But with that many down hill only trails in the area an uphill only does make sense.
    Ideally the down hill only would have alternate runaround for bigger obstacles so most riders could go down them if needed.

    I looked at the Table in the link you gave to the work group proposal. It seems some of my suggestions were in there already but did not make it to the final plan. Such as closing ME look out road and having a second trail along side the proposed class 4/FUTS trail along the base of Elden.

    For connectivity sake and just a cool ride it would be great to be able to have a well designed single track all the way around the MEDL area. The rock formations along Forces of nature are pretty cool.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdcatnau View Post
    I havenít been over in that area in years. 6% is still a good climb (especially for beginners). Maybe those who ride every day might not think itís that bad. However, most people are weekend warriors and would still be a challenge. That would be steeper than the Dogfood climb, no? I think weíve just settled for going straight up the mountain as locals. I guess my definition of a climbing trail is something thatís not going to suck your energy getting up the hill where you need to take a 10-15 minute break to recover.
    Quote Originally Posted by Bones2 View Post
    If Middle/ upper oldham (not sure where the dividing line is there) can really stay to a 6% grade that should work. I really hope they can stick to a good grade. The new Heart is wonderful but when it was first discussed I was hoping that it would be something I could easily climb the whole way up and it is not. Not all trails need to be easy to climb the whole way, but having at least one that can get you to the top IS very important.
    I'm kinda old but I view 6% as the magic grade that isn't a gut punch. Especially if you throw in grade reversals and some flat spots where you can catch your breath but not stop pedaling. Like Armstrong in Park City. The existing upper Oldham is nearly 13%. To make that trail 6% means doubling the length from 1.5 to 3 miles. There's not much real estate in that area so it's going to be difficult to get to even that.

    By comparison, Dogfood up to Secret trail is also 6%. The new Heart trail is 7% on average. Old Heart was pretty much unrideable with some sections at 20 to 40%. I agree though an easier climb up Elden rather than having to ride the hot, dusty and exposed road is key to the plan.


    Quote Originally Posted by Bones2 View Post
    I would include Rocky ridge in that category of a trail that should be easy to pedal to get you from bottom to top - at least from AZT to oldham if this is going to be that long well graded climb to get from bottom to top.
    I agree, Rocky Ridge needs a makeover but man is that a sensitive topic with locals and their favorite pet rocks. However, it is also now part of the Arizona Trail and should be brought to that standard.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones2 View Post
    I would think that the down hill only trails would relieve the pressure of the the fastest downhill riders from Oldham. But at the same time there will probably be even more downhill riders there in the future, some of them bad apples from out of town choosing to bomb Oldham. It could always go in as bidirectional and see if it generates user conflict or not. But with that many down hill only trails in the area an uphill only does make sense. Ideally the down hill only would have alternate runaround for bigger obstacles so most riders could go down them if needed.
    Personally I see the willingness of the FS to propose directional DH trails as a HUGE win. That was quite controversial in the MEDL collaborative group with some insisting that 100% of all the trails be shared-use. Hikers, trail runners, and possibly equestrians will also be using upper Oldham so downhill mtn bikers are going to have to play nice.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bones2 View Post
    I looked at the Table in the link you gave to the work group proposal. It seems some of my suggestions were in there already but did not make it to the final plan. Such as closing ME look out road and having a second trail along side the proposed class 4/FUTS trail along the base of Elden.

    For connectivity sake and just a cool ride it would be great to be able to have a well designed single track all the way around the MEDL area. The rock formations along Forces of nature are pretty cool.
    I think the FS suffered from the same thing that happened to the MEDL collaborative group with regard to the front-side Elden area. It's a mess of social trail spaghetti. I think with this one you bring in a professional trail planner and have them focus on this area alone. And yes, Forces of Nature needs some reroutes and a more direct connector to the Elden Lookout trail and parking lot to make a more seamless connection with Christmas Tree.

    Closing Elden Lookout Rd to motorized use was outside the group's scope and is not part of trail planning. Some in the group insisted on it anyway but it's certainly not something FBO advocated for. Nor was anybody at the table representing motorized use. Some folks like to drive to the top to hike, watch the sunset, drink beer, make out, or whatever. Others on the group just wanted to close it so that mountain bikers can't shuttle.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    So you don't think a realigned new middle and upper Oldham at 6% grade or less could work? I would also think it would need to be bi-directional so lesser skilled riders have a way down the mountain on that side that coming down one of the directional DH trails.

    As it's drawn they have Red Onion coming over the ridgeline toward old Red Onion and then using lower Wasabi. I guess that could work while still keeping Oldham uphill only but doesn't seem the best solution?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    What map is this?
    I like how the shading helps view the terrain.

    Sent from my Redmi Note 8 Pro using Tapatalk

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by rod9301 View Post
    What map is this?
    I like how the shading helps view the terrain.

    Sent from my Redmi Note 8 Pro using Tapatalk
    I'm not sure what the FS GIS guy is using for the base map layer but suspect they are using an ESRI product like ARCmap. I simply cropped the pdf in this link. https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/ww...T3_5336347.pdf

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    I'm kinda old but I view 6% as the magic grade that isn't a gut punch. Especially if you throw in grade reversals and some flat spots where you can catch your breath but not stop pedaling. Like Armstrong in Park City. The existing upper Oldham is nearly 13%. To make that trail 6% means doubling the length from 1.5 to 3 miles. There's not much real estate in that area so it's going to be difficult to get to even that.

    By comparison, Dogfood up to Secret trail is also 6%. The new Heart trail is 7% on average. Old Heart was pretty much unrideable with some sections at 20 to 40%. I agree though an easier climb up Elden rather than having to ride the hot, dusty and exposed road is key to the plan.

    I agree, Rocky Ridge needs a makeover but man is that a sensitive topic with locals and their favorite pet rocks. However, it is also now part of the Arizona Trail and should be brought to that standard.
    So if itís going to be tough to get even 6% for a climbing trail, Iíd say no. Iím also thinking why have money and volunteer time go towards a climbing trail if itís getting eroded by runoff due to having a steeper grade? A climbing trail should be the last trail on the maintenance agenda.

    As far as rocky ridge, locals need to get over it. When I read kiosk and bathrooms at trail heads, this project is looking to capitalize on adventure tourism. I donít have a problem with that. I buy my $20 red rock pass every year to support trail building and trail head maintenance fees. Iím just wondering how that will impact neighborhoods. Will it be like Dry Creek Rd in Sedona where cars are lined up for miles to either avoid paying the fee or the lot being too small? Will FALA be the gathering spot?

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    MEDL trail plan out for public comment

    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    I'm not sure what the FS GIS guy is using for the base map layer but suspect they are using an ESRI product like ARCmap. I simply cropped the pdf in this link. https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/ww...T3_5336347.pdf
    Probably a custom product using the digital elevation model (DEM) to create a hillshade layer, lightening it up a bit, and using the DEM again to create custom contour lines. Iím surprised the analyst didnít list the data sources he/she used. Thatís pretty standard for a map like that.

    I wonder if the streamlines are actually surveyed or if they are GIS derived.


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    Quote Originally Posted by jdcatnau View Post
    So if itís going to be tough to get even 6% for a climbing trail, Iíd say no. Iím also thinking why have money and volunteer time go towards a climbing trail if itís getting eroded by runoff due to having a steeper grade? A climbing trail should be the last trail on the maintenance agenda.

    As far as rocky ridge, locals need to get over it. When I read kiosk and bathrooms at trail heads, this project is looking to capitalize on adventure tourism. I donít have a problem with that. I buy my $20 red rock pass every year to support trail building and trail head maintenance fees. Iím just wondering how that will impact neighborhoods. Will it be like Dry Creek Rd in Sedona where cars are lined up for miles to either avoid paying the fee or the lot being too small? Will FALA be the gathering spot?
    Really? You don't think a 6% grade trail can be sustainably built? I'd argue it's the low gradient trails on gradual slopes that are most susceptible to erosion. For example, Moto because it's not benched into the slope and there are few if any grade reversals to shed water. Hence, the only fix are big drainage dips. Anyway, 4% grade would require a 5 mile long trail. Maybe there's room for that I don't know. Hopefully we'll get a chance to get out and look at potential alignments. But just for comparison, the oft-used example of a directional climbing trail is Armstrong in Park City and that is 6.6% grade.

    As for adventure tourism I beg to differ and that's a selling point that will not garner support for the project. Recreation-based businesses for sure will be in favor but lots of folks including conservationists don't want to see Flag become a Sedona. Personally, I think it's more about planning for the future to accommodate the recreational demands of a growing city. Flag will be 100,000 by 2030.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Really? You don't think a 6% grade trail can be sustainably built? I'd argue it's the low gradient trails on gradual slopes that are most susceptible to erosion. For example, Moto because it's not benched into the slope and there are few if any grade reversals to shed water. Hence, the only fix are big drainage dips. Anyway, 4% grade would require a 5 mile long trail. Maybe there's room for that I don't know. Hopefully we'll get a chance to get out and look at potential alignments. But just for comparison, the oft-used example of a directional climbing trail is Armstrong in Park City and that is 6.6% grade.
    I agree, a 6% grade will be a very nice climb that won't leave you bonked at the top.

    I added some additions to the map that I think would make us mtn bikers happy. I added a Dry Lake Hills loop(the Western Dry Lake wouldn't be visible at all to protect it), A loop on top of Elden, some downhill trails off of the Elden loop to replace Private, a Upper Wasabi so you wouldn't have to get on the road to access it, cleaned up some of the stacked loops by Schultz and added a hiking connector to the Elden loop. I think this would be enough to meet demand while protecting resources but I am not an expert by any means.

    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails MEDL trail plan out for public comment-medladjust.jpg  


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    Quote Originally Posted by PonderosaT View Post
    I added some additions to the map that I think would make us mtn bikers happy. I added a Dry Lake Hills loop(the Western Dry Lake wouldn't be visible at all to protect it), A loop on top of Elden, some downhill trails off of the Elden loop to replace Private, a Upper Wasabi so you wouldn't have to get on the road to access it, cleaned up some of the stacked loops by Schultz and added a hiking connector to the Elden loop. I think this would be enough to meet demand while protecting resources but I am not an expert by any means.
    Good stuff T! A couple of comments:

    -Dry Lake Hills loop. This concept was also included in the 2013 Proposed Action. The MEDL collaborative group did not meet consensus on the loop (also called the Ridge Trail), mostly because the Sierra Club and Grand Canyon Trust thought was that it would enable people to access western Dry Lake and because they thought it would impact the zone as a wildlife corridor. They brought no science to the table on that position but this is obviously a compromise in the new PA and the FS is trying to make everyone happy. Personally I think they are going to go to west dry lake anyway if they want to but Sierra Club was very adamant about leaving that whole western and northwestern slope unfragmented by trails. They were also concerned about trails impacting old mature alligator junipers. In addition, FBO advocated for adopting a hiking trail in that zone and adding it as an advanced downhill trail but that met with even more resistance. Also called the Kessel, Stilley hiking trail, buckrut, or Oney. See p. 13. http://flagstafftrailsinitiative.org...s-May-2020.pdf

    -downhill trails off the top of Elden. This needs more clarification and was also included in the 2013 PA. The MSO-PAC is lower but my impression is this is another compromise and meeting the desire to leave that slope of remaining mixed conifer habitat unfragmented by trails.

    -Upper Wasabi. Great idea and not sure why it's not included other than that drainage where the original trail is located is toast from the fire and flooding. But from a connectivity standpoint it makes total sense. Another one to push for. Lower was recommended to be closed by the group because it's in MSO habitat but stoked it made into the proposal.

    -Elden hiking loop. This was also in the 2013 PA. Not sure why it didn't make it in but again the conservationists were against this trail because it would add to vehicular traffic on Elden Lookout Rd and their goal is to get the road closed to motorized access. So another compromise perhaps to appease the environmental community?

    And to touch on one of your previous comments I asked the FS yesterday about some of the Schultz Y concepts dead-heading into the hiker only Lost Burrito trail and he didn't know. Something got lost in translation between rec staff and the mapping staff.

    And this is just an opinion but I suspect some of the reasoning going on here is give and take between the FS and USFWS. I suspect they allowed a "take" for Red Onion(s) and lower Wasabi (both at least partly in MSO-PACs) in return for closing Private Reserve (which goes through the nest core). Just a guess. Also, most of upper Oldham is in that same MSO-PAC.
    Last edited by rockman; 08-15-2020 at 10:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Good stuff T! A couple of comments:

    -Dry Lake Hills loop. This concept was also included in the 2013 Proposed Action. The MEDL collaborative group did not meet consensus on the loop (also called the Ridge Trail), mostly because the Sierra Club and Grand Canyon Trust thought was that it would enable people to access western Dry Lake and because they thought it would impact the zone as a wildlife corridor. They brought no science to the table on that position but this is obviously a compromise in the new PA and the FS is trying to make everyone happy. Personally I think they are going to go to west dry lake anyway if they want to but Sierra Club was very adamant about leaving that whole western and northwestern slope unfragmented by trails. They were also concerned about trails impacting old mature alligator junipers. In addition, FBO advocated for adopting a hiking trail in that zone and adding it as an advanced downhill trail but that met with even more resistance. Also called the Kessel, Stilley hiking trail, buckrut, or Oney. See p. 13. http://flagstafftrailsinitiative.org...s-May-2020.pdf

    -downhill trails off the top of Elden. This needs more clarification and was also included in the 2013 PA. The MSO-PAC is lower but my impression is this is another compromise and meeting the desire to leave that slope of remaining mixed conifer habitat unfragmented by trails.

    -Upper Wasabi. Great idea and not sure why it's not included other than that drainage where the original trail is located is toast from the fire and flooding. But from a connectivity standpoint it makes total sense. Another one to push for. Lower was recommended to be closed because it's in MSO habitat.

    -Elden hiking loop. This was also in the 2013 PA. Not sure why it didn't make it in but again the conservationists were against this trail because it would add to vehicular traffic on Elden Lookout Rd and their goal is to get the road closed to motorized access. So another compromise perhaps to appease the environmental community?

    And to touch on one of your previous comments I asked the FS yesterday about some of the Schultz Y concepts dead-heading into the hiker only Lost Burrito trail and he didn't know. Something got lost in translation between rec staff and the mapping staff.

    And this is just an opinion but I suspect some of the reasoning going on here is give and take between the FS and USFWS. I suspect they allowed a "take" for Red Onion(s) and lower Wasabi (both at least partly in MSO-PACs) in return for closing Private Reserve (which goes through the nest core). Just a guess. Also, most of upper Oldham is in that same MSO-PAC.
    If Private Reserve isn't adopted I personally know people that would go out and rebuild it themselves, just causing more problems. Private is essential for our system and essential to achieve recreational sustainability. I understand that it needs rerouted out of the Happy Ending area, rightfully so, but we need to advocate hard for it. Its not like a trail that goes next to a few conifer trees is going to eliminate the owl population. We are asking to build a few rugged, sustainable singletrack trails in the area, not houses. I agree, if people want to go to the West Dry Lake, they will. A trail that won't even offer a view of it and will add much needed loop options and connectivity to the area isn't going to make people go to it more than they normally would. With the reroute of Upper Oldham hikers, runners, bikers, and horses will not use the road nearly as much as it is currently used. If they wan't less motorized traffic on it they should get opinions of motorized users, who aren't currently in the group working on MEDL. Maybe a fee gate would make them happy? $5 to access the road past the new Oldham Basin Trailhead?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PonderosaT View Post
    If Private Reserve isn't adopted I personally know people that would go out and rebuild it themselves, just causing more problems. Private is essential for our system and essential to achieve recreational sustainability. I understand that it needs rerouted out of the Happy Ending area, rightfully so, but we need to advocate hard for it. Its not like a trail that goes next to a few conifer trees is going to eliminate the owl population. We are asking to build a few rugged, sustainable singletrack trails in the area, not houses. I agree, if people want to go to the West Dry Lake, they will. A trail that won't even offer a view of it and will add much needed loop options and connectivity to the area isn't going to make people go to it more than they normally would. With the reroute of Upper Oldham hikers, runners, bikers, and horses will not use the road nearly as much as it is currently used. If they wan't less motorized traffic on it they should get opinions of motorized users, who aren't currently in the group working on MEDL. Maybe a fee gate would make them happy? $5 to access the road past the new Oldham Basin Trailhead?
    Well be sure to put that in your comment letter. Maybe not the part about rebuilding closed trails. That comes across like a threat and your friends might change their tune after the court case later this month regarding the dh trails on A1 mesa but I digress. I'd also have to ask just how essential is PV to the overall trail network when the reality is less than 1% of the mtn bikers in DLH or on Elden have the requisite skills to ride it? That said, and to be honest, I was surprised it didn't make it in and it was also universally agreed upon by the collaborative group despite the owls. I just looked at the owl map with the PAC boundaries which I can't post as it's a protected species but ~80% of PR is in the PAC. I agree about the road.

    Change is hard and the reality is there is going to be some compromise. I want to hike around and have a look at potential alignments on that west slope coming down from Oldham Park before making a decision on how hard to advocate for PR. It's quite possible we can build something just as cool.
    Last edited by rockman; 4 Weeks Ago at 07:25 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Really? You don't think a 6% grade trail can be sustainably built? I'd argue it's the low gradient trails on gradual slopes that are most susceptible to erosion. For example, Moto because it's not benched into the slope and there are few if any grade reversals to shed water. Hence, the only fix are big drainage dips. Anyway, 4% grade would require a 5 mile long trail. Maybe there's room for that I don't know. Hopefully we'll get a chance to get out and look at potential alignments. But just for comparison, the oft-used example of a directional climbing trail is Armstrong in Park City and that is 6.6% grade.

    As for adventure tourism I beg to differ and that's a selling point that will not garner support for the project. Recreation-based businesses for sure will be in favor but lots of folks including conservationists don't want to see Flag become a Sedona. Personally, I think it's more about planning for the future to accommodate the recreational demands of a growing city. Flag will be 100,000 by 2030.
    I have not rode Park City as Iíve only been there once for a work conference. Is the soil type the same? Do they get more precipitation and snowfall than Flag? We will probably agree to disagree on 6% slope. My opinion is coming from seeing people stop for breaks on Dog food all the way up to secret. I try to make it in one shot, it just depends how much I get to ride.

    Iím not saying adventure tourism is a selling point. You see the cars at the trail heads this summer. If more trails are built like Heart, as you describe as a destination trail, that area will be packed in summers even more so because eventually word will spread. I know more people from my old Vegas MTB club are coming out to ride more than when I lived there. Also, with remote work gaining popularity during these strange times, people will be moving here. I know people in my group from Phoenix have already asked if they can move to Flagstaff. Iím sure most corporations will see the same people not want to live in Phoenix, California, Las Vegas or other metropolitan areas. How many people try to get out of paying for parking at trail heads in Sedona?

    Iím just trying to think long term and trying to keep a sustainable system. Youíve put in more hours than I ever will, so no disrespect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Really? You don't think a 6% grade trail can be sustainably built? I.. But just for comparison, the oft-used example of a directional climbing trail is Armstrong in Park City and that is 6.6% grade.
    6% climbing trail would be great. I climbed the new Heart Trail on my Ripmo just before it was completed. It was a long steep climb, but entirely ride able except for the top where it pitches up a bit and has some rollers. Those seem to rip you hard when you are already tired. Still it very climbable. On the other side of the Mtn there is only dirt road and really that is hard in spots too just because it long and steep. So any climbing trail will be tough. 6% as a grade is very respectable. I have never climbed Sunset trail, but have done Climb 3 many times. One big reason was I did not want to have a head on with fast moving DH rider. It seems like very few if any riders when down climb 3 so that in fact made it perfect to climb. Long climbs when pushing often put you a little brain dead and is nice not have constantly worry about a stream of 15-20 mph DH rockets coming in groups. It probably not possible to have a climb only trail, but would be good to have a climb Primary trail and make it clear DH users need to yield to uphill.

    One other thing to consider is that given the popularity of gravel bikes now you might see riders climbing Elden Road and then taking a mellow downhill ST down on gravel bikes if it were there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdcatnau View Post
    I have not rode Park City as Iíve only been there once for a work conference. Is the soil type the same? Do they get more precipitation and snowfall than Flag? We will probably agree to disagree on 6% slope. My opinion is coming from seeing people stop for breaks on Dog food all the way up to secret. I try to make it in one shot, it just depends how much I get to ride.

    Iím not saying adventure tourism is a selling point. You see the cars at the trail heads this summer. If more trails are built like Heart, as you describe as a destination trail, that area will be packed in summers even more so because eventually word will spread. I know more people from my old Vegas MTB club are coming out to ride more than when I lived there. Also, with remote work gaining popularity during these strange times, people will be moving here. I know people in my group from Phoenix have already asked if they can move to Flagstaff. Iím sure most corporations will see the same people not want to live in Phoenix, California, Las Vegas or other metropolitan areas. How many people try to get out of paying for parking at trail heads in Sedona?

    Iím just trying to think long term and trying to keep a sustainable system. Youíve put in more hours than I ever will, so no disrespect.
    None taken. It would be nice to have a unified voice from the mtn bike community but everyone wants something different from the trail network. Easy trails, technical trails, etc. Trail diversity. In some ways, hikers want the same but they also want to get from A to B or to a destination rather than the ride itself. Hard to make everyone happy. Meanwhile, conservationists are bent on protecting the area. No new trails or adoptions, close the roads and keep people out.

    Personally, I really don't see Flag becoming a destination like Sedona no matter how much we improve the trail system. Maybe I'm wrong on that but the area doesn't have the same scenic qualities. IMO.

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    Remember that Flagstaff is a destination for Phoenix riders escaping the heat. Durango is destination as well. Prescott is becoming a major force in mtn biking due in large part constant trail building and City promotion. Flagstaff has terrain, but has always had tough politics that prevent it from reaching it full potential. If you add in a proper DH bike park at Snowbowl and then great network on trails in the area it would be amazing. I think the geography allows for so much, but the various interest groups are big stumbling block. Heck just think about "King Joe" and by decree you can make any trail type in any location you want in the flag area including SF peaks. That would so cool. Yeah fantasy land I know, but that just means the limits are politics not terrain.
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    So read the proposal, are there plans for 3 as yet TBD directional trails in conjunction with a realigned ginger, oldham, little gnarly bypass and jedi or are those the directional trails in question.

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    JoePaz, just curious how many miles do you ride a week? I average 40.

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    Rock man, you need to get away from Elden and see the skills park. My friends come from Vegas just for the skills park since they canít shuttle Elden. Everyday I think today is the day to learn to jump, nope Iím not standing there with 15- people to wait my turn.

    Heck a couple weekends ago I had to get over for 14-riders on the loop trail by Walnut Canyon. They were all wearing Cycle Path bike shop jerseys. Until the White Mountains get their act together with adventure tourism, this is the summer destination.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdcatnau View Post
    I have not rode Park City as Iíve only been there once for a work conference. Is the soil type the same? Do they get more precipitation and snowfall than Flag? We will probably agree to disagree on 6% slope. My opinion is coming from seeing people stop for breaks on Dog food all the way up to secret. I try to make it in one shot, it just depends how much I get to ride.

    Iím not saying adventure tourism is a selling point. You see the cars at the trail heads this summer. If more trails are built like Heart, as you describe as a destination trail, that area will be packed in summers even more so because eventually word will spread. I know more people from my old Vegas MTB club are coming out to ride more than when I lived there. Also, with remote work gaining popularity during these strange times, people will be moving here. I know people in my group from Phoenix have already asked if they can move to Flagstaff. Iím sure most corporations will see the same people not want to live in Phoenix, California, Las Vegas or other metropolitan areas. How many people try to get out of paying for parking at trail heads in Sedona?

    Iím just trying to think long term and trying to keep a sustainable system. Youíve put in more hours than I ever will, so no disrespect.
    We built a climbing trail a few seasons ago as part of a bunch of new directional trails. I'm going to say it gets REAL tough to make an average grade less than 6% real quick when there's any significant elevation to climb. You just don't go anywhere fast enough and require so much real-estate that it's not practical. Terrain forced us to go more than 6% for some short sections, and there-in lies the real issue, if you can make a nice sustained 6%, that's perfect, but when it's an average with a bunch of significantly steeper sections, that's where it gets significantly harder (for some people) IMO.

    Sustainability is well...what it is. No such thing as a truly sustainable trail, it all takes work and maintenance. Well built trails require less, but there's no such thing IMO as a "sustainable" trail. Those wash-out trails on the NW side of Schultz were built on the fall-lines with no regard to proper erosion control. They shouldn't be used as good examples of anything.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdcatnau View Post
    JoePaz, just curious how many miles do you ride a week? I average 40.
    I have been about 120 miles for the past couple months. Not all of that in Flagstaff of course. I have been able to get up there at least once a week now that it so warm in town.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdcatnau View Post
    Rock man, you need to get away from Elden and see the skills park. My friends come from Vegas just for the skills park since they canít shuttle Elden. Everyday I think today is the day to learn to jump, nope Iím not standing there with 15- people to wait my turn.

    Heck a couple weekends ago I had to get over for 14-riders on the loop trail by Walnut Canyon. They were all wearing Cycle Path bike shop jerseys. Until the White Mountains get their act together with adventure tourism, this is the summer destination.
    Well I helped get the money to build the skills park so I know all about it. I'm not sure exactly what your point is but I think you desire more easy and intermediate trails, and to pay for those trails, market the area as an adventure tourism hotspot?

    I think a lot of folks in this town would disagree and pushing the plan as mtn bike disneyland and an IMBA gold level-Ride Center is not the best way to engender support from a diverse group of stakeholders as well as those who value the area for things other than recreation.

    I think we need more options for advanced riders. If that's what you mean then I'm on board but I don't necessarily believe we need to shuttle to get to those trails. I think of it as planning the trail network flagstaff deserves after years of being mired in mediocrity. We're not just one but two decades behind most mtn towns.

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    I donít want more easier trails, just your comment that this is not a destination place I feel is incorrect. I gave personal funds anonymously to the skills park because I had something similar at Bootleg Canyon when I lived there.

    Are you reading comments on social media? People are wanting IMBA gold level trails. Why wouldnít you? It stinks that this report is 7-years old and probably doesnít meet the needs for the population growth seen since then.

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    Other than provide comments via the official channel, what can we do as a community to maintain this project at the top of the list? The last thing we want to see is it slide off the priority list like it did back in 2013.




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    Quote Originally Posted by jdcatnau View Post
    I donít want more easier trails, just your comment that this is not a destination place I feel is incorrect. I gave personal funds anonymously to the skills park because I had something similar at Bootleg Canyon when I lived there.

    Are you reading comments on social media? People are wanting IMBA gold level trails. Why wouldnít you? It stinks that this report is 7-years old and probably doesnít meet the needs for the population growth seen since then.
    Right now, the only thing about Flagstaff and MTB that is destination is the weather. Get out to some other communities and you will quickly see that we are a decade or 2 behind the curve as far as a trail network goes. No real advanced trails, in fact if u look up forest service trails, none are black diamond. The only routes that served the advanced crowd were illegal trails built by locals. Bottom line, our trail network for the most part sux and is in dire need of an overhaul.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdcatnau View Post
    I donít want more easier trails, just your comment that this is not a destination place I feel is incorrect. I gave personal funds anonymously to the skills park because I had something similar at Bootleg Canyon when I lived there.

    Are you reading comments on social media? People are wanting IMBA gold level trails. Why wouldnít you? It stinks that this report is 7-years old and probably doesnít meet the needs for the population growth seen since then.
    Sorry I misread your post then. I guess to me needing breaks on Dogfood or 4% grade directional climbing trails implies a desire for easier trails. Don't get me wrong, I think we need those too.

    The bike park is a smashing success and a huge win for the community. Thanks for donating!

    What report is 7 years old? A proposal is not a report. If you are referring to the new proposed action there is substantially more in it than was included in the 2013 proposed action. In fact, it is quite a bit more ambitious and much more outside the box than what the collaborative group recommended. Personally, I don't think we have any destination-type trails except for now maybe Heart and I'm not sure that's the way to sell the project or get people to send in favorable comments. It's a pretty small area and there need to also be trails for other users. It's not just about mtn biking and while we have been 3rd class citizens for like forever with few exceptions none of the social trails we have enjoyed for years have been closed. Frankly, there are a lot of people in this town that don't like mountain bikers and I think you get more bees with honey.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Sorry I misread your post then. I guess to me needing breaks on Dogfood or 4% grade directional climbing trails implies a desire for easier trails. Don't get me wrong, I think we need those too.

    The bike park is a smashing success and a huge win for the community. Thanks for donating!

    What report is 7 years old? A proposal is not a report. If you are referring to the new proposed action there is substantially more in it than was included in the 2013 proposed action. In fact, it is quite a bit more ambitious and much more outside the box than what the collaborative group recommended. Personally, I don't think we have any destination-type trails except for now maybe Heart and I'm not sure that's the way to sell the project or get people to send in favorable comments. It's a pretty small area and there need to also be trails for other users. It's not just about mtn biking and while we have been 3rd class citizens for like forever with few exceptions none of the social trails we have enjoyed for years have been closed. Frankly, there are a lot of people in this town that don't like mountain bikers and I think you get more bees with honey.
    My bad I thought the report was from 2013 that recently came out. I need to buy you a beer and discuss issues.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maadjurguer View Post
    Other than provide comments via the official channel, what can we do as a community to maintain this project at the top of the list? The last thing we want to see is it slide off the priority list like it did back in 2013.
    The word on the street is that our new District Ranger (on the job now for a year and a half) was mostly hired to make this project happen. Not sure if that is true or not but it is most certainly a high priority with the District. FWPP got in the way back then. Momentum is high right now despite covid.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdcatnau View Post
    My bad I thought the report was from 2013 that recently came out. I need to buy you a beer and discuss issues.
    No worries, but speaking of the 2013 Proposed Action for the debbie downers out there it's worth noting that just about everything FBO advocated for back in our 2014 comment letter made it into the new proposal. There are some tweaks and two notable exceptions but I am very optomistic. https://flagstaffbiking.org/wp-conte...entsPA_FBO.pdf

    I'd also like to add that FBO nor anyone in the mtn bike community was consulted by the forest service prior to the release of this new proposal. Thus, none of the concepts trails or proposed adoptions were in any way influenced by recent meetings, emails, or conversations. The only input and document used in formulating this new PA is from the collaborative group. They obviously used some of the recommendations while discarding others. As the land manager that is their prerogative.

    You also mentioned social media posts and it's worth noting that everything in this thread is also being read by the Sierra Club. In fact, raisingarizona and myself are cyber-stalked by certain individuals. They screen-shot our comments from here, facebook, and instagram and use them against us to suit their agenda. Recently, something I said on this forum in 2012 was used to paint me in an unfavorable light in order to influence other members of the MEDL collaborative group regarding my advocacy efforts on the behalf of mountain bikers. That's the reality as sad and pathetic as it is.

    Anyhow, getting lost in the weeds here. I encourage everyone to submit their comments and suggestions as there will be many that oppose this forward-thinking proposal.

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    Hey, I am having trouble commenting. I click the link in the scoping letter and the website you comment on refuses to connect. Is anyone else having this problem or is it just me?

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    I am assuming a mid mountain trail circumnavigating Elden and little Elden is completely out of the question with all the MSOís? From like Oldham to little bear. (That would be truly epic and an amazing connector). If the south side of Elden is off limits how come they were able to put a hiking trail there? Iíve heard you say north side of little Elden is also a no go for owl reason. I love protecting endangered species but I guess I just donít understand how a non motorized 3ft trail 100 yards from a high nest interferes with them. Are they not nocturnal anyway?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones2 View Post
    I am assuming a mid mountain trail circumnavigating Elden and little Elden is completely out of the question with all the MSOís? From like Oldham to little bear. (That would be truly epic and an amazing connector). If the south side of Elden is off limits how come they were able to put a hiking trail there? Iíve heard you say north side of little Elden is also a no go for owl reason. I love protecting endangered species but I guess I just donít understand how a non motorized 3ft trail 100 yards from a high nest interferes with them. Are they not nocturnal anyway?
    It's more the terrain rather than MSO PACs that make that trail suggestion unrealistic. The north side of L. Elden is really steep and there are cliff bands, etc elsewhere. The PACs are located in that upper L. Bear drainage, and the U. Oldham/Private Reserve, Red Onion, and Wasabi area, and there's another one in the L. Brookbank drainage. There's also the Schultz PAC and CanI trail goes right through the nest core.

    The impact of recreation on owls is oft debated. The biggest threat is catastrophic wildfire. The northern MSO is predated upon by another owl species. The science is not great on how different users affect owls but depending on the study in some ways mtn bikers and motos have less impact because they mostly "play through". That is, the behavior is predicable and wildlife quickly return to foraging, nesting, fornicating or whatever. It's when users, arguably the biggest percentage being hikers, stop and talk loudly that wildlife gets agitated. It's worse when user wander off trail. Arguably the biggest impact to nesting birds is bird watchers themselves. Nobody likes getting "scoped" right? Or, off-leash dogs. These are my opinions from reading peer-reviewed research and presentations or site visits by the biologists.

    I can't remember if I said this already but it's usually a "give and take" scenario between the two federal agencies. One is trying to provide recreational opportunities on federally managed public land and the other has a mandate to protect endangered and threatened species. What folks don't realize is there have already been several cases where the forest service has pushed through trails in owl habitat and the USFWS issued a "take". They'll only allow so many "takes" and then the party is over. For example, the AZT near snowbowl is arguably one of Arizona's finest trail but would never have been built if there hadn't been some compromise. And to their credit they haven't made a huge deal about trails that are already there in the MEDL footprint and there is flexibility for adoption and realignment but it's a different deal when a new trail with additional mileage is proposed. It's just not going to happen if it's in an established MSO PAC. And I never hear this really articulated but I believe the Flagstaff Ranger District is mostly out of "takes". Again, these are my opinions from the outside looking in but it's obvious from looking at the proposal where concessions have been made or the biologists were being flexible.

    Anyhow, the owl is the driver in the proposed action so it's worth the explanation and learning more about them. The Recovery Plan can be found here: https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/MSO_RecoveryPlan.html

    For peer-reviewed science and the impacts of trails on wildlife this is a go-to resource. https://mbosc.org/mtb-impact-faq/

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    It's more the terrain rather than MSO PACs that make that trail suggestion unrealistic. The north side of L. Elden is really steep and there are cliff bands, etc elsewhere. The PACs are located in that upper L. Bear drainage, and the U. Oldham/Private Reserve, Red Onion, and Wasabi area, and there's another one in the L. Brookbank drainage. There's also the Schultz PAC and CanI trail goes right through the nest core.

    The impact of recreation on owls is oft debated. The biggest threat is catastrophic wildfire. The northern MSO is predated upon by another owl species. The science is not great on how different users affect owls but depending on the study in some ways mtn bikers and motos have less impact because they mostly "play through". That is, the behavior is predicable and wildlife quickly return to foraging, nesting, fornicating or whatever. It's when users, arguably the biggest percentage being hikers, stop and talk loudly that wildlife gets agitated. It's worse when user wander off trail. Arguably the biggest impact to nesting birds is bird watchers themselves. Nobody likes getting "scoped" right? Or, off-leash dogs. These are my opinions from reading peer-reviewed research and presentations or site visits by the biologists.

    I can't remember if I said this already but it's usually a "give and take" scenario between the two federal agencies. One is trying to provide recreational opportunities on federally managed public land and the other has a mandate to protect endangered and threatened species. What folks don't realize is there have already been several cases where the forest service has pushed through trails in owl habitat and the USFWS issued a "take". They'll only allow so many "takes" and then the party is over. For example, the AZT near snowbowl is arguably one of Arizona's finest trail but would never have been built if there hadn't been some compromise. And to their credit they haven't made a huge deal about trails that are already there in the MEDL footprint and there is flexibility for adoption and realignment but it's a different deal when a new trail with additional mileage is proposed. It's just not going to happen if it's in an established MSO PAC. And I never hear this really articulated but I believe the Flagstaff Ranger District is mostly out of "takes". Again, these are my opinions from the outside looking in but it's obvious from looking at the proposal where concessions have been made or the biologists were being flexible.

    Anyhow, the owl is the driver in the proposed action so it's worth the explanation and learning more about them. The Recovery Plan can be found here: https://www.fws.gov/southwest/es/MSO_RecoveryPlan.html

    For peer-reviewed science and the impacts of trails on wildlife this is a go-to resource. https://mbosc.org/mtb-impact-faq/
    Thanks for the info, interesting and informative as always.

    The Santa Cruz site was very interesting on current knowledge of impact on the environment.

    As far as the link to the MSO plan... 382 pages was a bit much. The 18 page MEDL plan was enough.

    In a town like Flagstaff, with many interests opposing change, I appreciate your levelheaded advocacy on the part of Mountain Bikers. If most of this plan gets approved it will be a huge win.

    NEPA evaluation. How long does that usually take? Is it safe to assume that the proposed action plan was designed to mostly pass? Or is it a crapshoot what they will allow or will not?

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    The site connected finally and I commented, a lot. 5 pages. Super happy this is happening!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bones2 View Post
    NEPA evaluation. How long does that usually take? Is it safe to assume that the proposed action plan was designed to mostly pass? Or is it a crapshoot what they will allow or will not?
    Thanks for the props! With regard to timeline a signed decision is expected fall 2021. My impression is they front-loaded many of their concepts and alignments by consulting with their own specialists and the USFWS to come up with a plan with a chance of mostly being accepted. They also based some decisions on the recommendations of the MEDL collaborative group so that helped identify the problem areas. All that homework will save time during NEPA analysis but it will still take a year.

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    As much as it gets fought about, if Snowbowl had a downhill park, much of the complaints about MEDL would go away. It would resolve the complaints from shuttlers, from DH guys, from people wanting more advanced trails, etc. It doesn't even need to be Snowbowl, it could be Bill Williams, or Mormon Mountain - but it does need to be easily shuttled and with lots of "gnarly" jump/drop trails. If people are coming from Vegas, maybe there is a possibility that a DH park built at the Elk Ridge Ski Area in Williams would satisfy the need? Or Oak Hill? It's interesting that the USFS for the last 60 or so years was completely cool with people rocketing down icey hills into trees, but mountain bikers with brakes can't a purpose built DH park?

    Lately I've taken the stance of "WE HAVE A LOT OF MOUNTAINS WHY DO ALL THE TRAILS NEED TO BE BUILT ON THIS ONE?"

    1. MEDL is popular because it's easily shuttled.

    Sedona get its notoriety because its goes from pretty easy (although even easy in Sedona is a challenge for new riders) to very hard, borderline dangerous. However, I've talked with folks from Phoenix about whether the prefer Sedona to Flagstaff, and many of them, especially those with a DH bike in the arsenal, prefer Flagstaff due to the ease of shuttle. I've asked these same riders how often they do Highline, and many don't because of the climbing involved. Pansies.

    Prescott and White Mountains also gets overlooked often by these same groups, because neither has the janky jumps, rock slabs and drops they associate with freeride and North Shore (even though Prescott Dells are some is some of the techiest trail in the state.)

    2. MEDL's most notorious trails are popular because they still have a north-shore freeride feel.

    The problem is that aside from Private Reserve and it's Happy Ending or Lone Eagle, there aren't many "instagram" worthy moves on Elden. There are a select group who still have the freeride mindset and want scary moves that only they (bros and pros) can hit. Oh, and that they can access via shuttle so they can take their DH bike.

    To summarize: we need the Tuthill Jump/Skills Park on the side of Elden (or Bill Williams, or . Until that happens, you won't please everyone - and yep, trail such wills be rebuilt.

    Now that I've got that out, I'll try to form some comments on the proposed plan.
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  43. #43
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    Rockman,

    Is there a map showing MSO areas overlayed on the current trail system?
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  44. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    Rockman,

    Is there a map showing MSO areas overlayed on the current trail system?
    Yes but I'm not comfortable posting the maps on social media. I'm uncertain as to the legality but I do think the public has a right to know. If you want to see the maps you could email the Rec Staff Officer. Maybe they could put one out that is rather general for the area?

    With regard to trails that didn't make it into the plan you can pretty much conclude it's because of owls. I would make comments like, "I would really like to see CanI and Private Reserve on the system". It's likely not going to happen but just the comment itself indicates an "unmet need" and indicates to the land manager that they need to find a suitable place elsewhere for a similar type recreational experience.

    As for the other stuff, I disagree somewhat. Is shuttling a thing anymore? At least not for locals; more so for visitors wanting to maximize their time. 10 or 15 years ago the bikes required for some of the advanced trails were difficult to pedal uphill but now a 5 or 6" bike is just as uphill capable as an XC bike of yesteryear yet can bomb the gnarliest of descents. Because of bike technology, fitness probably dictates it more than the bike now. On the other hand, there are dozens of folks shuttling Schultz Creek and Snowbowl Rd so there's obviously still a desire for getting to the top the easy way. Maybe lift-served biking would take care of that need but not entirely.

    Mtn biking is going to happen at Snowbowl and maybe Bill Williams as well. The plan is in some sort of back-and-forth thing with the FS but sometime soon it will also be in NEPA. I do think it will help ease pressure on the MEDL system but I also think we're talking about different types of trails. A ski area bike park is more about flow trails and constructed trail features. The advanced trails on Elden offer a less contrived backcountry experience with natural features and challenge that blend into the landscape.

    Make no mistake though, biking at snowbowl is just as controversial. For example, have a look at the 2013 MEDL comments. Several comments including those from the local Sierra Club representatives point to Snowbowl as the appropriate location for directional mtn biking trails. Yet, the Sierra Club opposes every move made by Snowbowl when they try to do anything to improve their operations and product.

  45. #45
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    Is shuttling still a thing? I think so. When I'm playing tour guide for friends from Phoenix who want to see the gnarliest trails in the shortest amount of time, we shuttle. When I'm riding with locals, I suffer up the climbs.

    But I think it's more common than that, too. I think people shuttle up to take pictures on various trails. The only reason it isn't super evident this year is because of the closures.

    If I couldn't shuttle Elden, would I be sad? Not really, with one exception - Heart, but I'd just start from Shultz Tank instead of the Y.

    If CanI, Pickle, Private Reserve, Lone Eagle go away, do I know people who will no longer come to Flagstaff to ride? Yep. I know a few locals who will be pretty sour, too.

    Should the MELD plans cater to those who shuttle, or those few locals who need dangerous trails to feel alive? Nope.

    But from a larger trail/rec planning standpoint, we could draw in a lot of riders (and someone could make some money) if there was an easily access (shuttle or lift) DH park on the side of some mountain in NAZ.
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  46. #46
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    Good points PHeller! I don't shuttle much either but certainly have elsewhere on trails like Wasatch Crest, Monarch Pass, Molas Pass etc. Perhaps they will issue special use permits to run shuttles. There was an RFP 18 months ago for Elden Lookout Rd but I don't know where that went. That seems like a good solution to me rather than closing Elden Lookout Rd and Schultz Pass Rd to motorized travel.

    Many of the trails were past their prime with a short shelf life because of unsustainable layouts. Rake and ride doesn't work and I think that we can build even better trails if given the chance. We just proved that with Heart.
    Last edited by rockman; 4 Weeks Ago at 06:15 AM.

  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Thanks for the props! With regard to timeline a signed decision is expected fall 2021. My impression is they front-loaded many of their concepts and alignments by consulting with their own specialists and the USFWS to come up with a plan with a chance of mostly being accepted. They also based some decisions on the recommendations of the MEDL collaborative group so that helped identify the problem areas. All that homework will save time during NEPA analysis but it will still take a year.
    So is the Fall 2021 including the NEPA analysis or does that 1 year start after fall 2021?
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    I've scouted an alignment for Upper Old Ham that would be an amazing way to climb up that side of the mountain. I'd say it's in the 4% to 6% grade range mostly. I tried to create a line that would be almost like you barely know that you are going up. The FS line on the map is actually pretty close but not quite correct for that sort of experience. I've never thought of it as a directional uphill trail though, that would be a shame for those that would benefit from a green descent from up there. When my daughter was younger I really wish we had a trail that was shuttlable and fun for her. The AZT was too much as well as everything else up high on Elden. She's not interested in riding any longer. A bike park and some easier trails to shuttle would have likely harvested a love for her with the sport. Oh well......there's a future participant lost now. These aren't the types of users that are going to blow by hikers and uphill riders while screaming strava.

    Rocky Ridge......hmmm, I have to say that it should be rerouted to create a more attractive connector. I don't ride it anymore because it's kind of a gut punch when I need that energy to go farther and on stuff I actually enjoy. I get that for a quick hit it's a great little out and back that provides a good work out but we could create that experience (much better though and much more fun) in the Shultz stacked loop system. There's some very cool tech featured stuff up there. RR is a much needed connector that most people bypass by using the road, I think that's unfortunate in the overall, big picture planning of a professionally designed trail system.

    A bike park is one solution for that sort of experience and definitely needed but so are shuttle trails. A bike park here would likely only be opened on weekends and holidays, the rest of the time the people looking for a descending experience will want something to shuttle. There's nothing wrong with that, anyone that is really good at dh has put in there time riding chairs and shuttles. Elden could provide a more bc experience or feel but I bet we are going to be building some machine built stuff that will get us more flow and bigger features. I'm currently learning how to build with a mini x and am quickly becoming sold on there use. The possibilities are insane with those things and it makes quick work of what would be an all out epic trying to do as a hand build. There's an area along the lower section of Upper Old Ham (where it uses the old road bed) that would be really good for a flow trail and a little higher up on the hillside, an aggressive, more natural old school dh sort of trail that could incorporate all kinds of big rock features and short, steep shots. It's actually really sick in there! Ginger has potential as well, I found all kinds of build-able features hiking in there the other day, drops, step downs, a wall ride etc.

    It's pretty easy to draw lines on a map and think it's a great looking system and something you want to see happen and then there's reality. When I look at the conceptual maps here posted by the FS MEDL plan and posters on this forum I see a lot of stuff that's not really worth our time or it simply won't work. Also, the mountain tells a builder what kind of character a trail si going to have, you can't desire one type of experience when the terrain just isn't available. You have to find those places to create that sort of trail that you are after. There's plenty of distance on those blue lines in the MEDL plan that don't really provide much of anything for cool, fun and interesting terrain. Maybe with a machine we could cut in a big bench with jumps? Those cross slopes sure are gnarly tho! Luckily this is purely conceptual and we have time to figure out stuff that's going to really work and benefit the system and community.

  49. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    So is the Fall 2021 including the NEPA analysis or does that 1 year start after fall 2021?
    There will likely be an appeal period after the Preferred Alternative is released with another comment period. The timeline is a signed Decision by October 2021. So implementation in 2022. And it wouldn't be surprising if there is a lawsuit to dispute the findings.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    There will likely be an appeal period after the Preferred Alternative is released with another comment period. The timeline is a signed Decision by October 2021. So implementation in 2022. And it wouldn't be surprising if there is a lawsuit to dispute the findings.
    This is so frustrating to think after years of planning it will still take 2 years-ish before any dirt gets moved. And this does not even bring up funding. I assume some funding is required as well. This is no dig on you, but I don't know how you survive the slow pace of progress. That would drive me nuts. This is part of the reason people build trails illegally. 2-3 weeks of work or 3-5 years of waiting. Then 3 months of "work". I will stay that some progress is better than no progress though.
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  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by raisingarizona View Post
    I've scouted an alignment for Upper Old Ham that would be an amazing way to climb up that side of the mountain. I'd say it's in the 4% to 6% grade range mostly. I tried to create a line that would be almost like you barely know that you are going up. The FS line on the map is actually pretty close but not quite correct for that sort of experience. I've never thought of it as a directional uphill trail though, that would be a shame for those that would benefit from a green descent from up there. When my daughter was younger I really wish we had a trail that was shuttlable and fun for her. The AZT was too much as well as everything else up high on Elden. She's not interested in riding any longer. A bike park and some easier trails to shuttle would have likely harvested a love for her with the sport. Oh well......there's a future participant lost now. These aren't the types of users that are going to blow by hikers and uphill riders while screaming strava.

    Rocky Ridge......hmmm, I have to say that it should be rerouted to create a more attractive connector. I don't ride it anymore because it's kind of a gut punch when I need that energy to go farther and on stuff I actually enjoy. I get that for a quick hit it's a great little out and back that provides a good work out but we could create that experience (much better though and much more fun) in the Shultz stacked loop system. There's some very cool tech featured stuff up there. RR is a much needed connector that most people bypass by using the road, I think that's unfortunate in the overall, big picture planning of a professionally designed trail system.

    A bike park is one solution for that sort of experience and definitely needed but so are shuttle trails. A bike park here would likely only be opened on weekends and holidays, the rest of the time the people looking for a descending experience will want something to shuttle. There's nothing wrong with that, anyone that is really good at dh has put in there time riding chairs and shuttles. Elden could provide a more bc experience or feel but I bet we are going to be building some machine built stuff that will get us more flow and bigger features. I'm currently learning how to build with a mini x and am quickly becoming sold on there use. The possibilities are insane with those things and it makes quick work of what would be an all out epic trying to do as a hand build. There's an area along the lower section of Upper Old Ham (where it uses the old road bed) that would be really good for a flow trail and a little higher up on the hillside, an aggressive, more natural old school dh sort of trail that could incorporate all kinds of big rock features and short, steep shots. It's actually really sick in there! Ginger has potential as well, I found all kinds of build-able features hiking in there the other day, drops, step downs, a wall ride etc.

    It's pretty easy to draw lines on a map and think it's a great looking system and something you want to see happen and then there's reality. When I look at the conceptual maps here posted by the FS MEDL plan and posters on this forum I see a lot of stuff that's not really worth our time or it simply won't work. Also, the mountain tells a builder what kind of character a trail si going to have, you can't desire one type of experience when the terrain just isn't available. You have to find those places to create that sort of trail that you are after. There's plenty of distance on those blue lines in the MEDL plan that don't really provide much of anything for cool, fun and interesting terrain. Maybe with a machine we could cut in a big bench with jumps? Those cross slopes sure are gnarly tho! Luckily this is purely conceptual and we have time to figure out stuff that's going to really work and benefit the system and community.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails MEDL trail plan out for public comment-pilgrim.jpg  





  52. #52
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    This gives me a little bit of hope which is a lot right now. I have been in a dark place for a while now, perhaps too much work, and canceled vacation plans. I will admit that I think about leaving Flagstaff and relocating permanently to some where else with better trails on a weekly basis as of late.
    Sure the museum fire is mostly to blame. I now look forward to the winter and time in Sedona more than I do good weather here.

    I sure hope the destruction of of private reserve can at least wait unit they throw those of us who can and do enjoy riding that sort of trail some sort of a bone. Or at least wait till were over the loss of Ginger. Private feels like all I have left that offers the sort of riding I like. Especially since the good stuff on private reserve has been mercifully spared from necessary logging, fire and flooding. Its also nice having the road closed right now as its really the only climbing trail and I am not that into shuttling any way. I have been riding private nearly every weekend since the closure lifted and I have seen some other tire tracks but only saw another trail users, a runner going uphill once. Cant help but think the impact when not shuttling is pretty small.

    Maybe we could build a cool steep rocky traverse that intersects Jedi near the top and then crosses sheep herder and then Can I further down and eventually rocky ridge, but its probably in an owl pac ? I really need to learn the Pac areas before I waste a bunch of time proposing any thing I suppose.

    It would be cool to have some jump drop boulder obstacle trails of progressing difficulty in the areas between paradise wash and Elden grave, some nice ridges not too steep or flat.

  53. #53
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    Curious if the FS would be open to ďB-linesĒ on some of the blue trails to spice them up? This way it keeps the majority of people in their skill level and adds something for people to work up to.

  54. #54
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    Quote Originally Posted by JoePAz View Post
    This is so frustrating to think after years of planning it will still take 2 years-ish before any dirt gets moved. And this does not even bring up funding. I assume some funding is required as well. This is no dig on you, but I don't know how you survive the slow pace of progress. That would drive me nuts. This is part of the reason people build trails illegally. 2-3 weeks of work or 3-5 years of waiting. Then 3 months of "work". I will stay that some progress is better than no progress though.
    The only way to go from a mediocre trail network to awesome is to go legit and it takes time. Besides, there's no low-hanging fruit in the project area or there would likely be even more rake and ride trails. I find the timeline frustrating as well. Frankly, I would have been happy if we could have rerouted lower Brookbank and upper Oldham like they told us 15 years ago. But that put the wheels in motion with a real plan than just some bandaide fixes. And to their credit, they never closed any trails and recognize the unmet demand. The only exceptions I can think of was Flyng Fish off snowbowl rd with the janky wooden stunts and upper Easter Island.

    The other positive about the timeline is that the folks that love the status quo or the idea that building a world-class trail network will bring in hordes of tourists have another 2 years to keep riding the clapped out trails.

    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjay View Post
    I sure hope the destruction of of private reserve can at least wait unit they throw those of us who can and do enjoy riding that sort of trail some sort of a bone. Or at least wait till were over the loss of Ginger. Private feels like all I have left that offers the sort of riding I like. Especially since the good stuff on private reserve has been mercifully spared from necessary logging, fire and flooding. Its also nice having the road closed right now as its really the only climbing trail and I am not that into shuttling any way. I have been riding private nearly every weekend since the closure lifted and I have seen some other tire tracks but only saw another trail users, a runner going uphill once. Cant help but think the impact when not shuttling is pretty small. .
    I don't believe they will close and obliterate anything until there is a suitable replacement. The younger generation have discovered and have been hitting PV hard.

    Quote Originally Posted by bikerjay View Post
    Maybe we could build a cool steep rocky traverse that intersects Jedi near the top and then crosses sheep herder and then Can I further down and eventually rocky ridge, but its probably in an owl pac ? I really need to learn the Pac areas before I waste a bunch of time proposing any thing I suppose. .
    We proposed this in our comment letter in 2013 but starting at the top of CanI and largely skirting the owl pac boundary. There's some fantastic terrain in there to work with. And an existing social trail that some bikers call Oney and hikers call the Stilley trail. We called it Buckrut or Kessel Run to stay with the star wars motif. It didn't make it into the plan but we may still advocate for it. As RA said we really need to scout the conceptual trail the FS proposed dropping off the Ridge trail to the Schultz Y stacked loops.

    Quote Originally Posted by jdcatnau View Post
    Curious if the FS would be open to ďB-linesĒ on some of the blue trails to spice them up? This way it keeps the majority of people in their skill level and adds something for people to work up to.
    There's going to have to be. And for some trails like Jedi that will be share-use there maybe be trail runners coming up the trail just as your hitting a jump or the crux rock rollover move.

  55. #55
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    I have been getting others opinions on the MEDL plan and I have largely heard the following:
    -The plan is a great start and they like all of the trails currently in it
    -Private Reserve and Can I should be in the plan, more advanced trails for bikes
    -I have heard a desire to open up the Devils Chair Trail to mtbers, especially in the Blue Dot area
    -More loops in the DLH area and on top of Elden
    I agree with most of these except Can I. Its in the center of the MSO PAC and a drainage. I would advocate for it if it wasn't in the MSO PAC but it is, gotta lose some to get some. I agree that Private Reserve should be adopted with reroutes, especially on the bottom half. Loop on the SW edge of the DLH would be great, same with on top of Elden. I do support all of the trails already in it and am stoked for all of them. I also think Upper Wasabi should be added as I don't wanna get on the road to get to it. The Blue Dot/Devil Chair ideas I have heard sound good, but it might be too difficult and dangerous to have bikes in Devils Chair. If I was making the plan I would have a Blue Dot open to bikers but the Devils Chair trail closed to bikes. I made another map with my additions which include Private Reserve, 9000' Elden Loop, DLH Loop, a traversing trail from Sunset across Climb 3 to Brookbank, the Blue Dot idea I mentioned above, A singletrack trail on the south side of Elden replacing Forces of Nature, U. Wasabi, a change to the Sunset reroute, and a hiking connector. Very similar to the map I posted before but with some additions and changes.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails MEDL trail plan out for public comment-medladjust2.jpg  


  56. #56
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    Can I make the suggestion that if you're going to go to the trouble to create a map, that you designate line symbology/colors for trails that will be new, vs those that are existing? Even something as simple as "Green = Switch Existing to Hiker Primary, Orange = Switch Existing to MTB Primary, Red = Existing/Close, Yellow = Existing/Rebuild/Re-Align/Directional, Blue = Equestrian Primary, Purple = New MTB Specific".

    When I look at your map, I can't tell what's new, what's old, what's changing, etc. I think you're really close, but perhaps some changing of the symbology will help better identify what your proposing.

    Often times, I would symbolize existing trails that we don't need to touch as just a dashed line on the map with a small name label.

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  57. #57
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    The link to the comments website is broken. They missed a hyphen.

    Use this instead: https://cara.ecosystem-management.or...?Project=38239
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    The link to the comments website is broken. They missed a hyphen.

    Use this instead: https://cara.ecosystem-management.or...?Project=38239
    Thanks for posting the correct URL. I had tried the original and it never worked. Doing a WHOIS on the [incorrect, i.e., without the dash] domain indicated that it was registered and owned in the UK -- which seemed pretty odd for USFS.

    So -- since the Cover Letter for the MEDL contains an incorrect URL will the USFS repost all their info with the corrections?

    -db-

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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    Can I make the suggestion that if you're going to go to the trouble to create a map, that you designate line symbology/colors for trails that will be new, vs those that are existing? Even something as simple as "Green = Switch Existing to Hiker Primary, Orange = Switch Existing to MTB Primary, Red = Existing/Close, Yellow = Existing/Rebuild/Re-Align/Directional, Blue = Equestrian Primary, Purple = New MTB Specific".

    When I look at your map, I can't tell what's new, what's old, what's changing, etc. I think you're really close, but perhaps some changing of the symbology will help better identify what your proposing.

    Often times, I would symbolize existing trails that we don't need to touch as just a dashed line on the map with a small name label.

    Respectfully: former trail planner and current GIS professional.
    Yeah it was a quick 10 minute draw up on MS Paint, not the best for mapping. I might make a better one with your suggestions- thanks.

    What are you guys stoked for on the plan? What would you like to see added?

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    There's a lot to digest and I haven't put all of my thoughts together - at least coherently - but here's one thought and one question:

    Thought: The quality we're seeing in the new trail builds (Heart, LE, Schultz, etc.) has me incredibly excited to see what the build crews can do with a black/double black trail. Most of our hard trails are hard for the wrong reasons, such as erosion wrecking havoc on line choice. I can't wait to see what professional crews can do given the freedom to build hard stuff.

    Question: I guess I'm one of the small handful that enjoy Private and Cani, and I enjoy them because they're on a level of difficulty that I appreciate. However, I'm not married to those particular trails. If we can reach that same level of difficulty with well-built, well-maintained trails and/or bonus lines, I could care less which trails they are. Those of you fighting for Private Reserve, are you passionate about that particular trail or just that level of difficulty?

  61. #61
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    USDA knew about the error in the PDF Letter, but fixed it some other places. Hopefully it didn't prevent anyone from commenting.
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    I remade my conceptual map with improvement to help figure out what you are looking at. Purple is new, directional biking trails(1 and 4 on map), Black is new multi-use trails(2, 9, 3, 11, 6, 5, 7, and 8). Pink is new hiking only(10). Hopefully you can see whats new this time.
    1-Private Reserve 2-Blue Dot(open to bikes) 3-9000' Elden loop 4-Upper Wasabi 5-DLH Outer Loop 6-Fixes for the dead end multi-use trails in the Schultz stacked loops. 7-Traversing trail from Brookbank to Sunset 8-Sunset reroute suggestion 9- Redesigned singletrack in Forces of Nature area 10-Hiking connector to 9000' Elden Loop 11- Sunset reroute above Catwalk

    NackBev- I also ride Can I and Private a fair amount and enjoy their difficulty. I really am advocating for Private because of the potential in the area. So many rock slabs and nice and steep terrain. I don't know anywhere else on the mountain that has the potential Private does. If we were able to find an alignment elsewhere with similar terrain and difficulty as a replacement to it, that would be okay but again I think the Private area has the best potential for fun and challenging directional trails.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails MEDL trail plan out for public comment-medladjust2.jpg  


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    As soon as we can arrange a meeting with FS Rec Staff the reason/rationale for leaving PR out of the Proposed Action is up front in the list of questions to ask. Getting some answers on why some decisions were made will go a long way in guiding our comments.

    This is my personal opinion and not necessarily what FBO will advocate for but it appears the FS decided to protect that area of north facing mixed-conifer forest that PR descends. 80% of the trail is in an MSO PAC and the bottom part is in the nest core. To get buy-in from the USFWS biologists I think in return, we got Wasabi and Red Onion, some sort of variant on Funions, a new Middle Oldham, and a rerouted upper Oldham at 5 to 6% grade and 2 or 3 proposed directional DH trails in that same high impact zone. All of these trails are in MSO habitat. So, do we advocate for a trail that less than 1% of mtn bikers can ride? I confess I am ambivalent. We pretty much got what we wanted and asked for in our FBO comment letter on the 2013 PA. Hard to know how hard to push. There is some sweet terrain just up from the drainage on lower Upper Oldham so maybe there is some wiggle room. Either way, making comments in favor of PR is indicative of the need for the FS to provide this type of trail experience somewhere in the MEDL network.
    Last edited by rockman; 3 Weeks Ago at 08:44 PM.

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    I see a lot of people mention a desire for a "Devil's Chair" MTB trails, but even the Blue Dot trail looks like it'd be really steep and littered with switchbacks for bikes. Are people proposing that because it would be a more direct line to the top of the mountain from downtown?

    I do really like the idea of a longer, more technical downhill on that side of the mountain though. Since we're doing ideas, here's what developing something like Blue Dot (Yellow Line) against something that uses more of the mountain (but avoids the area around Private Reserve):

    MEDL trail plan out for public comment-west-elden-approach.jpg
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  65. #65
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    The lack of habitat zones makes trail planning a bit difficult. When I did this for a job, we also had all the information necessary to say "ok, we can go through this area, we need to stay this far away from this area, and there are interesting features we want to tie together here, here, and here. Thread the needle."

    What I'm starting to understand however, is that dense, wet, north facing slopes are MSO habitats. What you might call "Oldham Canyon" seems like it might be entirely MSO habitat.

    I'm still digging around trying to find any indication of MSO Habitat areas on the mountain.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    The lack of habitat zones makes trail planning a bit difficult. When I did this for a job, we also had all the information necessary to say "ok, we can go through this area, we need to stay this far away from this area, and there are interesting features we want to tie together here, here, and here. Thread the needle."

    What I'm starting to understand however, is that dense, wet, north facing slopes are MSO habitats. What you might call "Oldham Canyon" seems like it might be entirely MSO habitat.

    I'm still digging around trying to find any indication of MSO Habitat areas on the mountain.
    I would be happy if we could get a Private Reserve like trail. I really like this idea proposed by PHeller. I haven't heard of an MSO PAC where this alignment is, but I definitely don't know for sure

  67. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    I'm still digging around trying to find any indication of MSO Habitat areas on the mountain.
    Have a look at the EIS for FWPP. There are some maps with MSO habitat that are relevant. https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/ww...T3_2285870.pdf

    With regard to MSO PACs on elden and DLH there are 4. One is the Schultz Creek PAC which CanI is the bull's-eye. The boundary ends at the 420 rd. There's the Lower Brookbank PAC which Prom Night is also in. There's the Little Bear PAC in the upper end of the drainage and also overlaps with the PAC in the Red Onion-U. Oldham-PR zone. There are no owl issues with front-side or back-side Elden which is why Heart was approved with a Categorical Exclusion.

    edit to add: the owls did indeed come back after the Museum Fire which is a good thing. No sense having protected areas with no owls in them right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Have a look at the EIS for FWPP. There are some maps with MSO habitat that are relevant. https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/ww...T3_2285870.pdf
    Page 299. I learned a lot about MSOs in my search for that.

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    FS added a better/bigger map on the project website. https://www.fs.usda.gov/nfs/11558/ww...T3_5340945.pdf

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    Really like the trail concept s that have made the proposal, I feel that these make up a very comprehensive and progressive trail network. The only additional route that I would like is a shared trail on the south face of Elden in the old Blue dot area. Dont want the hikers to have all the fun. That area is really unique and was fun to ride in the early 2000s. Hikers already have hiker only trails all over the Kachina peaks wilderness and Elden Lookout trail. Add lost burrito to that and that is quite a lot of real-estate. Make the proposed devils chair multi use FTW!

  71. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by sinatorj View Post
    Really like the trail concept s that have made the proposal, I feel that these make up a very comprehensive and progressive trail network. The only additional route that I would like is a shared trail on the south face of Elden in the old Blue dot area. Dont want the hikers to have all the fun. That area is really unique and was fun to ride in the early 2000s. Hikers already have hiker only trails all over the Kachina peaks wilderness and Elden Lookout trail. Add lost burrito to that and that is quite a lot of real-estate. Make the proposed devils chair multi use FTW!
    Yes, I agree. And I think we advocate for Devil's Chair being multi-use but I do like the idea of hiker only trails closer to Flag than the wilderness. And Devil's Chair is going to be a very expensive trail to build. I'm not sure it would be any more friendly to bikes than Elden Lookout trail. Blue Dot did come up in the MEDL collaborative group but the thought was to just leave it alone. It's mostly on rock and not in much use. I do know some bikers hit it for an adventure ride but I think the most use is by climbers.

    There were a lot of negative comments about the Devil's Chair concept trail in the last go round. I think it makes a great loop options with connectivity for hikers and runners from Buffalo Park and Elden Lookout.

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    I'm in the process of trying to trace those MSO boundaries into a KML so those interested can see the MSO habitats in relation to elevation and trail placement.

    I'm utilizing Page 317 of the EIA document Rockman posted.

    That document has the habitats broken into three main areas: Protected (all of MEDL pretty much), Protected PAC "NestRootBuffer" and Recovery areas.

    Interestingly, a lot of trails are within the Recovery areas.

    Lower Brookbank is almost entirely within the NestRoofBuffer area.

    CanI is within a Recovery Area and a NestRootBuffer area.

    Private Reserve is within a Recovery Area, but then again, so is pretty much everything else on the mountain.

    MEDL trail plan out for public comment-mso-habitat-overlay.jpg

    I'm left with a lot of questions:

    1) Rockman, you've mentioned before that Private Reserve cuts right through a "nest core" but the boundaries in the EIA would not seem to indicate that.

    2) Has the Musuem Fire changed the locations of areas that might not have previously had significant owl population, but now do? Basically, forcing the birds into areas they might not have previously occupied?

    3) I see a cooridor running from Upper Wasabi the whole way down the south facing slopes along Elden Lookout Road. It'd be cool to have a trail that ran from the old Upper Wasabi area the whole way down to meet up with Pickle, or potentially stay higher on the mountain and run parallel with AZT (but far more technical).

    4) Lost Burrito actually looks it avoids the worst of it. Perhaps there needs to be more trails coming down that side of the mountain, or that Lost Burrito could be developed into a sanction "expert level" trail with built features.
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  73. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    I'm in the process of trying to trace those MSO boundaries into a KML so those interested can see the MSO habitats in relation to elevation and trail placement.

    I'm utilizing Page 317 of the EIA document Rockman posted.

    That document has the habitats broken into three main areas: Protected (all of MEDL pretty much), Protected PAC "NestRootBuffer" and Recovery areas.

    Interestingly, a lot of trails are within the Recovery areas.

    Lower Brookbank is almost entirely within the NestRoofBuffer area.

    CanI is within a Recovery Area and a NestRootBuffer area.

    Private Reserve is within a Recovery Area, but then again, so is pretty much everything else on the mountain.

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	MSO Habitat Overlay.jpg 
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    I'm left with a lot of questions:

    1) Rockman, you've mentioned before that Private Reserve cuts right through a "nest core" but the boundaries in the EIA would not seem to indicate that.

    2) Has the Musuem Fire changed the locations of areas that might not have previously had significant owl population, but now do? Basically, forcing the birds into areas they might not have previously occupied?

    3) I see a cooridor running from Upper Wasabi the whole way down the south facing slopes along Elden Lookout Road. It'd be cool to have a trail that ran from the old Upper Wasabi area the whole way down to meet up with Pickle, or potentially stay higher on the mountain and run parallel with AZT (but far more technical).

    4) Lost Burrito actually looks it avoids the worst of it. Perhaps there needs to be more trails coming down that side of the mountain, or that Lost Burrito could be developed into a sanction "expert level" trail with built features.
    Nice. I'm checking the boundaries with what I have but they are for sure similar. I find the FWPP maps extremely difficult to decipher but I think you want the one on p. 299. The "nest roof buffer" is basically the nest core. Recovery areas on the other hand are related to habitat structure changes from thinning treatment and not relevant in this exercise.

    Not shown are the Little Bear and Private Reserve nest cores. The latter one is not on the map as that one was discovered after release of the 2013 MEDL PA and prior to implementation of FWPP. I believe there was some concern on the part of the owl biologists that there was an FWPP log deck in the nest core at the base of upper Oldham. That one completely burned in the Museum Fire. Most of this nest core also burned except for the portion south and west of upper Oldham so it seems pretty clear that is why Private Reserve didn't make it into the new PA. I just don't think the biologists are going to compromise on this one. The birds do return to the same nests. I don't think PAC boundaries get adjusted but the nest cores may change. Or, if a new nest is found outside of a PAC then a new PAC is established. I'd have to look at the Recovery Plan but to answer your question it's also clear in the new PA that the remaining mixed conifer habitat is considered prime real estate and they are attempting to protect these areas as unfragmented habitat and focusing high trail density into areas without PACs (ie., Schultz stacked loops and Lost burrito) or areas that are in the burn scar (ie., upper Oldham/Wasabi zone).

    Lower Brookbank is also mostly in a nest core and besides the fact that the drainage burned hot the proposed realignment is out of the nest core and to the west using the slope that Pickle descends. I hate to lose Pickle but I think we can route a pretty cool bi-directional Lower Brookbank using that terrain and end up with a trail that will be fun to descend or climb. Same goes for Prom Night. It's in the same nest core.

    I agree on upper Wasabi. There needs to be a connector to lower Wasabi. That zone burned hot and the trail is mostly gone. Lower Wasabi is ok for now. Need to get some boots on the ground on that and look around. Maybe it could use the drainage that DD comes down. And then use lower Wasabi to connect with a new middle Oldham which is proposed to use those south facing slopes as you mentioned. We scouted a cool location on the other side of the road for a new middle Oldham on the bench above the climbing area that is really cool but it's a no-go trying to get off that bench and down to PV and upper Oldham and of course also in the nest core.

    Ginger is what is being proposed as the black directional mtb trail. Not sure why we want Lost Burrito? I'd rather leave that one to the hikers and focus on the proposed multi-use trail that drops off the "Ridge" trail in between Lost Burrito and Ginger. This could be an intermediate trail with more challenge than Lower Brookbank but easier than Ginger. As shown it looks like it really has potential but not sure it will work until getting a chance to hike the alignment. FBO advocated for a trail further north in between CanI and Lost Burrito using the alignment of an existing social trail but it might be difficult to keep it out of the Schultz PAC which is why it didn't make it in.

    Lastly, I think FBO will advocate for a lengthier DLH perimeter trail. They are clearly acquiescing to the environmentalists desire to protect the western Dry Lake which they have referred to as wetland Cienega's and rare alpine marsh areas with aquatic species but there is no science to support this assertion. There are no plant species lists or any study at all that supports the finding that this mostly dry lake bed is a rare alpine marshland. Nonetheless we proposed to route trails away from this area to minimize impacts and will likely do so again similar to the idea of a DLH perimeter trail that circumnavigates the area like that described by PonderosaT above.

    MEDL trail plan out for public comment-medl-maps.jpg

  74. #74
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    #allthemaps

    This is a very informative thread, thanks to everyone who has contributed. While I ride up on Elden enough to sort of know my way around, it's a bit of a chore to decipher the proposed map from what is currently being ridden. From what I've gathered, the proposal seems pretty good. Hopefully, with the additional feedback/comments and asking for the moon, a few more items will be added to the final draft.

    I know from following this forum for years, that this has been an agonizingly slow process, but it does appear to finally becoming a reality. If I were local, I'd be stoked for the possibilities. Keep fighting the good fight.
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  75. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Lastly, I think FBO will advocate for a lengthier DLH perimeter trail. They are clearly acquiescing to the environmentalists desire to protect the western Dry Lake which they have referred to as wetland Cienega's and rare alpine marsh areas with aquatic species but there is no science to support this assertion. There are no plant species lists or any study at all that supports the finding that this mostly dry lake bed is a rare alpine marshland. Nonetheless we proposed to route trails away from this area to minimize impacts and will likely do so again similar to the idea of a DLH perimeter trail that circumnavigates the area like that described by PonderosaT above.
    I have to walk this one back. The western dry lake is in fact cataloged as a Palustrine type wetland. You can use the USFWS habitat mapper to zoom in on Dry Lake Hills. https://www.fws.gov/wetlands/data/mapper.html

    Either way, we proposed to route trails away from this sensitive area and rip the road that runs across it. However, there's nothing in trails management protocol that indicates you can't put trails near a wetland just not across. For example, Gold Digger that is adjacent to Roger's Lake. There's no reason really that a perimeter trail can't be routed around the DLH that could largely avoid and not even be visible from the western dry lake. A case might be made for habitat fragmentation of an important wildlife migration corridor but just how much a trail would impact DLH as a wildlife movement and habitat connectivity is debatable. More background here: https://azgfd-portal-wordpress-panth..._22AUG2013.pdf

  76. #76
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    I really like Red Onion as a connector, but aside from Pickle and Brookbank, that south facing slope on Elden Lookout Road really doesn't have anything on it. We're going to need a new connected up to the top of Ginger, so I thought, why not just reroute Red Onion, Middle Oldham, and Lower Brookbank all in one fell swoop?

    USFS has already proposed something similar, so it wouldn't be a stretch to make the Middle Oldham Rereoute a little more interesting.

    MEDL trail plan out for public comment-redonion-middleoldham-brookbrand-reroute.jpg

    Another area I think lacks trails is that between Lost Burrito and Ginger. It'd be cool if there was a much longer, more technical trail over here. Here was a concept I did that ended up being 3.7 miles of downhill or flat trail that would connect up around Ginger off the DLH Loop and make much better use of the mountain than Lost Burrito's fall line path.

    USFS also proposed something similar, although with those hiking only trails mixed in.

    MEDL trail plan out for public comment-ginger-shultz.jpg

    Another thing I'll advocate for is a trail from Devil's Head to Oldham Basin. I don't care how they get there, but it would be rad to have a big long downhill coming down that side of the mountain. Whether it's Blue Dot or something else.

    Finally, I think it's worth advocating for "the style and difficulty of features on Private Reserve." Basically, more big rock slabs, drops with B-Option lines, etc.
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  77. #77
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    We came up with some bullet points for folks to consider when sending in comments. Things to emphasize rather than any specific directive from FBO. We'll post our own comment letter and specific trail recommendations/revisions in the next week or so. https://flagstaffbiking.org/urgent-p...Y0sKh2JYqbgVDY

    DEADLINE Monday, September 28th, 2020!
    Itís time!

    The Flagstaff Ranger District is requesting public input on their Proposed Action for the Mount Elden Dry Lake Hills Recreation Project.

    Speak now or forever hold your peace!

    Some key points you might want to highlight:
    First and foremost: BE POLITE AND OFFER CONSTRUCTIVE, USEFUL INPUT!

    Mountain biking is very important to you! An array of mountain biking trail opportunities, (that fit whatever experiences that you like- be sure to elaborate), should be incorporated into the final action and decision. Do you want opportunities to shuttle and descend challenging trails built for mountain biking? Do you want some smooth, easy loop options near the trailhead for the whole family? Do you want to see features along most routes that add some fun to the flow? Write that down!

    Reaffirm the Proposed Actionís mountain bike specific trail recommendations!

    If you like the alternate lines that add challenge, flow and/or fun into your rides, be sure to mention that. Make it clear that you think this is appropriate on most trails that are open to bicycles, not only on the few trails proposed for directional mountain biking.

    We have noticed that the miles of trail that are designed for hiking and/or closed to all uses but hiking is proportionately too high. Make sure to stress how important it is to have an appropriate amount of trail designed for mountain biking as well. If you donít think that any trails should be closed to bicycles at all, be sure to state that.

    If you have any suggestions for trails that are missing from the Proposed Action that you think should be included, please be as clear as possible in explaining where those trails should be placed, and what unmet need that trail would fulfill.

    Be sure to include thoughts on trailhead proposals, Urban Trail type routes, signage and any other supporting actions that should occur.

    Donít forget to note what parts of the Proposed Action you like! Your comments shouldnít be solely critical. There is some good stuff in there!

  78. #78
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    Livestream public meeting to discuss MEDL next week. Wed Sept 9 6pm. https://www.facebook.com/events/385539012431871

  79. #79
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    So I have been giving the trail maps alot of thought and I really want to see a multi use trail in the devils kitchen area. Maybe a nod to Sedona s best trail call it a Flagstaff Hangover. The views and terrain represent an equal to Hangover trail and we shouldn't be denied the same experience. Just a random thought.

  80. #80
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    Devil's Kitchen, Devil's Chair, Devil's Head. What is it!?! Haha (Devil's Kitchen is in Sedona, FYI)

    I just know that area as "west side of Elden Peak near Radio Towers".

    People really want a Blue Dot-ish MTB Trail. It seems like lots folks would be happy to give up Private Reserve if they could have an equally burly, exposed, rock-slab riddled route down that side of the mountain.
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  81. #81
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    ya, something like that...
    Make Flagstaff RAD Again.

  82. #82
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    Walkabout today on DLH looking at the trail concepts and adoption of Ginger. Ginger is badly eroded and in places largely gone where it crossed the drainage but there's lots of potential in there. As drawn Lower Brookbank looks pretty good.

    The front-side proposed trail that would drop off the nose in between Ginger and Lost Burrito is going to be tough. We couldn't find a way to get through the rock band. Dynamite and some serious rock work perhaps.

    Drainage crossing on Ginger.
    MEDL trail plan out for public comment-dlh-site-visit_3.jpg

    The rock roll at the top looking down.
    MEDL trail plan out for public comment-dlh-site-visit_2.jpg

    Traversing the side of DLH above the Ginger drainage.
    MEDL trail plan out for public comment-dlh-site-visit_1.jpg

    Lots of impact either from the fire or FWPP thinning. For example, the logging road next to the western dry lake (aka the wetland).MEDL trail plan out for public comment-dlh-site-visit_4.jpg

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    Rockman, how feasible is a downhill mtb trail from the top of Lower Sunset to the Tank? This looks like a good spot and I haven't heard of owls.

  84. #84
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    Quote Originally Posted by PonderosaT View Post
    Rockman, how feasible is a downhill mtb trail from the top of Lower Sunset to the Tank? This looks like a good spot and I haven't heard of owls.
    Certainly a good zone with good soils to work with. Perhaps along or near the now ripped bulldozer line? The cons would be redundancy, that is two parallel trails close to one another, more habitat fragmentation, and it's also at least partly within the Goshawk PFA (post-fledgling family area). The Goshawk is a managed species and while not on the endangered species list it does affect thinning operations and also special events like races.

    But it does beget the question of whether there really is much opportunity for legit downhill trails in the PA. In our comments we should be indicating the desire and need for this and with the restrictions because of MSO habitat there really isn't much to play with. So, ideas outside the box are good. Most of the trails on the map are concepts and not actually gps'd routes. Many or even most have not been ground-truthed to see if they actually go. It's going to be hard to get more than one directional mtb trail in that upper Oldham zone. I just don't see a replacement for Private Reserve. There's nothing else like it. The Blue Dot concept being discussed has merit but I don't think the FS is going to go for it. Raisingarizona has been scoping the Blue Dot zone for alignments and says it's too complicated and overly steep. We can advocate for the Devil's Chair concept to be open to bikes but it's going to be super expensive to build and would end up being about as much fun as as coming down Elden Lookout Trail.

    The owl restrictions just does not leave options. I'm coming to the conclusion that many of the proposed concepts are not going to work especially the front-side DLH trail that descends down to the stacked Schultz Creek loops. While it's a great idea it's a no go getting through the upper part of the mountain and while you could do it at great expense it's being forced onto the landscape rather than letting the terrain dictating what kind of trail and experience it will allow.

    Having lower Wasabi is good and we've got a good idea for a new upper Wasabi we'll be floating around. Ginger has merit but is really short. The lower Brookbank reroute will be taking up the zone that Pickle descends. There's just not that much for the advanced set to get excited about. I just don't see much reason to put the effort into some of the other things they are proposing just to make the enviro's happy while also removing half the options for MSO habitat. Frankly, focusing our efforts on making the current system trails really good is going to be the win. Maybe once this is done we can build a big bitchin' directional flow trail in Fort Valley with jumps and features but there's nothing with that north-shore feel that is Private Reserve.

  85. #85
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    Maybe someday before we are 90 there will be actual pro level DH trails, prob not on DLH, but maybe Snowbowl? I really don't think I'm asking too much, hell there are black diamond lines elsewhere in the Coconino. Damn u Sedona for getting a progressive trail network with a wide variety of trails for all ability levels.

  86. #86
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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    But it does beget the question of whether there really is much opportunity for legit downhill trails in the PA.
    'Tis but a scratch.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    It's going to be hard to get more than one directional mtb trail in that upper Oldham zone. I just don't see a replacement for Private Reserve. There's nothing else like it.
    I've had worse.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    The Blue Dot concept being discussed has merit but I don't think the FS is going to go for it. Raisingarizona has been scoping the Blue Dot zone for alignments and says it's too complicated and overly steep.
    Just a flesh wound.

    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    We can advocate for the Devil's Chair concept to be open to bikes but it's going to be super expensive to build and would end up being about as much fun as as coming down Elden Lookout Trail.
    Chicken!

    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    The owl restrictions just does not leave options. I'm coming to the conclusion that many of the proposed concepts are not going to work especially the front-side DLH trail that descends down to the stacked Schultz Creek loops.

    The Trail Builder always triumphs! Have at you! Come on, then.


    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Maybe once this is done we can build a big bitchin' directional flow trail in Fort Valley with jumps and features but there's nothing with that north-shore feel that is Private Reserve.
    Oh? All right, we'll call it a draw.
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  87. #87
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    blah blah blah
    It's easy to talk about what should or could happen but some of these concepts, either by the FS or those proposed in this thread, need to be based on reality. Get some boots on the ground, collect some tracks, take some pics, and report back.

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    You misunderstood my post.

    It was meant to be a play on "ouch, that hurts, but lets be positive."

    The Black Knight (from Monty Python) ignored his wounds and continued the fight.

    Your observations are always valued, and provide realism to the issues at hand. It's going to be an uphill battle to get the downhill trails many want.

    ...and you're totally right, it's easy to propose stuff on a map, it's much harder to flag/build the trail in reality.
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    I'll say this much - I'm the absolute WORST person to be proposing anything because I barely know the trails up there, much less the areas of the mountain without them.

    I should take a vacation day and just wander around up there to orient myself.

    USFS Online Meeting tonight (Wednesday Sept. 9th) at 6PM: https://fb.me/e/1BGrxfYf3
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  90. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    You misunderstood my post.

    It was meant to be a play on "ouch, that hurts, but lets be positive."

    The Black Knight (from Monty Python) ignored his wounds and continued the fight.

    Your observations are always valued, and provide realism to the issues at hand. It's going to be an uphill battle to get the downhill trails many want.

    ...and you're totally right, it's easy to propose stuff on a map, it's much harder to flag/build the trail in reality.
    No worries, and you are correct. The positive is for 95% of the riders the improvements to the existing system trails are going to be awesome!

  91. #91
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    So how did the meeting go? I was having internet issues, plus it was my daughterís birthday so didnít catch most of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdcatnau View Post
    So how did the meeting go? I was having internet issues, plus it was my daughterís birthday so didnít catch most of it.
    You can still watch it. Tech glitch at the end so it ended abruptly but a good effort at providing the public with an overview.

    And always good to hear that there are no plans to close a trail in the project area until a replacement is built providing a similar user experience.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    You can still watch it. Tech glitch at the end so it ended abruptly.
    Saw it. Thatís why you never make adjustments during a live stream.

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    Since the proposed Dry Lake Ridge Trail seems like it would be really difficult to build, could we swap for Lost Burrito zone? The part of Dry Lake Ridge where it would dive down to the Schultz Creek Loops is the problematic part for a biking friendly trail, but seems like it would be less of a problem building a hiking only trail where Dry Lake Ridge is proposed and would be easier for the multi-use trail where Lost Burrito is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PonderosaT View Post
    Since the proposed Dry Lake Ridge Trail seems like it would be really difficult to build, could we swap for Lost Burrito zone? The part of Dry Lake Ridge where it would dive down to the Schultz Creek Loops is the problematic part for a biking friendly trail, but seems like it would be less of a problem building a hiking only trail where Dry Lake Ridge is proposed and would be easier for the multi-use trail where Lost Burrito is.
    Personally I like the idea of leaving Lost Burrito to the hikers. Maybe we could make it better but the fact that hardly anybody rides it is telling. A directional style trail could descend the canyon drainage that is shown on the map in the proposed action. It just isn't going to go as a bi-directional trail for bikes as intended. I know the idea is to have another trail that is shared-use to get traffic off Schultz but an improved Rocky Ridge as an arterial trail might do the same thing and riders may find a realigned Lower Brookbank quite fun to descend.


    Quote Originally Posted by PonderosaT View Post
    Rockman, how feasible is a downhill mtb trail from the top of Lower Sunset to the Tank? This looks like a good spot and I haven't heard of owls.
    This idea has merit! It's also in the zone where the bulldozed fire break is that is still an ugly scar on the landscape. I think this concept is going to make it into FBO's comment letter. The disparity in mileage between hiker-only trails and directional DH trails is quite large. There are no known wildlife concerns in the area except for Goshawk and it's already highly impacted. I envision a trail like NPR in Steamboat, Demo flow trail in Soquel, Gran Prix in Hood River, or Flow Motion at Sandy Ridge. Climb #3 then becomes the de facto climbing return trail allowing multiple laps. While it wouldn't be a replacement for that steep north-shore style experience provided by Private Reserve it could have a high speed roller coaster feel with berms and jumps. A connector to Little Bear would make for a seamless connection and minimize equestrian conflicts on Little Elden. Is this what you were thinking Ponderosa?

    MEDL trail plan out for public comment-sunset-dh-trail_1024.jpg

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    Almost, I like your idea with the Sunset-Little Bear connector at the end better. Yeah and I would rather have a directional trail where Ridge drops to the loops. For additional directional trail I now think there should be Upper Wasabi, the one between Sunset and Little Bear, Ridge(terrain hard for bi-directional) and an extension for the directional trail that terminates into Upper Oldham, extended to the road. I wish we could have Private but I won't be too sad if we can get some more dh trails elsewhere.

    Whats the timeframe for the FBO comment letter to come out?

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    Quote Originally Posted by PonderosaT View Post
    Almost, I like your idea with the Sunset-Little Bear connector at the end better. Yeah and I would rather have a directional trail where Ridge drops to the loops. For additional directional trail I now think there should be Upper Wasabi, the one between Sunset and Little Bear, Ridge(terrain hard for bi-directional) and an extension for the directional trail that terminates into Upper Oldham, extended to the road. I wish we could have Private but I won't be too sad if we can get some more dh trails elsewhere.

    Whats the timeframe for the FBO comment letter to come out?
    In the next week or so. We had to get out and walk the concepts which the FS obviously did not. Raisingarizona put down 10 miles and 8 hours on Wed hiking around on his day off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Personally I like the idea of leaving Lost Burrito to the hikers. Maybe we could make it better but the fact that hardly anybody rides it is telling. A directional style trail could descend the canyon drainage that is shown on the map in the proposed action. It just isn't going to go as a bi-directional trail for bikes as intended. I know the idea is to have another trail that is shared-use to get traffic off Schultz but an improved Rocky Ridge as an arterial trail might do the same thing and riders may find a realigned Lower Brookbank quite fun to descend.




    This idea has merit! It's also in the zone where the bulldozed fire break is that is still an ugly scar on the landscape. I think this concept is going to make it into FBO's comment letter. The disparity in mileage between hiker-only trails and directional DH trails is quite large. There are no known wildlife concerns in the area except for Goshawk and it's already highly impacted. I envision a trail like NPR in Steamboat, Demo flow trail in Soquel, Gran Prix in Hood River, or Flow Motion at Sandy Ridge. Climb #3 then becomes the de facto climbing return trail allowing multiple laps. While it wouldn't be a replacement for that steep north-shore style experience provided by Private Reserve it could have a high speed roller coaster feel with berms and jumps. A connector to Little Bear would make for a seamless connection and minimize equestrian conflicts on Little Elden. Is this what you were thinking Ponderosa?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    NPR in Steamboat is pretty fun, but needs to be steeper. Use the shortcomings from others to make ours better. Def need another directional or 2 to keep the hiker/ rider conflicts at bay.
    Make Flagstaff RAD Again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sinatorj View Post
    NPR in Steamboat is pretty fun, but needs to be steeper. Use the shortcomings from others to make ours better. Def need another directional or 2 to keep the hiker/ rider conflicts at bay.
    Yeah just looking at the numbers NPR is only 5% grade. When I rode it last month it required quite a bit of pedaling to maintain speed for the jumps. Sunset from the ridge down to the tank is quite a bit steeper and is a stiff climb at nearly 10% grade and is even steeper in the gully where you can easily hit 30 mph on the down. The potential is there, however, for a longer trail on that slope with a 2 mile length and perhaps an 8% grade.

    It's not going to have the rugged and technical features found on Ginger or PR but would appeal to a greater majority of riders. And would disperse traffic off Sunset which is popular with hikers.

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    Just another idea for an upper Wasabi replacement. It goes but not sure about natural features to work into the mix but it's already been thinned, partly burned, impacted by a logging road and the site of the biggest logging deck which became charcoal.

    It would drop off Sunset just below the Hobbits and the rock garden at 10% grade. Not steep but not flat either. Then cross the road on contour and traverse over to the bottom 2/3 of lower Wasabi. The other trail is a proposed b line for Sunset that would avoid the switchbacks and the rock garden. This would be bi-directional. I'm not sure if this goes or not, we'll have to see if there is a way around the rock band. But Sunset is largely HAB in the uphill direction and definitely expert level on the down. I see lots of folks walking their bikes down through this section. In this scenario Red Onion becomes more of a climbing trail and the easiest way down for the lesser skilled.

    Upper Wasabi and Double D burned hot. It's likely nothing could be built in this zone for years to come. It's going to be difficult to get more than one DH trail on the same slope with the upper Oldham realignment. The reroute of the latter is going to take up a lot of room if it's going to be something folks can climb at 5 or 6% grade.

    MEDL trail plan out for public comment-wasabi-map2.jpg

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    Anyone know when Emmitt Barks will put out the ninth edition of Flagstaff Trails Map It's been awhile and lots of changes.

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    Article in the paper today. https://azdailysun.com/news/local/en...home-top-story

    Two more weeks left for public comment.

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    I finally got out to hike Lost Burrito, at least up to the steepest section.

    It's a nice area. I'm going to advocate for trying to find something in that area, maybe a trail that wraps around from Old Stilley Hiking Trail (which apparently had some lack of agreement previously) for a West-to-East trail alignment - if ground truthing will allow it.

    The lower sections of Lost Burrito as it approaches, and after it crosses Rocky Ridge would be great for some built features. Easily accessed by emergency responders, and low enough on the mountain that riders could do a few loops without the climb (or shuttle) back up to Elden Lookout for Wasabi.

    I submitted my comments, which pulled from the proposal and FBO's official statements, but really tried to hit the home "advanced riders need advanced trails" and "a few advanced trails as well as a "skills zone" could go a long ways towards satisfying the needs of a lot of riders."
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    Quote Originally Posted by PHeller View Post
    I finally got out to hike Lost Burrito, at least up to the steepest section.

    It's a nice area. I'm going to advocate for trying to find something in that area, maybe a trail that wraps around from Old Stilley Hiking Trail (which apparently had some lack of agreement previously) for a West-to-East trail alignment - if ground truthing will allow it.

    The lower sections of Lost Burrito as it approaches, and after it crosses Rocky Ridge would be great for some built features. Easily accessed by emergency responders, and low enough on the mountain that riders could do a few loops without the climb (or shuttle) back up to Elden Lookout for Wasabi.

    I submitted my comments, which pulled from the proposal and FBO's official statements, but really tried to hit the home "advanced riders need advanced trails" and "a few advanced trails as well as a "skills zone" could go a long ways towards satisfying the needs of a lot of riders."
    We couldn't find anything that goes on that entire slope between Ginger and CanI that would work as a bi-directional shared-use trail. Maybe Lost Burrito but it would take some massive switchbacks. The Dry Lake Ridge trail could work but would need to be directional down for mountain bikes. We've pushed hard for the Stilley hiking trail (aka Buckrut or Slipper But Fun) in the past but it would need to wrap way out toward CanI to even have a hope of being bi-directional and then would largely in the MSO PAC. It could, however, work as a directional mtb trail but Ginger is the technical downhill trail so it will be interesting if the FS includes another in the alternatives.

    Jedi should also be managed as directional only for mtn bikes as well. With L. Gnarly there is no reason this needs to be anything but directional for bikes. It would need lengthy reroutes to be bi-directional and that would destroy the character of this popular intermediate tech trail.

    And spot on with the Schultz Creek stacked loops. We added this to our comment letter as well. Adding several bike-optimized descent routes that are accessible from a relatively easy climb would allow for some technical challenge that wouldn't infringe on the natural setting of the MEDL area. This suggestion also helps to address some significant shortcomings in the Proposed Action that have arisen in response to closures that will result from addressing wildlife habitat. There just are not many options for legit black diamond trails.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    There just are not many options for legit black diamond trails.
    I submitted my three pages of comments...but I still have questions.

    Rockman, I'd argue that a legit black diamond trail can be built in a parking lot with the right material and imagination (maybe I'm exaggerating, but you get my point.) There are fast, steep, and rocky black diamonds and there are flowing, rolling, jumpy black diamonds. Just looking around the lower elevations of MEDL I'm fascinated by the possibilities of rock rolls, gaps, kickers, berms, skinnies, etc. - but most would require the use of outside materials and equipment to construct. Is the Flag Ranger District completely against that type of construction?

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    Quote Originally Posted by NackBev View Post
    I submitted my three pages of comments...but I still have questions.

    Rockman, I'd argue that a legit black diamond trail can be built in a parking lot with the right material and imagination (maybe I'm exaggerating, but you get my point.) There are fast, steep, and rocky black diamonds and there are flowing, rolling, jumpy black diamonds. Just looking around the lower elevations of MEDL I'm fascinated by the possibilities of rock rolls, gaps, kickers, berms, skinnies, etc. - but most would require the use of outside materials and equipment to construct. Is the Flag Ranger District completely against that type of construction?
    I think you answered your own question or these types of trails would already be legal on the system. But I think you are right, there are lots of little zones with features to work with if we could add B lines. For example, Lower Oldham. Or, another idea we've been throwing around is B lines off the new Lower Brookbank that use the best parts of Pickle.

    Regarding directional trails there are two types. Those with a rugged character that incorporate natural features for a technical black diamond experience and flow trails that allow greater speeds for a larger majority of cyclists in a more controlled setting. This latter type of trail allows a progression of skills with berms to help maintain speed and added features like rollers and jumps to create a roller coaster experience. The former type is what made Elden famous among advanced cyclists but it's the latter that is entirely lacking in the system.

    One uses the features that are found on the landscape to add challenge whereas the other is physically imposed on the landscape and features added. Flow trails can mean many things but they don't meet the shared-use mandate of the forest service. Only recently in the last decade are these types of trails being more accepted by other forests. It's much easier within their paradigm to pigeon-hole black diamond trails that are more primitive or raw as Class I or II trails in their trail class matrix. https://www.fs.fed.us/recreation/pro...-17_150dpi.pdf. That's just my opinion but it's much easier to get flow trails built on BLM managed land. Even in Sedona there's really only one (ie., Pigtail).

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    A bit off topic but not really. What is the status of a a bike park at Snow Bowl?

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    Adding on to what guy below said but has anyone scouted lines at Snowbowl? Found any nice rocks or slabs? That would be cool if we could uncover big slabs like the ones on Private.

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    Snowbowl is pretty tight-lipped about their summer master plan but my understanding is they are in a back-and-forth with the forest service on the details before it being submitted for NEPA. The last update I heard was that would happen sometime this fall.

    They had a meeting last fall with a couple of the bike shops and FBO and the plan is legit. There's no lack of features to work with but the best soils are from midway down. The upper half of the mountain is unconsolidated volcanics and would require a lot of armoring to make sustainable trails. But Mammoth Mtn is also volcanic and they make it work.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    The upper half of the mountain is unconsolidated volcanics and would require a lot of armoring to make sustainable trails. But Mammoth Mtn is also volcanic and they make it work.
    Bring on the pavers!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jdcatnau View Post
    Bring on the pavers!!
    Thing is, it works. I noticed a lot of blocks used to armor the tread at Brian Head earlier this month. Also, under the same ownership as Snowbowl.

    Snowbowl of course doesn't own the land and the leased area is surrounded on three sides by wilderness but it's eventually going to happen. The Ski Area Recreational Opportunity Enhancement Act of 2011 give the FS new directives to provide year-round access and recreational opportunities at ski areas. Once they get the chairlift replacement finished it's the next thing right? Or, should be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Azpilot View Post
    Anyone know when Emmitt Barks will put out the ninth edition of Flagstaff Trails Map It's been awhile and lots of changes.
    The word from Emmit Barks is this winter.

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    MEDL trail plan out for public comment

    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    Thing is, it works.
    Big Bear would be a disaster without them. I was going to put in my comments the need of trail armor for the MEDL project, but Iím sure the enviro NGOís would not have it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rockman View Post
    The word from Emmit Barks is this winter.
    Sounds good thanks

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