On November 4th, 5 members of the Arizona Trailblazers, led by their Vice President Li Li, made the trek up I-17 from their homes in Phoenix to participate in a Red Rock Trail Crew volunteer work event. The Trailblazers, wanting to help preserve the trails, coordinated their participation with Sandi Heysinger of the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund. The morning’s activities included the Doe Mountain Trail and a portion of the Bear Mountain Trail. Work included clearing drains, pruning overhanging bushes, and extensive rock work on steps and check steps.
Sedona’s hiking trail system encompasses over 400 miles of trails, heavily used by outdoor enthusiasts from other cities in Arizona and the region. Work days such as this, coordinate by Kevin Kuhl and his colleagues of the Red Rock Ranger District, help visiting hikers gain an appreciation of the level of effort it takes to maintain the network of trails. Other local groups who helped this day included the Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition and the Stewards of Sedona.
The Trailblazers and SRRTF crew was led by Seth, a returning member of the Ranger District’s seasonal work crew. The group leapfrogged their way all the way up Doe Mountain, hauling hoes and lopping shears whilst clearing drains to channel water off the trail and trimming bushes to allow users an easier time of staying on the intended trail.
The Arizona Trailblazers, a 150-member strong group that hikes all over Arizona and beyond, has done this type of service work before, and sees it as a way for them to give back and help preserve the trails they use and love. Several of their members in attendance Saturday have worked on sections of the Arizona Trail. Li Li, their Vice President, offered “I have to say this is the best volunteering experience that I have ever had over last five years since I joined Trailblazers. Thank you very much, Sandi for providing us this opportunity to give back to the community and working on God’s beautiful red rock garden! We are so impressed with Red Rock Trail Crews! They are wonderful workers and heroes for our hikers”! The group hopes to make this a volunteer work a tradition for Trailblazers every year.
The Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund, in its 10-year history, has raised over $3 million to support the development and maintenance of non-motorized trails in the Sedona and Village of Oak Creek environs. Sandi Heysinger, Vice President, offered “We were glad to discover the Trailblazer’s desire to give back to the trails they love, and appreciated the opportunity to help arrange this joint activity. Their offer to travel all this way to help shows a true commitment to their desires to help our trails.”
At the end, all of the volunteers enjoyed a picnic lunch generously provided by Trail Lovers: Sedona Hiking & MTB Guides. A local hiking, mountain biking, and adventure shuttling service based in Sedona for the last 12 years and dedicated to local stewardship in Red Rock Country.