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  • 17 Jun 2024 9:28 AM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    During its upcoming board meeting on June 17th, Kevin Adams (shown below) will step down as president of the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund (SRRTF), and Dick Williams (shown to left) is expected to be elected by the board to replace Kevin.

    “It’s been an incredible honor to lead the SRRTF these past six years” according to Kevin, “but after presiding over 32 board meetings, attending countless committee meetings, working with two different Rangers/Forest Supervisors and performing all manner of things thereunto pertaining – as the Marine Corps prescribes – the past six years, it’s time,” Adams added.

    Dick Williams joined the SRRTF board in late 2021 and has served at various times as grants and philanthropy committee chair as well as board secretary since September 2022. Dick is a retired energy industry executive with on-going profit and non-profit board responsibilities (locally also serves on the board of the Verde Valley Archaeology Center). Dick and his wife Sandi Heysinger split time between Sedona and Houston, TX.

    “Kevin’s not leaving the SRRTF, just stepping down as president. If the board approves, he’ll replace me as board secretary” Williams stated. “I’m honored to be following in Kevin’s footsteps” Williams added. “With useage and subsequent maintenance requirements continuing to increase, it is important that monetary support for the trails here in our Red Rock playground continues to grow. We are blessed with a phenonmenally creative, resourceful and dedicated board and staff.  Building on our past successes, I look forward to working with them to create new and creative partnerships and programs that allow users, individual supporters, other local groups, and area businesses opportunities to participate in the vision of healthy, vibrant trails.”

    Kevin took over the reins from Jennifer Burns in June 2018. Working with the SRRTF board, he instituted structural changes to increase the SRRTF’s fund raising capacity to maintain and enhance the non-motorized trails on National Forest land near Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek. Kevin also focused on recruiting directors with business and grant writing experience. Under Kevin’s leadership, the SRRTF’s annual fund raising increased four times from $159,711 in 2017 to over $650,000 in 2023. “The SRRTF’s amazing board and supporters raised over $3,250,000 since 2017 and started an endowment to ensure trail maintenance and enhancements will continue in perpetuity” Adams stated. “Through the SRRTF’s fundraising efforts, the Red Rock Ranger District’s trail crew has grown in size each year from seven in 2018 to today’s record 18,” Adams added.

    With time being freed up, Kevin has accepted an invitation to join the Verde Front’s Leadership Council starting July 1st. Kevin will also focus on getting more rural Arizona youth on mountain bikes through Wheel Fun, a non-profit he co-founded in 2019 in the Verde Valley and took statewide in 2022.

    “The SRRTF’s board is the most diverse and experienced than anytime in its 10 year existence” Adams stated. “I can’t wait to see where Dick takes us the next few years”.
  • 24 Apr 2024 1:54 PM | Camille Cox (Administrator)
    An intensive trail census has just been completed for the Red Rock Ranger District. Since the last survey in 2015, trail use has increased more than 27% to approximately 2.2 million users yearly – including hikers, bikers, and equestrians. And for our pet lovers, the review shows that 111,190 dogs romp along the trails each year.

    The study was completed by Northern Arizona University graduate student Hayden Jorde, as a masters degree thesis project, and funded by the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund. Coupled with a recently completed trail maintenance survey, these efforts will help identify and prioritize longer term project and resource needs for developing and maintaining the Sedona area trail systems.

    Caption to photo:  NAU graduate student Hayden Jorde recently completed a comprehensive census of the Sedona Red Rock trails. The findings from this census along with other recent studies will help identify and prioritize longer term project and resource needs for developing and maintaining the Sedona area trail system.

    The project spanned nearly a year, and started with a thorough review of results from the previous survey of 2015. From there, Mr. Jorde researched the latest methods and trends in counting users to develop a data creation system which included combining existing US Forest Service traffic counters and on-the-trail volunteers collecting user counts. These numbers were then analyzed and combined using computer algorithms to create a fuller picture of the actual trail use.

    After interviewing long-time users and user groups, a representative list of high, moderate and low use trails nearest Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek was created that encompassed approximately 200 of the district’s 400+ miles of system trails. Several of these are considered Wilderness Trails. This step allowed more efficient data collection. A subset of the identified trails was then visited for collection eight hours for one weekday and one weekend day, with the numbers then appropriately extrapolated given other factors such as seasonal use patterns. Our local Friends of the Forest volunteers were key to collecting this data.

     The seasonal nature of our trails was confirmed, with March and April being the highest use periods, followed closely by September and October. It was no surprise that July and August months have the fewest visitors. The trends in this area of the review aligned pretty well with the 2015 report.

    The most used trails are Cathedral, Boynton, West Fork and Bell Rock Pathway – in that order. This differs from 2015, which recorded Bell Rock Pathway as the highest, followed by Cathedral, West Fork and Devil’s Bridge.

    The data in this latest review shows a slightly higher percentage of hikers to mountain bikers than in the past. The average group size was 2.4 users, and the most used time period to start their adventures was a 9-10 AM arrival.

    For the first time, the project counted our four-footed friends that accompany their humans. More than 111,000 dogs were recorded! There was no comparative data from the 2015 study, but it is evident there are many paws on the trail. Volunteers did not count any cats, by the way.

    After considering these findings, some very interesting questions have arisen regarding the trails. These include statistics on how far from the trailhead visitors actually go, how many users string together different trails in one trip, how many repeat visitors, etc. A future project may be in the works to answer these and other questions.

  • 9 Apr 2024 9:38 AM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    The Sedona Westerners Hiking Club raised a record-breaking $37,000 in 2024 for the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund (SRRTF). Fueled by a $10,000 incentive match from an anonymous donor, more than 60 members made donations totaling $35,110 during the February campaign. Adding the Westerners’ yearly Trail Keeper, the club brought in a grand total of $37,110 for Red Rock trail maintenance and enhancement. Dick Williams, SRRTF board member and chair of the philanthropy committee, revealed the results at the Westerners’ March 14th meeting. This year’s collection was more than double that was raised in 2023 and triple the amount in 2022.

    The Sedona Westerners Hiking Club was recognized by the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund for a record-breaking fundraising campaign in February. Pictured (L to R) are SRRTF Director Dick Williams, Westerners Trail Boss Ray LaPorte, SRRTF President Kevin Adams and Westerners VP Dave Vanderwater.

    Recapping the campaign details, Williams reported that although most of the monies will be applied to fund the seasonal crews and conservation organizations doing routine trail maintenance, donors were allowed to designate their donations to special projects in the district. Cathedral Rock Trail renovation project received $4,400 of targeted giving, with lesser amounts earmarked for Turkey Creek trail enhancement project, Soldier Pass Trail and the SRRTF endowment.

    Westerners Trail Boss (president) Ray LaPorte was ecstatic over the generosity shown by the club, saying “Our membership surpassed all expectations in this fundraising effort.” He added, “Westerners are quick to point out that Sedona area trails are very well maintained and provide an amazing recreation experience for a variety of users. We recognize that the expertise and manpower needed to properly design, construct and maintain the Red Rock trail system does not come cheaply. We dug deep this season – energized by the $10,000 match by one of our generous members. That was an inspirational moment for us – and our members responded!"

    Kevin Adams, president of the SRRTF, expressed appreciation for the Westerner’s efforts. “The Westerners have been one of SRRTF’s long-term and consistent partners, each year showing their commitment to stewardship of the local trails for future users. Their showing of support is a model we hope can be replicated with other like-minded groups in the area.”

  • 1 Mar 2024 10:00 AM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    The first USFS trail renovation project of the year was successfully completed on January 13th, aided by sunny skies and empowered by a skilled trail crew and many community collaborators. One of Sedona’s most popular trails, Soldiers Pass suffered from critical damage from overuse and erosion from weather.

    Before the work commenced, USFS crew members received a week of specialized training by Flagline Trails, made possible through funding from the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund (SRRTF). This training program was initiated last year to great effect and appreciation by the crew members.

    Kevin Kuhl, USFS trails/wilderness/OHV coordinator for the Red Rock Ranger District, explained that a key to completing this project quickly was “help from volunteers who helped scout the location and provide different perspectives. They contributed intimate knowledge of the user’s experience and the changing conditions of our dynamic ecosystem. This helped us bridge the gap between effective trail management and maintenance, and a creating a great experience for multiple types of recreational users”.

    The 6-week renovation project involved installation and repair of new and existing rock structures, construction of drainage systems, rehabilitation of social trails, installation of new fencing, and restoring of areas adjacent to the system trail.

    In addition to the USFS crew, American Conservation Experience (ACE) crews, Sedona Friends of the Forest and ad hoc community volunteers played important roles in the accomplishment. Funding for the project included approximately $51,000 from the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund, which collects donations from individual donors, business supporters and grantor to support the maintenance and enhancement of the non-motorized trails in the Sedona and Village of Oak Creek area.

    Trail Fund Board Expands to TwelveMembers        In February the organization elected Tracy Randall to join its 12-member board. Tracy and her husband Jim are avid mountain bikers. They met on the trails and moved to Sedona full-time in 2020 to enjoy the incredible trail system. She spends much of her free time on the trails either riding her Shadowcat or helping the Red Rock trail crew with trail maintenance.

    Tracy has spent most of her career with startups in the consumer Internet space and has utilized her background to assist the Verde Valley Cyclist Coalition in growing and strengthening its membership base and mission.

    “We are grateful to have Tracy join our board as she brings valuable experience with the Red Rock Ranger District and the challenges of trail stewardship”, noted President Kevin Adams. “Her leadership success with other non-profits will be of tremendous value as we work to strengthen the trail fund to a level that can support the trails in perpetuity.”

    In fiscal year 2023 (ended September 30, 2023), the SRRTF raised $656,000 towards the maintenance and enhancement of the Sedona Red Rock Trails. The SRRTF is a 501c3 non-profit organization and an official partner of the USFS Red Rock Ranger District. Learn more about the organization at RedRockTrailFund.org.

    Photo caption: The wash at the top of West Soldiers Pass staircase, before and after. This 6-week project was accomplished by the USFS trail crew with support from ACE crew, Sedona Friends of the Forest, local volunteers and funding from the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund.


  • 19 Feb 2024 8:37 PM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    Just as our Red Rock trails come in all shapes and sizes, so does funding for the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund. We rely on three revenue streams to fund the essential trail work and development: individual donors and supporters, businesses and grants. In the timespan of 2019-2023, 17% of revenue contributions came from grants, and in fiscal year 2023 (ended Sept 30) grant awards totaled $98,800.

    Grants – A varied and intricate process   The first step is finding grant opportunities. Some are word of mouth, some are offshoots of other grants we have pursued, and some just come to us. We recently started using a program that scours the grant universe for opportunities that match our mission of “supporting the Red Rock Ranger District in the development and maintenance of local non-motorized trails”. Very few fit this narrow window, so we identify those that are close and tailor our applications accordingly.

    Grant applications can be as short as a paragraph or as long as 72 pages with another 471 pages of supporting documentation (not a misprint). Most fill a handful of pages, and they all request the same basic points: What is the project, Why does it matter, How does it support the grantor’s (not our) mission, Who does it serve, and How much does it cost?

    Sophia Sweeny, chairman of the SRRTF grants committee, and committee members Amanda Maxwell, Dick Williams and Kevin Adams research, write and track the grants. When we score an award, the funds may come up front or as a reimbursement. Many have specific time frames and performance reporting requirements, so the work isn’t over!

    Private, public, local and national grantors support the trails   The trails are a favorite of several local family foundations. Both the Fruhmann and Langston Family Foundations have given for many years, most recently to advance the seasonal work crew training.

    The Arizona Community Foundations of both Yavapai County and the Sedona/Verde Valley have supported the trails through their annual grant programs. These are chosen by panels of local citizens that review the merits of many applications. Additionally, REI of Flagstaff supported numerous years of general trail work and Kahtoola, also of Flagstaff, awarded the SRRTF one of their first environmentally focused grants for renovation work on Cathedral Rock Trail.

    The State of Arizona operates several different grant programs, mostly administered through their State Parks and partially funded by federal gas tax money. We have used those to access funds for general trail work, signage and environmental education, and most recently their support has enabled us to hire a full-time program director. Nationally, the National Forest Foundation has supported work on several past projects.

    Private company foundations can sometimes be a little tricky, but the Athletic Brewing Company recently gave us a nice award to help with the training effort.

    The focus and timing of awards vary from year to year, as the grantors change their giving philosophies and budgets. No matter what the grant is, after we hit the “Send” button, we await the decision on pins and needles —a process that can take several months. We are always confident that our project or request is worthy of support, but the volume of worthy applicants has raised grant competition to a keen level. We take nothing for granted.

    Each time we get a “Congratulations” letter or award check we whoop for joy!

    As you can appreciate, grants take a lot of expertise and effort from our dedicated grants team, but we feel our trails are worth it.


  • 1 Jan 2024 8:29 PM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    An old adage says it takes a village to raise a child. In the case of Sedona’s Red Rock trails, it takes more than a village. And the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund does many things to inspire and involve different groups to get involved.

    According to a recently completed census report, our trails are enjoyed annually by over 2.2 million hikers, bikers and equestrians. As well as more than 111,000 dogs! The base of financial supporters that deliver the essential funding is also diverse – including individuals, businesses, family foundations, the City of Sedona and the state of Arizona. This shared commitment to our system is a real testament to the important role it plays in our enjoined lives. Inspiring scenery, healthy outdoor activity, connection to nature and more.

    Two recent events illustrate how the Trail Fund brings folks together to connect with the trails and each other. The first was a joint volunteer work day with the Arizona Trailblazers, a Phoenix-based hiking club. The Trailblazers rose early on a Saturday morning and ventured north to join forces with some of our local groups to do maintenance work on the Doe and Bear Mountain Trails. Under the leadership of Seth Bennet from the Red Rock Ranger District, participants shouldered hoes and lopping shears and hauled up Doe Mountain, clearing drains and pruning overgrowth. Next, up Bear Mountain to clear more drains.

    Li Li, the Trailblazers vice president, expressed her appreciation for the opportunity to give back to the Red Rock trails. The Trailblazers have done work days elsewhere, but Li said this was one of the best experiences to date, providing a first-hand experience of the work that goes into repairing and maintaining trails. Sandi Heysinger, vice president of SRRTF and organizer of the event, offered that the newfound relationship with the Trailblazers will be a model for joint activities with other outdoor recreation groups in the future.

    Veterans Get Involved    On November 11th – Veterans Day – the Trail Fund hosted another work day that drew over 50 participants to the Soldiers Pass trailhead. A great showing of local veterans came to participate along with other local volunteers. After the rocks were moved and bushes pruned, the party moved to Posse Grounds for a picnic lunch that included a tribute cake for the vets and music from the local group, Slide Rock. The Thunder Mountain Grillers provided hamburgers and hotdogs, Trail Lovers: MTB Guides of Sedona provided drinks, and the Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition provided pizza to round out the celebration.

    Richard Zahner, retired Lt. General US Army, gave inspirational remarks to the group and joined in the work and celebration. An added bonus was a raffle of hiking accessories donated by Canyon Outfitters, The Hike House, Danner Boots, Kahtoola and Thunder Mountain Bikes.

    Recent Grant Wins Boost Funding   In recent months, the SRRTF grants committee, chaired by Sophia Sweeny, was awarded grants from ACF Sedona ($8,500), the Fruhman Family Foundation ($5,000), the Langston Family Foundation ($5,000), Athletic Brewing ($10,000), and the Mountain Bike Assoc. of AZ ($2,000). Once again, the diversity of generous support is a testament to the broad appeal of the trails and the reach of SRRTF’s work to secure funding.

    The new year includes new projects, new maintenance activities and the need for renewed funding sources. The organization is celebrating its 10th year of trail stewardship and is looking forward to working with anyone with a desire to support and nurture our vibrant Red Rock trail system. For more information, please visit the website at redrocktrailfund.org.

    Photo: The AZ Trailblazers Hiking Club from Phoenix came up to help with trail maintenance, organized by SRRTF VP/Director Sandi Heysinger (far right).

  • 11 Dec 2023 7:57 AM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    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.

  • 8 Dec 2023 11:22 AM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund hosted Veterans on Saturday, November 11th for a special volunteer work day focused on the Soldier Pass trails. Over 50 workers, including Sedona area Veterans, USFS personnel, Friends of the Forest Sedona, Sedona Westerners Hiking Club, Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition volunteers, and SRRTF staff participated. Assignments included cleaning drains, moving rocks, and closing off social trails near the trailhead. This work will help facilitate the larger Soldier Pass trail system project which is expected to require $50,767 in cash resources to complete. Click here to contribute to that fund.

    Following the morning work session, there was special picnic at Posse Grounds. In the spirit of honoring local veterans for their service, and to all the volunteers for helping to preserve the trails, the City of Sedona provided three ramadas.

    This event marked the official start of a planned year-long series of events marking the organization’s 10th year of support to Red Rock trails.

    Food was provided by Thunder Mountain Bikes, with James and Bri Goodwin serving as grill masters with burgers, hot dogs and all the fixings.  The Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition provided pizza and Trail Lovers: Sedona Hiking and MTB Guides provided beverages. A raffle had fabulous prizes from Danner Boots, Canyon Outfitters, Thunder Mountain Bikes and Hike House. Setting the mood for the party, the band Slide Rock, featuring Chris Malek and Winston Norrish, graciously donated the musical entertainment.

    The beautiful weather only added to the enjoyment of all.

    At the commencement of the work day, Richard Zahner, retired Lieutenant General U.S. Army, addressed the volunteers with words of appreciation for their contribution to public lands and for service to country.

    Photo above: The USFS seasonal crew with a Veterans’ tribute cake to recognize our local vets who pitched in for the trail work.

    Photo below: Amidst the backdrop of Thunder Mountain, the participants of the Salute to Veterans Soldier Pass Work Day gather at the end of their project.


  • 7 Dec 2023 8:41 PM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    Thank you Arizona Community Foundation for awarding us $8500 toward various trail improvement projects in the Red Rock District. Fun evening mingling with so many great philanthropic organizations.


  • 21 Nov 2023 7:59 PM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    The past two years (2022 and 2023) the trail improvement projects in the Red Rock Ranger District in the Sedona and VOC vicinity have focused on restoration and renovation, in addition to general maintenance of the trail system at large. Additional trail miles have not been added since 2021 when the 5-mile Rabbit Ears/Little Rock project was completed.

    The USFS released their proposal for the Red Rock Trails Access Plan (RTAP) on November 21, 2023. RTAP proposes up to 30 miles of new trail construction (all non-motorized), adoption of 16 miles of user-created (social) trails, and naturalization of 21 miles of user-created trails. Location of these trails are in Sedona, the Village of Oak Creek and Cornville. For trail enthusiasts – this includes the long-awaited trail network for the Turkey Creek area, a figure eight trail atop Doe Mountain, an equestrian bypass for equestrians on the Rector Connector Trail and a few other connectors.

    Every new trail on USFS public lands must first be submitted to a NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) process involving rigorous investigation of the land that will be environmentally impacted unless categorically excluded. While the RTAP is categorically excluded from the lengthy NEPA process, it still must have archeological, botanical, and wildlife surveys that have been completed and must be reviewed by Forest Service hydrologists, engineers, and other specialists. (The required archeological study was funded by the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund).

    Public comment period through Dec. 20th

    With the research completed this Fall, the USFS plans to present the proposal and begin the process of hearing community and individual concerns in November. Public release of the proposal starts the clock on a 30-day public comment, and at least one public forum is planned to be held in the Village. The documents can be reviewed at https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=62415&exp=overview, and links will also be posted on the SRRTF website, redrocktrails.org.

    At the conclusion of the public comment period, the District reviews the public inputs, and the final step is issuance of a Decision Memo approving the plan. Implementation is anticipated to take several years, as funding permits.

    Year-end campaign - $175,000 goal

    The Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund is the funding backbone of the trail system that provides access to the dramatic and enticing landscape. With federal allocations covering less that 10% (average) of the yearly cost of maintenance and enhancements of the non-motorized trails, donations are the means for sustaining this valuable asset.

    In addition to the standard maintenance of the extensive trail system, the Trail Fund has committed in 2024 to providing funding support for the renovation of Soldiers Pass Trail, Schnebly Hill and Scheurman Trail, as well as the completion of Cathedral Rock Trail. (More information on these on the trail fund website). They are also committed to the growth of an endowment fund to ensure that the essential needs of the trails and forest will continue into the future. And when the RTAP is approved, will discuss the District’s funding needs for buildout. 

    To spur year-end donations, a $15,000 donor match has been secured, which doubles the impact of donations received by December 31st. This year for the first time, donors can share their love for the trails with friends and family by giving a gift in their honor – for the holidays, for birthday/anniversary or other occasion.  Honorary gifts can include an inspirational certificate with personal message.

    You can make donations online at redrocktrailfund.org or by mail (SRRTF, PO Box 4475, Sedona AZ 86340). SRRTF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and an Official Partner of the US Forest Service Red Rock Ranger District.

    Photo - Trailhead of Turkey Creek Trail: Public comments are open through Dec. 20th on the proposed RTAP. This plan includes construction, adoption and naturalization of user-created (social) trails in the Village of Oak Creek, mostly west of Verde Valley School Road on 1,800 acres of National Forest lands. The project would also include reconstruction and expansion of the Turkey Creek trailhead.


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