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  • 19 Apr 2023 6:49 PM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    Keep Sedona Beautiful (KSB) honored the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund and our president, Kevin Adams, with their Award of Excellence for Environmental Stewardship.

    Each year, KSB identifies organizations, businesses and individuals who have made significant contributions to the community.

    We thank all our donors, partners and grantors for making the work we do possible!

  • 3 Feb 2023 12:00 AM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    I am pleased to report that our year-end quarterly fundraising drive brought in a record $281,360 (all sources) towards our many projects on the docket for 2023. Every contribution plays a meaningful part in maintaining the trail system – THANK YOU

    The success of the year-end campaign completes the last of the strategic goals from the business plan adopted in 2018. The dedication and excellent work of our board of directors is to be commended. As a team, they met or exceed all of our stated intentions, experimented, learned and grew as an organization. My gratitude to each of them for their service. 

    Our executive committee for 2023 is laying the foundation of our next 5-year strategic plan. During the next few months, the board of directors will finalize that plan, with implementation scheduled for our next fiscal year (October 1st).

    A key organizational development goal from the last plan was to bring on a paid professional staff member to take us to the next level. I am pleased to announce that on December 1st, Camille Cox officially joined our team as program director. She will be assisting our three standing committee chairs with their activities and assuming chairmanship of one of the committees sometime in March.

    This new position – and the opportunity it opens up for the SRRTF – was made possible through a grant from the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund.

    Please enjoy the revamped design of our quarterly newsletter and the variety of articles reporting on the projects made possible through your generosity.

  • 3 Feb 2023 12:00 AM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    Phase 4 to Complete in March

    The final stretch of the ambitious restoration project for Cathedral Rock Trail is underway, and with cooperation from Mother Nature, it should be complete and open by early April.

    This last section of Phase Four is the endpoint of a project that started in the Fall of 2021. This final push involves the uppermost area from Switchback Staircase to End of Trail. 

    Steep, Tough Terrain  Cathedral Rock Trail has many unique qualities that make it a place like no other in the Coconino National Forest. Erosive soils, steep terrain, slick rock, and frequent "washouts" make it particularly challenging to Forest Service trail managers. It presents specific exceptional requirements for rock construction not seen elsewhere in the Red Rock Ranger District. Although rock work is always intensive and time-consuming, the conditions on Cathedral are extreme.

    Particularly daunting is the challenge of moving essential heavy equipment uphill each day. Forrest Gale and Tommy Cogger, Summit to Sea consultants who are working with the USFS on the project, explain, "In our experience in the southwest, we compare this style/technique and caliber of trail building to what you find on the Grand Canyon trails. All of the equipment is hauled up by hand, on the backs of workers and on a rock dolly.”

    Kevin Kuhl, trails/wilderness/OHV coordinator for the Red Rock Ranger District, provided the following update. “Crews are currently gearing up by installing new fencing at the junction of the Cathedral Rock and Templeton trails. This will provide for transition from the open, slick rock terrain on Templeton. It will also better delineate the trail alignment of Cathedral, and reduce redundant social trail alignments on the beginning of the Cathedral slick rock climb. Once the project starts, crews will focus on safely rigging rock to efficiently move it to the construction areas. Then the rock splitting and shaping will start for new check step construction.”

    Trail Closure and Re-Opening  According to Kuhl, schedule limitations affecting the American Conservation Experience youth corps crew supporting the project pushed their start date back by a week, impacting completion of the USFS crew work until the end of March.

    The lower 0.2-mile portion of the trail from Cathedral Rock trailhead to the Templeton junction will be open to the public for the full duration of the project. The upper 0.3-mile portion of the trail – from the Templeton Junction to the terminus – will remain closed from February 1st to March 31st, unless work is completed earlier and all hazards related to this work are mitigated. He added, “We anticipate volunteer assistance from the Westerners Hiking Club and Friends of the Forest to help us educate the public about the ongoing Forest Closure Order of Cathedral Rock Trail”.

    Funding Still Needed to Bridge the Chasm  The project got off the ground financially when the USFS received money from the Great American Outdoors Act of 2020. As that funding was insufficient to cover the cost, the USFS partnered with the SRRTF to raise what was needed to complete the project. This has been largely achieved through remarkably generous support of private donors and grants.

    “Significant donations from the National Forest Foundation ($27,100), Enchantment Resort ($15,000), the Sedona Westerners 2022 Trail Fund Campaign ($10,000+), Kahtoola ($8,000) and 66 other donors, have closed the funding gap to $69,760,” stated Kevin Adams, SRRTF president. He added, “We’re urging the community to help bring this project to full, successful closure by March 1st”.

    All donations are tax-deductible, and easy to make at On the home page, you can choose to donate specifically to the Cathedral Rock Trail, and your full donation will be used for that project.

  • 3 Feb 2023 12:00 AM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    In November of 2012, 100+ determined trail enthusiasts, sardine-packed themselves into a tiny room in the Village of Oak Creek and kick-started a master planning process for the Red Rock District trail system. As  a result of this year-long sequence of public meetings, more than 130 miles of new non-motorized trails were identified along with enhancements to existing trails. And from that planning, 61 miles of new trails were approved and constructed.

    These meetings also produced a new emphasis on trail maintenance. Trail Crew members (staff who do the actual trail maintenance) increased from one full-year and two seasonal, to two full-year and 12 seasonal members on duty this field season. Today, this crew maintains 250-300 trail miles annually.

    And last, to pay for this ambitious plan, the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund was created to raise funds for the maintenance and enhancement of the non-motorized trails on National Forest land near Sedona and the VOC, and to educate the public about trail management issues.

    The Red Rock Ranger District is now working on the next phase of ~56 miles of trail enhancements using a new process that may exclude these enhancements from more lengthy environmental review and analysis (known as “categorical exclusions”). Categorical exclusion still involve interdisciplinary review and documentation through the established planning process to avoid and minimize environmental impacts.

    The District must first determine that no extraordinary circumstances are present in any proposed project area to categorically exclude the project(s). This is accomplished with input from an interdisciplinary team of staff specialists that also analyze how the proposed project may affect their individual resource.

    The wildlife biologist reviews the impact of the proposed action on terrestrial threatened and endangered species, as well as on migratory birds and Forest Service sensitive species. If threatened and endangered species impacts are anticipated, the Forest Service then consults with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

    The hydrology specialist’s review focuses on wetland or municipal watershed impacts. The wilderness specialist determines if the project falls in any congressionally designated areas such as wilderness, and assesses if the project aligns with the intent of the designation(s). Other specialists will ensure that proposed action is consistent with the Coconino National Forest Plan and other laws and regulations.

    Lastly, the District’s archaeologist must determine if there are likely impacts to First Nations’ archeological sites or historic properties. This typically requires surveying the area and consulting with the State Historic Preservation Office on findings. Archaeologists from Tetra Tech, under contract to and funded by the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund, are conducting these surveys over the next several months. You may see them performing their field work in select forest areas near the VOC or Sedona.

    Public concerns and specialist input are considered in the District’s decision process, which will hopefully culminate in a Decision Memo approving proposed trail enhancements, new trails and any associated design features/mitigation measures. Implementation will then take several years as funding allows.

    SRRTF will lead that funding effort through its partnership with the Forest Service.

  • 3 Feb 2023 12:00 AM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    On December 1st, Camille Cox joined the Trail Fund as program director.

    As mentioned in Kevin’s lead article – a grant from the AZ State Parks Heritage Fund made it possible to fulfill our development goal of adding muscle to our game with full-time professional staff.

    Camille is a familiar presence in the Sedona region. She has served on a long list of non-profit boards and committees since arriving here in 2015 – notably as president of the Big Park Council from 2020-22.

    Professionally, she brings deep experience in marketing. During the past 40 years she has worked client-side for two start-up companies and an international Fortune 500 corporation; she also founded two marketing agencies.

    She lives in Pine Valley on the edge of the Village of Oak Creek with her husband Philip and their loyal dog Jackie.


  • 3 Feb 2023 12:00 AM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    By Kevin Kuhl, USFS Red Rock Ranger District

    This season has likely been one for the record books! We have the largest trail crew we’ve ever had, and likely some of the highest volunteer attendance for maintenance-based trail events. Our last event had over 45 people show up and sign-up space on the list overflowed to the margins of the paper! Since the beginning of the season, we’ve had seven public volunteer events and five more are planned. All had turnouts of 25+ people except one very cold, wet morning where only 15 hardy people joined in.

    With our crew members mostly new to the District or Forest, we organized a weeklong training conducted by Flagline Trails (funded through the SRRTF) to teach the finer aspects of Red Rock trail maintenance, the theory behind the work, project layout and how to teach volunteers to assist us with this work. This jump-start on building our crews’ district knowledge, in combination with the consistent weather, has allowed for great soil moisture … which equals more drainage work than normal. Small rock projects have also been added due to damage from the summer monsoon storms.

    The crew has been prepping for the Cathedral Rock project by learning some advanced rigging and rock splitting skillsets to better utilize our crews on the final Phase of the project. This training is also conducted by Flagline Trails. Last year, most of the rock was split and hand-carried with nets. Due to the steepness of the project site, we will be utilizing grip hoists, wire ropes, nylon slings and mechanical advantage to move the rock. We hope this improves efficiency and safety.

    A forest closure order has been signed off, closing the trail from the Templeton Junction to the terminus at the top from February 1st to March 31st. This will once again allow our crews to better manage the project site and production of work, while not having to worry about falling rocks on hikers below them due to steep terrain. We’ve arranged for Friends of the Forest and The Westerners Hiking Club to assist us in trail closure education and outreach at the Cathedral Rock Trailhead and at the Templeton junction during the closure.

    Tetra Tech, a contract firm based in Colorado, is assisting with the Red Rock Trails NEPA project. They have surveyed most of the shorter linear project areas and are close to 50% done with the Turkey Creek system. We anticipate public scoping for this project to be released this spring.

    Solutions for Staffing  To increase our employee recruitment, we have been able to attract more applicants from Flagstaff with formalized commuting assistance. We started the first vanpool program on the Coconino National Forest for Trail Crew employees. This is not a Forest Service funded program, but uses a rental vehicle funded by Federal Transit Subsidies and administered by the Department of Transportation – often at no cost to employees. Eight people are now benefiting, which makes daily commuting from Flagstaff far more attractive, based on our challenges with limited local government housing.

  • 3 Feb 2023 12:00 AM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    Who doesn't enjoy a great Christmas story? The Little Off the Beaten Path Meet-up Group in Phoenix has an annual Christmas charity hike - this year clamouring 3.6 miles from South Mtn Park into Hidden Valley. 

    One of the members was still aglow from a visit to Sedona. She stayed at the Sedona Real Inn & Suites and learned from the hotelier about the Red Rock Trail Fund. They are one of our local business that supports the Fund by offering guests an opportunity to make a donation on their registration card. The meet-up member's Trail Fund story inspired the group to make us the recipient of their charity collection! They sent their donation check to the manager of Sedona Real Inn, who forwarded it to us along with this fun photo.

    Thank you Meet-up Santas for the dollars and the sweet surprise! Sedona Real Inn & Suites, we thank for your commitment to our trails!

  • 3 Feb 2023 12:00 AM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    We are pleased to introduce one of our new directors and our treasurer - Mark Bealafeld.

    Mark has been a Sedona resident for five years, originally hailing from Ann Arbor, MI. He has an MBA in finance and 30 years experience in finance, accounting and systems administration.

    He also has many years of experience both as a volunteer and board member for not-for-profit organizations including currently serving as treasurer for the Sedona Westerners hiking club. He is an avid hiker and volunteer hike leader for the Westerners.

    We welcome him and believe he will be a valuable addition to our board.

  • 3 Feb 2023 12:00 AM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    Most people are shocked to learn that outdoor enjoyment of our landscape, made accessible via an incredible trail network, is primarily funded by a local non-profit organization. In fact, in the past few years 65-70% of the annual expense of maintaining the trails in the Sedona area came from the Red Rock Trail Fund, with a mere 13% funding from federal allocations.

    Of $638,000 raised by the Trail Fund last fiscal year – roughly 30% came from our Sedona area businesses. These contributors include businesses of all sizes, from corporate-owned hoteliers to small entrepreneurial business owners. Take a look at our 2023 Donor Wall (just posted on Feb 1), you’ll see a surprising variety of 59 businesses who are each playing an important role to ensure the sustainability of our trail system as a healthy recreation experience for residents and a top-rated destination for visitors.

    In fiscal year 2023 (Oct-Sept), the Trail Fund’s fundraising goal is $561,200 with the intention to accomplish the following:

    • completion of Cathedral Trail Phase IV (in process, $69K funding gap);
    • the comprehensive trail assessment; a trail census (in process);
    • the archeology survey for seven new trails/trail systems (in process and funded);
    • a maintenance fund that supports the Trail Crew (boots on the ground), and
    • miscellaneous as new District needs are identified.

    You can learn about these projects on our website homepage.

    Our business participation programs include ways for engaging customers/guests to “give back to the trails” without costing the business a cash outlay, and others that involve modest outlay. Some businesses have designed their own ideas for generating donations at their place of business. In the instance of our mainstay Trail Keeper program, which is in collaboration with the City of Sedona and Sedona Chamber of Commerce, participating businesses receive valuable advertising on highly visible kiosk signs at the trailheads. If you own a business and would like to contribute, invite us over to discuss our programs. Email:

    What can you do? Please take a look at the list of business supporters, and do what you can to support them. Direct your friends and family to these establishments and buy local yourself (Amazon isn’t on the list yet).

    Thank You, business supporters! Your generosity is key to making great trails possible!

  • 1 Feb 2023 12:00 AM | Camille Cox (Administrator)

    Each issue we invite a supporter to share with us their enthusiasm for the Red Rock trail "experience".  Mei Lin, a resident of Tucson who travels here frequently, recently contacted us about how she could help. She chose to make a year-end contribution toward filling the funding funding gap for the Cathedral Rock Trail project.

    How did you discover our Red Rock country, and what about it inspires you?  I'd heard of the beauty of the Red Rock country in recent years and when I moved to Tucson in the summer of 2020, the stars aligned in September for me to take a drive up to Sedona. When I arrived into town, I remember being awed and mesmerized by the stunning immense natural beauty, and I made a note to myself "one day, I will buy a house here". I tell friends, family and anyone who asks about my love for this place, that anytime I arrive into town I immediately feel better – at peace, grounded and relaxed.

    Tell us about your favorite trails, and what you love most about them?  I love hiking out on the trails – this place is like a candy store for nature lovers! I love finding trails that are lesser known/not frequented as much by tourists. Recently, my favorite trails are Trancept, because of the expansive 360 views, and Wilson's Canyon Trail, because at the end of the trail is a short little climb popping out of the canyon and being immersed in the red rocks.

    There are so many great causes, why do you choose to support the mission of the Trail Fund?  I love giving back to causes that bring me so much joy so that others may also have an opportunity to have the same experience. I tell people that a hike in the Red Rock country is one of the best prescriptions.

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