Community Collaboration Builds New Trails

8 Nov 2018 10:08 AM | Deleted user

After several years of planning and fund raising, nearly 30 miles of new trail are on deck for construction thanks to collaboration of local and national partners. The Western Gateway trail project will add to the Red Rock non-motorized trail system, open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians.

Western Gateway trails will be accessed from the Girdner Trailhead on Cultural Park Place north of the High School. These trails will offer loops and connectors of all challenge levels, set within the naturally diverse Dry Creek drainage. The trails offer shady riparian forest, stunning views of the Red Rock Wilderness and southern vistas to Jerome and Mingus Mountain. Part of the project is the substantially rerouted Girdner Trail, away from the flood prone stream-side. Trails will also be accessible from the Aerie Trailhead.

Ground broke today with the first of a series of twelve volunteer work days sponsored by the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund (SRRTF) and REI.

SRRTF contracted for 12 weeks of youth crew work by the Flagstaff based American Conservation Experience (ACE) beginning January 9, 2019. To be efficient, ACE crews are allowed by Forest Service (FS) to camp at the Girdner Trailhead. FS trail supervisor Forrest Saville stated that he is “committed to training and supervision of the contracted and volunteer trail crews to meet FS sustainable trail construction standards.”

Funding for Phase I of this project - over $100,000 - comes from many sources: a $40,800 grant from the Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition, $25,000 grant from the National Forest Foundation; $5,000 grant from the Singletrack Futures Foundation, REI support for trail volunteer days and many individual donations. Kevin Adams, president of SRRTF, stated “have raised the funds for Phase I and have begun fundraising for Phase II's construction effort which begins in Fall 2019. We have secured Phase II Funding from The City of Sedona, Sedona Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau, and Enchantment Resort, however more funds will be needed to complete the entire ~30 mile system by 2021."

Planning for the Western Gateway Project began nearly 5 years ago as a response to growing trail use and a need to shift use from more crowded areas. Recent City of Sedona “community focus area” planning confirmed the use of the Girdner Trailhead location as an important and well used public space. There is strong recognition of the importance of our local trails as a main venue for forest access, their contribution to a healthy lifestyle and to our local tourism economy.

SRRTF continues to work with all interested partners to complete the project. Total project costs are estimated at over $300,000 excluding trailhead improvements. SRRTF project leader Jennifer Burns emphasized how important donations from local trail users are to the success of our local trail construction projects and annual maintenance. For more information on the Western Gateway Project and to donate to help fund the project, please go to

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