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Something funny is going on in Sedona.

Another trail, one which I and my neighbors very much enjoyed running and riding on several times a week for years, was partially destroyed this week. Presumably, judging by the scale of the project, the perpetrators were a US Forest Service trail crew or some other such organized group. I have one question for those responsible: Why? What is the reason, the justification for such brutal, undeniably aggressive action toward the very public who loves these trails, who has woven them into the very fabric of their daily lives? A public, might I add, who pays a lot of money to live in and / or visit Sedona precisely because of these trails! Accountability and justification is what I'm after here. Something very precious was stolen from me this week and I want to know why they did it, and why they believe they can get away with such a travesty so nonchalantly!

The partially destroyed trail, known as Windsurfer, is not some new, insignificant "social" trail, but rather a very well established and stable route, providing critical and beautiful access between two major trail networks very important to Sedona residents (more so than to visitors). This is one of my favorite trails upon which to enjoy early spring wildflowers, as it's soil and exposure are well suited to a great number of species. So well established is this trail in fact that it's even appeared in guide books for many years! And as for the question of sustainability, well, there is no question: This fabulous trail was laid out in such a perfect way that the forces of both erosion and human / animal usage have changed the trail almost imperceptibly over the many years that I've seen it regualrly, unlike the conditions we've all witnessed on many of the overused "tourist trails" that the Forest Service seems to want to force ALL of us onto. So this trail is not guilty of being either new or unstable. Must have been another reason.

The massive destruction to this beautiful, stable, fully warranted and long beloved trail could NOT have been justified by such an idea as the lessening "environmental impact", for the tremendous impact of its recent destruction, the impact of grossly displacing such a massive volume of rock, boulders, soil and plant life, has impacted the physical (and experiential) environment much more so than if there were a thousand hikers / runners / bikers enjoying this trail per year! Indeed, the crew responsible for this barbarous ransacking disturbed, dislodged and displaced literally tons of material in their efforts to take this trail from us. The entirety of this now loose material was a perfectly stable matrix of rock and soil knitted together at the perfect angle of repose by the roots of tenacious but fragile desert plants - also grossly disturbed. What's worse, from the perspective of environmental impact, is the fact that in addition to the immediate visible damage, this irresponsible trail destruction has left in it's reckless wake the potential for an erosional nightmare: the once stable, compacted hillside traverse is now a water catching, crater-pocked culvert of soft soil in places - the void where rocks and boulders had lain stably imbedded for eons is now a slide zone. The perpetrators removed a stable, sustainable, solidly established trail running across a balanced hillside, with a "trench" of disturbed soil ready to trap all water that flows down the fall line, where it will saturate, weight the slope, and slide with the first heavy rain. Such a scar will be there for a century. For what? To keep me from running on the trail? To keep my family from enjoying our weekly walk up there? Additionally, as if this is not asinine enough, the literally tons of rocks and boulders removed, rounded rocks and boulders mind you, were "pulled up" by the trail wreckers to the high side of the new precipice of disturbed soil and stacked in places idiotically atop a narrow spit of unsupported loose dirt - that'll lessen impact! Lets see, what was for years a perfectly solid, stable, time proven, and beloved trail - OUR trail - is now a several hundred yard rock pile primed to provide guaranteed monsoonal erosion. This was done to lessen impact??? This is an engineers nightmare, and a complete embarrassment to the people who are responsible for it! So why would an agency interested in ameliorating "environmental impact" inflict such awful and careless immidiate and potential impact on that very same environment??? Well, it seems that preventing environmental impact is NOT the reason for this action either

Let's look a little deeper, shall we: Word around town is that certain Forest Service officers have admitted, in very recent meetings with concerned parties, that they are destroying our beautiful, beloved trails in order to make the point that they are in control of our lands. To make a point!?! Excuse me, but this is NOT okay with me, my neighbors, my fellow trail users, business owners, tax payers, Red Rock pass purchasers, ANYONE I've spoken with about this!

But come now, why would the Sedona Ranger District do this? Apparently, from sources who work with them, individuals within the Sedona Ranger District feel thwarted - frustrated for example with the jeep tour companies who have been disregarding FS permitting protocols for the past several years, and are seeking a show of muscle. This belief certainly is evidenced in and supported by recent Forest Service posturing in the community newspaper!

It's also becoming clear that the non-commercial user group most heavily targeted by the Sedona Ranger District is the Mountain Biking community. Well listen to this: I am a long time local trail runner and avid hiker, who's family has been here since the 1880's, and I don't like MY trails, the trails around MY house, the ones I've been using DAILY for more than a decade and my family has been enjoying for over a century, to be taken away from MY community without even a discussion! And the fact that they are replaced with ugly, dangerous, asinine swaths of scarring destruction makes it even worse! I'd wager freely that over the years I've consistently spent one hell of a lot more time on these trails around my house than has Mr. Anderson or any one of the Sedona Ranger District trail crew responsible for their seemingly eminent destruction. I do NOT support this ridiculous behavior, and will express this pathetic raping of our lands and robbing of our established trails to the regional US Forest Service headquarters in Albuquerque, and Washington DC. Representatives from the New Mexico office were out here recently and expressed that they could neither believe nor understand why agents in this branch of their agency would ever destroy a trail as beautiful, as useful, and as masterfully built as the one they boasted about destroying in the paper. Oh, and by the way, if you had not experienced THAT trail before its savage destruction, I am sorry for you, as it truly was one of the most beautiful, Zen-like trails to walk / ride in Sedona - a true masterpiece. Go view the carnage now, you'll be disgusted to see what the Forest Service did in order to make a point! Cutting off the leg to save the toenail!

In recent meetings with self appointed (not community appointed) representatives of the local mountain biking community, the Forest Service has made the following offer: "promise not build any new trails, and we'll leave the existing trails alone". The trail that is being destroyed this week is an existing, long established MULTI USE trail enjoyed by many locals for years! There goes any trust in Forest Service "deals", eh!

But do not despair, trail lovers, for all is not lost... yet. You can make a difference. Demand that the Ken Anderson and the Sedona Ranger District STOP destruction of our existing trails immediately! Write to the USFS HQ in New Mexico and express concern that this district my be mismanaged - their ears are open to this issue! Even a senior GAO official openly expressed distaste for this practice, questioned its constitutionality, and doubted the process was actually in the best interest of we, the people! So take a minute to SAVE YOUR TRAILS!
 

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Rollin'in'Zona said:
Something funny is going on in Sedona.

Another trail, one which I and my neighbors very much enjoyed running and riding on several times a week for years, was partially destroyed this week. Presumably, judging by the scale of the project, the perpetrators were a US Forest Service trail crew or some other such organized group.

But do not despair, trail lovers, for all is not lost... yet. You can make a difference. Demand that the Ken Anderson and the Sedona Ranger District STOP destruction of our existing trails immediately! Write to the USFS HQ in New Mexico and express concern that this district my be mismanaged - their ears are open to this issue! Even a senior GAO official openly expressed distaste for this practice, questioned its constitutionality, and doubted the process was actually in the best interest of we, the people! So take a minute to SAVE YOUR TRAILS!
Instead of rhetoric, how about some real information? Who built the trail? When was it built? How about some pictures, or a map of the trail? What has been the legal status of the trail? Have you looked at filing an appeal under CFR36 part 215 and or part 217? Was an EIS or any NEPA work done?

For an activist you seem uninformed. There is no "Sedona Ranger District". For a guy whose family has been around the area since "the 1880's" ... you don't seem to know who you are fighting. Come on, you are dealing with the Red Rock Ranger District.

If you are going to get on a letter writing stump you should atleast sound like you know whats going on. And why are you pushing for Regional and National contacts. Why not start with the Coconino National forest headquarters in Flag? An appeal for a District Ranger's decision is appealed to the Forest Supervisor; a Forest Supervisor's decision is appealed to the Regional Forester; and a Regional Forester's decision is appealed to the Chief's office in Washington. Your process should start at the local level.

BTW, if you really expect ppl to "Write to the USFS HQ in New Mexico," then why don't you provide the address:

USDA Forest Service
Southwestern Region
333 Broadway SE
Albuquerque, NM 87102

S
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 · (Edited)
USFS destroying MORE tails in Sedona!

Thanks for writing - I appreciate your input.

Sarvis said:
Instead of rhetoric, how about some real information?
Realize that this was written only minutes after returning from the trail last night. This is the first exploration of what's happened.

Sarvis said:
Who built the trail? When was it built?
The trail was not "built", it came into existence through use - probably hundreds of years of animal and human use, as it follows the natural contours. This is key, as the FS does recognize a difference between intentionally "built" trails and those that come into existence through use. I myself have used this path for close to a decade, at least.

Sarvis said:
How about some pictures, or a map of the trail?
Coming soon! Along with video and a full power point presentation.

Sarvis said:
What has been the legal status of the trail?
It's not in wilderness. In fact it is never more than 500 yards from a municipal airport. It connects two heavily used FS built trail networks themselves bordered by subdivision and the airport. It is a very well established, obviously sustainable 12" - 14", naturally occurring trail which clearly posed absolutely no threat to any ecologically or archeologically sensitive sites. There is a FS built loop trail encircling the airport itself, so proximity to this facility is not a factor. The trail has never been signed as off limits to any user. It is used by hikers, runners, bikers, and animals. It is unique in it offerings, and forms a critical connector between major trail networks. It has been listed in guide books for years.

There are, at the least, hundreds and hundreds of miles of trail in Sedona. Only relatively few have been designated legal or not. This well established trail exhibited absolutely NONE of the characteristics which would qualify it as undesirable or illegal in any way! In sum, there is nothing about this trail that would warrant an illegal status.

Sarvis said:
Have you looked at filing an appeal under CFR36 part 215 and or part 217?
Yes, this has been considered by other parties for other trail issue in Sedona. Appearently they actually piqued the interest of folks Albuquerque quite a bit last time. Again, THIS issue was just created in the past few days, and just discovered last night.

Sarvis said:
Was an EIS or any NEPA work done?
No way. The USFS admitted recently in meetings that they do not have the funds for such investigations. It was even implied that if we want to keep our trails open, we, the public, would have to come up with financing for these studies! I was not at these meetings, but a group of us spoke at length last with a representative who is tightly woven into the FS on this very issue.

Sarvis said:
For an activist you seem uninformed.
Who said I was an activist? I'm a trail user friend. A tax paying, business owning, community supporting trail user who is pissed that my long time local trails are being destroyed for appearently no valid reason!

Sarvis said:
There is no "Sedona Ranger District". you are dealing with the Red Rock Ranger District.
Ah, I believe that's a NEW moniker, coined a few years ago after the split with Beaver Creek or something to that effect. I was active in this field many years ago, when it was called the Sedona Ranger District. Pardon me for not keeping up with the who's who - again, I am not an activist and have not been involved in land mangement politics for a long time.

Sarvis said:
If you are going to get on a letter writing stump you should at least sound like you know what's going on.
The USFS has admitted that the last major trail destruction was done largely to make a point! They also said that they will keep doing it. Seems pretty clear that this is going on, eh?!

What I'm hoping to accomplish with letter writing is to two fold: one, to actually find out what what's going on, because the local district obviously does not want to be at all accountable to the public!

The second reason for contacting higher ups is to alert them to these questionable activities and to the public's disapproval of them! In the past month, lower level reps visiting from other FS districts (NM) have expressed concern and contrary opinions to what's going on here! Did you miss this? I want the Supers to ask the district rangers WHY? Is this justified? Have you researched the impact this will have on the public, and is it worth taking it from them? I want the local District rangers under greater scrutiny, held to a much higher level of accountability.

Sarvis said:
And why are you pushing for Regional and National contacts.
See above.

Sarvis said:
Why not start with the Coconino National forest headquarters in Flag?
Been done. Is being done again now. Seems to be a dead end with the local personalities. Indeed, it seems the very seed of this problem may be woven into the fabric of that particular office.

Sarvis said:
An appeal for a District Ranger's decision is appealed to the Forest Supervisor; a Forest Supervisor's decision is appealed to the Regional Forester; and a Regional Forester's decision is appealed to the Chief's office in Washington. Your process should start at the local level.
Great info. Thanks!

Sarvis said:
BTW, if you really expect ppl to "Write to the USFS HQ in New Mexico," then why don't you provide the address:
Agreed! Again, realize that my original post was written only minutes after returning from the trail Friday night. I was going to look it up and post it today. Thanks for posting it!

Sarvis said:
USDA Forest Service
Southwestern Region
333 Broadway SE
Albuquerque, NM 87102

S
 

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Rollin'in'Zona said:
Thanks for writing - I appreciate your input.

Realize that this was written only minutes after returning from the trail last night. This is the first exploration of what's happened.

The trail was not "built", it came into existence through use - probably hundreds of years of animal and human use, as it follows the natural contours. This is key, as the FS does recognize a difference between intentionally "built" trails and those that come into existence through use. I myself have used this path for close to a decade, at least.

Coming soon! Along with video and a full power point presentation.

It's not in wilderness. In fact it is never more than 500 yards from a municipal airport. It connects two heavily used FS built trail networks themselves bordered by subdivision and the airport. It is a very well established, obviously sustainable 12" - 14", naturally occurring trail which clearly posed absolutely no threat to any ecologically or archeologically sensitive sites. There is a FS built loop trail encircling the airport itself, so proximity to this facility is not a factor. The trail has never been signed as off limits to any user. It is used by hikers, runners, bikers, and animals. It is unique in it offerings, and forms a critical connector between major trail networks. It has been listed in guide books for years.

There are, at the least, hundreds and hundreds of miles of trail in Sedona. Only relatively few have been designated legal or not. This well established trail exhibited absolutely NONE of the characteristics which would qualify it as undesirable or illegal in any way! In sum, there is nothing about this trail that would warrant an illegal status.

Yes, this has been considered by other parties for other trail issue in Sedona. Appearently they actually piqued the interest of folks Albuquerque quite a bit last time. Again, THIS issue was just created in the past few days, and just discovered last night.

No way. The USFS admitted recently in meetings that they do not have the funds for such investigations. It was even implied that if we want to keep our trails open, we, the public, would have to come up with financing for these studies! I was not at these meetings, but a group of us spoke at length last with a representative who is tightly woven into the FS on this very issue.

Who said I was an activist? I'm a trail user friend. A tax paying, business owning, community supporting trail user who is pissed that my long time local trails are being destroyed for appearently no valid reason!

Ah, I believe that's a NEW moniker, coined a few years ago after the split with Beaver Creek or something to that effect. I was active in this field many years ago, when it was called the Sedona Ranger District. Pardon me for not keeping up with the who's who - again, I am not an activist and have not been involved in land mangement politics for a long time.

The USFS has admitted that the last major trail destruction was done largely to make a point! They also said that they will keep doing it. Seems pretty clear that this is going on, eh?!

What I'm hoping to accomplish with letter writing is to two fold: one, to actually find out what what's going on, because the local district obviously does not want to be at all accountable to the public!

The second reason for contacting higher ups is to alert them to these questionable activities and to the public's disapproval of them! In the past month, lower level reps visiting from other FS districts (NM) have expressed concern and contrary opinions to what's going on here! Did you miss this? I want the Supers to ask the district rangers WHY? Is this justified? Have you researched the impact this will have on the public, and is it worth taking it from them? I want the local District rangers under greater scrutiny, held to a much higher level of accountability.

See above.

Been done. Is being done again now. Seems to be a dead end with the local personalities. Indeed, it seems the very seed of this problem may be woven into the fabric of that particular office.

Great info. Thanks!

Agreed! Again, realize that my original post was written only minutes after returning from the trail Friday night. I was going to look it up and post it today. Thanks for posting it!
Wow that's a long post....I have ridden pretty much every trail in sedona, the only one i know of some work being done is the end of Llama and the begining of Cathedral trail....nothing too terrible. There are plenty of trails in Sedona where you won't find any riders or hickers, you just have to be able to ride them....lol
I do not see the BIG deal.
It's not like here and Otero canyon where we can be arrested if we go past the sign (this is what the park ranger told me....)

:D
 

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Ummm... isn't Sedona in Arizona?

Wrong board

I actually know some of the top USFS guys in northern Arizona. I actually went MTB'ing in Sedona with one of them a couple years ago.

Chances are, this is not a legal trail. The USFS has responsibility for the legal trails, and has a responsibility to get rid of illegal trails. It's a preservation and liability issue.

I'd give the forest service a call and get some actual info before putting uninformed rants and baseless rumors up in a public forum.
 
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