Saturday was a beautiful day here in Flagstaff and a great one to start off the summer trail building season with Flagstaff Biking Organization. Saturday’s event included support from the US Forest Service, American Conservation Experience, Absolute Bikes, Run Flagstaff, Fratelli’s Pizza, and Kickstand Kafe. With all of that community support, it’s no surprise that there was a great turnout.
The crowd on Saturday seemed like a cross section of the active involved folks of Flag. There were families with kids from age six to sixteen, young men that live for adrenaline and are part of the Gravity Riders group, couples who were enjoying a chance to work side by side, and older adults who showed the rest of us what hard work really looked like. On their website, FBO encourages people of all ages and ability levels to come out to a work day. The FBO rep (pictured below) reinforced this message by letting us all know at the beginning that shovel leaning was acceptable. He said that some people come out every month just to lean on their shovels and chat and that that is perfectly ok. Trail work days are as much about building the community as they are about building the trails.
I was really impressed how FBO took the lead in organizing the event, but then asked the volunteers who came to step up and form small groups with an experienced trail builder leading each team. Jay and I each had the opportunity to lead a small team, though as the day carried on and all of the volunteers got familiar with the techniques we all just spread out and worked where we were needed. With so many volunteers, the line of trail builders stretched out over at least a quarter mile. In all we probably completed over a half of a mile of brand new trail.
The trail we were building is an important connector segment of the Flagstaff Loop Trail. Once complete, the Flagstaff Loop Trail will be a 42 mile route that circumnavigates Flagstaff. It will provide connections and access to many other important trails in the area, including the Arizona Trail, Forest Service singletrack on Mt Elden and Campbell Mesa singletrack. Where we were working, the trail follows US Forest Service land, but in all it crosses many different boundaries, covering land owned by the City, County, US Forest Service, and even ADOT. There are great maps showing the proposed trail and how it connects the city.
FBO has planned trail work days every month from now until October and almost every month we will be working on the Flagstaff Loop Trail. If the attendance at trail days can stay at this level or grow, we should make very significant progress on the trail this year.
The next trail day is scheduled for National Trails Day (June 2nd) and we will be working on the Loop Trail near Ft Tuthill. The National Trails Day event is sponsored by REI, Absolute Bikes, and Specialized and is sure to be a big and fun event. I hope to see you out there!
If you want to see all of the photos from Saturday, check out this online album.