Tag Archives: Flagstaff Biking Organization

Last Trail Day of the Season for Flagstaff

Recently we had a chance to volunteer for the last day of trail work with Flagstaff Biking Organization this season.  Flagstaff is cooling off quickly and before long we will have snow.  On this particular Saturday however, it was wonderfully warm and the ground was soft from recent rains.  A perfect day for digging a new bench cut trail to try to finish out a missing link of the Flagstaff Loop Trail.

The segment we were building was just west of the Campbell Mesa area.  Even through we built more trail than expected that day, the loop remains broken and it will take some Forest Service or ACE crews working in the off season to keep the trail work going.  I can’t wait until the Flagstaff Loop Trail is complete!

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New Flagstaff Loop Trail

Jay and I are incredibly excited about the Flagstaff Loop Trail, a 42 mile circle of mostly singletrack surrounding Flagstaff.  Construction on the Loop Trail began in 2008 and Flagstaff Biking Organization hopes to fully connect the loop through trail construction this year.  We helped on one of the missing links this spring and really hope that the remaining missing links will be finished by the end of the year.

In the meantime, we are now able to make a small loop near our apartment on Lake Mary Road by connecting to a new Loop Trail segment behind the Pine Canyon gated community.  That segment heads across a mesa and then drops down towards Skunk Canyon.  At the moment most of the trail is unsigned so it is helpful to either study the Loop Trail map (see link above) or go with someone who knows the area.  The Loop Trail is designed to be between beginner and intermediate so it is the perfect practice area for me.

The first video shows where the new trail turns off of the Arizona Trail.  If you stayed straight it would head towards Fisher Point.

This video shows a representative sample of the trail.  Note the extremely dry conditions.  The trail should improve when we’ve had some more rain.

First Trail Building Day of the Season

Trail building mascot

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.

FBO’s Trail Ambassador Program

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Sean talks to a trail runner who is reporting evidence of a large campfire near a main trail

Today I had the opportunity to attend Trail Ambassador Training with Kip Moyer, Flagstaff Biking Organization’s Trail Ambassador Program Coordinator, and Sean Murphy, Trails and Wilderness Coordinator for the Flagstaff Ranger District.  The Trail Ambassador Program is a volunteer effort to train and support responsible trail users in promoting responsible trail use.  As a Trail Ambassador, I would put on a special volunteer jersey that identifies me as a trail ambassador, and then go out for my normal ride being friendly and available.  Trail Ambassadors help users by answering questions, assisting with basic bike maintenance, and calling for help if necessary.  They also help the Ranger District by noting any maintenance issues or potential violations and reporting those.

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Trail Ambassadors out of uniform

This Trail Ambassador program is very similar to IMBA’s Mountain Bike Patrol (which has 50 patrol groups around the country), except that in the Flagstaff Ranger District it is a collaborative effort by different user types (hikers and bikers and soon trail runners).  Since all of the trails are multi-use it is great to have all trail users involved as ambassadors.   Having a visible volunteer ambassador presence will hopefully prevent user conflict and improve the response time for trail maintenance concerns.  I look forward to getting involved with this unique opportunity.