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Southwest Region Updates, April

Red Rock Ranger District—Updates on Sedona and Cottonwood, AZ

In Sedona, AZ, the US Forest Service (USFS) recently issued a Forest Order on several parcels of the Red Rocks Ranger District of the Cononino National Forest. The order does not close those parcels to mountain bikes; instead it restricts mountain bikes to the system-trails on those parcels.

IMBA does not agree with targeting just mountain bikers in this situation. We certainly appreciate that 45 miles of non-system trails have recently been approved by the USFS in Sedona and that other non-system trails are going through the review and approval process. In fact, construction began recently on a new trail in this district thanks to the USFS, the Verde Valley Cyclist Coalition and the Subaru-IMBA Trail Care Crew. This new trail is located adjacent to Dead Horse Ranch State Park in Cottonwood, AZ.

In the case of this recent restriction in Sedona, mountain bikers need to recognize that their unauthorized trail building has become a significant issue for the USFS. We also see that other user groups are creating non-system trails, too. Now that the Forest Order is in place, we seek to work with the USFS and local advocates to review the areas in question and offer suggestions for sustainable trail alignments.

If we can't offer the USFS an organized, reasonable alternative to a bunch of individuals building where they want, when they want, then we are likely to see these kinds of responses again — in fact, they may become more severe. We are thankful for the work of the USFS in bringing many trails into the system and hope to work in the restricted areas soon to improve the current access and develop new access there.

Flagstaff Bike Park and the IMBA Trail Building Fund

The Flagstaff Biking Organization (FBO) is moving ahead with the Fort Tuthill Bike Park design, and we are very excited to be partnering with them on this project! IMBA is co-funding this initial design phase through our Trail Building Fund, and will have staff on the ground working on the design in late April. There will be a public meeting held by FBO on Wednesday April 24 at 7:00 p.m. More information and a survey are available here. Please give your input and attend if you are available.

Partnership Building in Caliente, NV

Our partnership with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Nevada State Parks Department in Caliente, NV, continues to strengthen, and we expect to see more progress over the coming months. I’ll be in Caliente again on May 16 to meet with the city council and discuss ideas on securing funding to have a designer from IMBA Trail Solutions spend time on the ground developing a conceptual plan for a large-scale trail plan there.

I also recently visited Dead Horse Point State Park in Moab, UT, where there is an awesome beginner and intermediate mountain bike trail network that attracts thousands of visitors and gets many new riders on trails. This network, especially because it's in a state park, could be a great model to replicate in the parks around Caliente. We’ll keep passing information along as things progress.

IMBA 2013 Southern California Mountain Bike Summit

Details are coming together rapidly for the regional IMBA summit, which will be held at the town hall in Idyllwild, CA, May 31st – June 2nd. We’ll have workshops on trail planning and design, bike park development, grant writing, high-school mountain bike programs, and tactics for working with government departments. There will also be a barbeque, free schwag, group rides and mountain bike movies. Registration opens in the next couple of days, stay tuned and sign up early, as places will be limited.

Also in Idyllwild, IMBA will be working with the USFS in the May Valley area. We worked with the USFS here in late 2012 to map and inventory the existing trail system, and our work will commence in early summer 2013 with a Trail Specialist from our Trail Solutions program being on the ground reviewing those trails, making recommendations for new trails, and designing reroutes to help create a long-term sustainable system. We hope that our partnership here will position Idyllwild as a must-ride mountain bike destination for riders from throughout the southwest.

Provide Input on Forest Service Plans in SoCal

In Southern California, the Los Padres, Angeles, San Bernardino and Cleveland offices of the U.S. Forest Service have released a draft of their plans to manage their backcountry lands. This is an important step in an ongoing planning process. IMBA is currently working with our local chapters and clubs to provide input on the proposals and needs your input. Please let us know what you think of the proposed alternatives and any riding opportunities you think would be affected.

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Upcoming Events in the Southwest Region

  • Do you race? Are you headed to Prescott, AZ, for the Whiskey Off Road? This event, held April 26-28, will have 15, 25 and 50-mile race options, along with kids rides and several vendors set up in downtown Prescott. Come experience the 450 miles of trails in and around Prescott and check out the local bike shops, brewpubs, restaurants and bike-friendly community. The local chapter, the Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance, will have a booth at the event. Also, keep an eye on Mountain Flyer magazine in the coming months for an article about the Prescott Circle Trail.
  • On April 28, the Mount Wilson Bicycling Association will host a pancake breakfast in Henniger Flats in Altadena, CA. It's an annual fundraiser for trail advocacy efforts in the area. Come support this IMBA chapter and eat pancakes if you are in the area.
  • Check out the Sedona Singletrack Celebration May 3-5. Join group rides on the famous Sedona trails, including the legendary Highline and Hangover Trails. Expect to experience iconic singletrack and slickrock riding, led by knowledgeable local guides. There will also be vendors, bike demos and live music, set among the stunning red rocks of Sedona.
  • If you are in Idyllwild, CA May 4-5, check out the Spring Challenge, a really fun XC race up in the San Jacinto mountains, organized by Idyllwild Cycling, our local chapter up there.
  • Will you be near Orange County, CA, on May 18? If so, check out the SHARE-MTB Poker Ride at Santiago Oaks Regional Park. The event is the group's annual fundraiser, a great opportunity to ride some fun trails and support mountain biking in Orange County.

Ales and Trails: A Benefit for IMBA in NorCal

Don’t miss Ales and Trails on June 29, honoring IMBA’s 25th anniversary. The event, sponsored by Marin Bikes, will be at China Camp State Park. Ride on beautiful singletrack trails in the morning and relax with beer, live music, and a gourmet organic barbeque in the afternoon. Enjoy bike demos, skills clinics, free bike tune-ups, a skills zone, youth events and much more!

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USFS is a mixed bag in the Red Rocks for sure. They are singling out MTBers with hidden cameras while hikes & equestrians get a pass, and that is just Wrong. That said they have also incorporated the better social trails into their trail system. They also seem to be supportive of legal trail building.
If we could get that kind of cooperation here in the White Mtns, we could live with a little more scrutiny.