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Southwest Region Updates for May

Southwest Region Updates for May

By: Patrick Kell
Posted: May 20, 2016

Image: Trail work continues on the Rainbow Rim trail.

Forest Plan Revisions in New Mexico

IMBA and its New Mexico chapters are actively engaged in several Forest Plan revision efforts throughout the state, including those for the Santa Fe, Cibola, Carson, Lincoln and Gila National Forests. All USFS plan revisions are required by law to review the terrain for new or expanded Wilderness, and as many of you may know Wilderness designation is problematic for mountain bike access. We work with our local chapters on these matters in cooperation with the USFS and other advocacy groups in order to get the best possible outcome for mountain bikes. Each of these processes in New Mexico is at a different stage in what can be a multi-year process. For example, the Cibola and Carson National Forests are further along in the review of terrain that fits Wilderness criteria, whereas the Lincoln and Gila National Forests are at the very early stages. Look for updates on comment periods and deadlines on the IMBA Southwest Facebook page and encourage all riders to submit their thoughts. Access won’t happen unless we speak up and stand together.

Prescott, AZ, advanced rock armoring workshop

Did you see the blog from a few weeks ago on this session? It was a phenomenal weekend with two dozen of Arizona’s best trail builders from IMBA chapters, mountain bike clubs, the USFS, City of Prescott and a couple of youth conservation corps gathered to learn these advanced skills as taught by IMBA Trail Solutions staff, using the recently adopted Firewater Trail as the test site. The local chapter, Prescott Mountain Bike Alliance, recently held a follow-up volunteer work-day on the trail, in conjunction with a members BBQ, and we hope that the work will be completed soon and the trail opened in the next couple of weeks. We also hope to hold another advanced rock armoring session in 2017, and are seeking suggestions on where to do that. Maybe southern UT, northern New Mexico or Clark or Lincoln County in Nevada? Let me know if you have any input on the location:

Meetings throughout the region in June

June will see an extended road trip in the southwest region, starting with a follow-up meeting in Nogales, AZ, with 0S3 Movement to discuss trail planning close to the Mexican border; we’ll then attend a meeting with a potential funding partner in Sierra Vista, AZ, before heading to El Paso, TX, to meet with our chapter there, Borderland Mountain Bike Association. After El Paso we’ll head to Las Cruces, NM, for a meeting regarding the Organ Mountains National Monument before heading to Silver City, NM, to meet with staff from Gila National Forest to discuss their Forest Plan Revision process. The trip will then take us to Albuquerque to meet with the the BLM, before heading to Valles Caldera National Preserve to meet with National Park Service staff to discuss mountain bike access there. The trip will finish at Angel Fire Resort with a meeting with resort staff, and hopefully a few laps at their bike park. Stay tuned for updates and progress on many of these projects in southern AZ, west Texas and NM.

Rainbow Rim volunteer weekend

This year’s volunteer weekend will be held on Saturday June 18 and Sunday June 19, in partnership with the USFS North Kaibab Ranger District. As before, we’ll be based at Timp Point on the north rim of the Grand Canyon working on the extension of the trail which will eventually add 14 miles, bringing the total length to 36 miles. We built several miles in 2014 and 2015 in conjunction with the USFS and the Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC), and this year the AZCC will be out there again for several weeks, and with this volunteer weekend we hope to build trail through to a vital connecting point on a Forest Service access road. The USFS will provide tools and safety equipment along with lunch and dinner on the Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on the Sunday, all based near the camping at Timp Point. Please come along and help us extend this iconic trail right along the edge of the Grand Canyon. Keep an eye on the Facebook event page for this session.

— Patrick Kell is IMBA's Southwest Region Director. 


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