Print 20 years later, trailhead finally opens
Written by Mark Lineberger   
Friday, 02 March 2012 00:00

It’s been at least 20 years since someone first tried to get the ball rolling.

Dozens of people gathered Feb. 22 beneath the noonday sun to officially recognize the brand new trailhead at Copper Canyon.

What had only been a field of rocks and desert scrub nestled a bit off of Oasis Drive months earlier has been transformed into a modern trailhead, complete with rest rooms, grills and picnic tables in the shade.

Camp Verde Mayor Bob Burnside, right, shocks Lynn Reddell, the earliest of the Copper Canyon Trailhead  visionaries, with a plaque honoring her commitment to the endeavor during a recognition ceremony Feb. 22, an event which had the feel of a reunion of old friends. The trailhead has been in the works since 1997.It’s been a long time coming.

Lynn Reddell, a longtime supporter of local trails, came up with the idea in the early 1990s. In 1997 she worked with then-Verde District Ranger Tom Bonomo with the U.S. Forest Service to further develop a plan.

It would be almost a decade later that the Town of Camp Verde received a grant of nearly $180,000 to construct the new facilities.

The project was recently prioritized, and thanks to a flurry of volunteer efforts and in-kind donations of equipment and materials, the project was under way and completed in a matter of months.

Mayor Bob Burnside, who took a special interest in this project to see it through, said that the donations amounted to around $31,000 in value.

At last week’s ceremony, Reddell was temporarily rendered speechless when a plaque was unveiled dedicated to her efforts in making this a reality.

“There could be 200 people’s names on here,” Reddell said.

Indeed, much of the ceremony was dedicated to thanking a long list of people who contributed to the trailhead project in one way or another.

“Really we all played a part,” said former Camp Verde Councilman Ron Smith, who drove down from his home in Colorado for the ceremony. “But the one who pushed that boulder up the hill first was Lynn Reddell. Then a bunch of people pushed that boulder over the finish line.”

Smith also went on to name people and groups that helped out, including the Verde Valley Horsemen’s Council, which donated $1,000 for an informational display at the site.

“It shows the resolve of the people of Camp Verde,” Smith said.

Bob Baldwin, an off-highway vehicle program coordinator with Arizona State Parks, credited the federal gas tax and programs like the off-highway vehicle sticker and registration program, which made grant funding for projects like this one possible.

“People are beginning to realize the economic benefit of outdoor recreation,” Baldwin said. “People are going to bring money here, and they’re going to spend it here.”

The trailhead also includes an OHV loading ramp and parking for large vehicles and trailers.

The trailhead provides access to two trails with a combination of uses for hiking, off-roading or equestrian exploration.

“This is a great thing for our community,” Burnside said.