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USFS: Not OK to build trails
Written by Patrick Whitehurst   
Friday, 14 September 2012 00:00

Are illegal trails becoming more frequent in the Coconino National Forest?

A U.S. Forest Service employee walks along an illegally constructed trail in the heart of Sedona near Brewer Road. Tools used to construct the trail were found hidden alongside the roughly half-mile of new trail. Besides illegal trails created intentionally, other illegal trails include “socially created” trails that develop over time.According to Red Rock District Ranger Heather Provencio, it may not be a matter of frequency, but rather one of greater concern from the public.

“Certainly more has come to our attention. This sort of thing has gone on for a while,” Provencio said. “Law enforcement has done a fair amount of work on this. We’ve had two convictions recently for illegal trail builders. I would say this has been going on for the last decade.”

Besides illegal trails created intentionally, Provencio said other “socially created” trails develop over time, but they are still unauthorized.

“It’s a beautiful place for people to hike. We’ve got hundreds of miles of trails and wilderness area. People come here for that,” Provencio said. “Mountain bikers love the area for the same reason hikers do. They have some unique slick rock opportunities. We’ve had a lot of search and rescue from people who followed socially created trails. A lot of times they come off existing trails. They turn off onto one of these social trails and can get lost in a hurry. There are some safety concerns with that.”

For the full story, see the Wednesday, Sept. 12, edition of the Cottonwood Journal Extra or The Camp Verde Journal.


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