Trail Keeper Program Grows
AS SEEN IN THE RED ROCK NEWS
February 28, 2020
If our magnificent red rocks are the heart of Sedona, then the trails of the Red Rock Ranger (RRR) District are the arteries. Our friends at the RRR District work hard to keep more than 400 miles of trails clear and flowing freely, giving us unobstructed access to one of the world’s great natural wonders.
To pursue the metaphor a bit further, maintaining them and acting quickly when things go wrong is vital to Sedona’s wellbeing and quality of life.
It may surprise you to know that every year, federal budget allotments do not cover the District’s $400,000 cost to maintain safe, high-quality trails. So why aren’t our trails deteriorating, damaged and closed off?
Because Sedona cares.
Since 2016, Chamber businesses in the Trail Keepers program have committed $1,000 annually to help the District keep trails ready to handle one million annual visitors, including thousands of Sedonans. The Chamber matches each donation, doubling the impact. In partnership with the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund, donations help the District pay for essential seasonal maintenance crews.
Yesterday, we celebrated a milestone – fifty Sedona Chamber partners are now official Trail Keepers. Are any of your favorites among them? You can see the list at SedonaTrailKeepers.com.
Since it began, Trail Keepers has raised more than $170,000. Most recently, with the help of Amaryth Gass, a part-time employee garnered by a grant from the Red Rock Trail Fund, and support of our organization, we’ve increased to fifty partners, who will help generate more than $370,000 by 2021. Presently, the Trail Keepers are supporting the construction of the Western Gateway, the Bell Rock Trail Area Sustainability Initiatives and improving trails in the vicinity of Grasshopper Point/West Fork/Crescent Moon Ranch.
The rate of the program’s growth should make Sedonans proud. Just one year ago, our goal was to enroll 35 businesses as Trail Keepers. To have exceeded that number by 15 in such a short time shows how deeply Sedona businesses – most of them locally owned – appreciate the connection between environmental action and economic balance.
Just months ago, the World Bank Group recognized the Red Rock Ranger District for its use-permit philosophy requiring tour companies to demonstrate environmental commitment as well as a regional economic benefit. The result is tour companies that practice visitor education, trail repair and damage reporting.
The Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund is a volunteer coalition of hikers, bikers, equestrians and outdoor enthusiasts who believe our vital trail system requires public awareness and support. In partnership with the Fund, we started Trail Keepers to share that responsibility and directly support the District in addressing budget shortages. We look forward to expanding support even further.
The resounding success of the Trail Keepers program so far, and the sense of partnership it embodies, is another tribute to Sedona’s commitment to creating a sustainable future. That should inspire us all.
–Jennifer Wesselhoff, President/CEO