Sedrama - Growing Pains in Sedona

May 8, 2013
by Lee Lau  
Pinkbike has featured a bunch of stories about Sedona lately. There have been road trips, manufacturer and product trips & photo trips all of which had a common theme --- jawdropping scenery, gorgeous technical trails and beautiful sunny saturated colours. All guaranteed to make riders tired of winter drop everything and come to Sedona to ride their bikes.

Unfortunately no trail networks are without growing pains. It's important to note that Sedona's trail network is still alive and well. However, recently some key trails have been closed. There's no reason to think that more trails won't be in jeopardy. Trail advocates have been working with land managers to come up with solutions. Although the situation is in flux here's a snapshot of the current situation.

Video of Tomahawk - one trail closed by the Forest Service. Ironically a trail featured in many magazine articles before its closure and one that sadly, I never got a chance to ride

The Forest Service trail closure order

On March 21, 2013 the Red Rock Ranger District of the Coconino National Forest (I'll call them the FS or Forest Service to keep it simple) formalized an order that had been rumoured to be in the works for quite some time. On its face, the order can not be considered good for mountain biking. It prohibits riding on "unauthorized and unplanned" trails and restricts riders from "cross-country travel" - code words for limiting trail access. To mollify users, the order cites the more than 170 miles of official trails that remain open. The order also cites discussion and involvement of the Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition ("VVCC") and the International Mountain Bike Association ("IMBA") as local and national bike advocates in helping to mitigate trail closures.

The Forest Service Press release is phrased as a stand-still; a temporary restriction pending public consultation. The actual order (this is the key document, the PR is just fluff) makes it illegal to ride a bicycle in enumerated "restricted areas" (more on what trails are affected later). The order is in place until May 1, 2015. People who violate the order are deemed to commit a misdemeanor (this is a minor offense; less than a felony) punishable by a fine of no more than US $ 5,000 or 6 months of jail.

Photo by Luca Marinelli - used with permission

The Sedona Mountain Bike Club Petition

The Forest Service trail closure order failed to impress at least one key stakeholder who started a petition. The Sedona Mountain Bike Club petition is dated March 8, 2013 so it does not reference the actual FS trail closure order which was only publicly released 13 days later.

The petition's authors (petition text here) make no bones about their feelings towards the FS trail closure order. The main beef the SMBC has with the Forest Service is something that was quite pointedly neglected in the Forest Service pronouncement. Namely that there are a substantial number of hiking and equestrian trails that were also non-sanctioned and not built under appropriate approval processes. The FS acknowledges the existence of the unsanctioned hiking and equestrian trails but it is only the bike trails that are being targeted for closure.

I took the opportunity to speak to Dave C of the SMBC. He had this to add as background. The SMBC was formed about a year ago as an IMBA affiliated chapter club to focus on Sedona-related issues. The SMBC took the stance that they did because they wanted to point out the unfairness and discriminatory nature of the FS's position (see the SMBC's announcement re the trail closure here). The SMBC maintains that it remains committed to working with the Forest Service through the public process.

Photo by Luca Marinelli - used with permission

IMBA's answer

What's confusing to outside observers is that on one hand we have the VVCC and on the other hand we have the SMBC. Two different advocacy groups one of which is identified in the Forest Service press release as being consulted on trail closures (VVCC) and another which feels strongly enough about the discriminatory nature of the trail closures to have started a petition (SMBC). I talked to Lars R. of the VVCC to try to help understand the reasons for the different stances and to learn more about the VVCC.

The Verde Valley Cycling Coalition is older than the SMBC and since 2003 has been a cycling advocacy group targeting a wider geographic area than just the Sedona area. The VVCC has had meetings with the FS office and has been actively cooperating with the forest service officer responsible for Sedona trails. The VVCC's stance is that while they also do not agree with the discriminatory nature of the order they prefer to work with the Forest Service and accent the ongoing positive work. Accordingly they are electing to cooperate rather than condemn the Forest Service's order singling out biking trails.

IMBA has not been shy on the advocacy front when addressing Forest Service trail closures in the past (for example see this PR in re the Continental Divide trail closures backing the Montana Mountain Bike Alliance). However, IMBA has been quiescently passive on the Sedona front. In a Decline magazine article dated April 2013, Patrick Kell, IMBA's Regional director - South West representative pens the article "Sedona and the USFS" advocating a conciliatory cooperative tack singling out "rampant unregulated trailbuilding, mainly geared to advanced riders" as part of the problem.

This all sounds very well from a high-level perspective but digging a bit deeper I found a puzzling divide between IMBA and the SMBC; indeed a reluctance for IMBA even to acknowledge the SMBC. Firstly a statement from Mark Eller on behalf of IMBA distancing itself from the petition (when the only reference the petition makes to IMBA is to cite an IMBA study showing that erosion from hikers and equestrians is no more no less than erosion from bikers). Secondly there's many references from Patrick Kell disavowing SMBC's position and pushing for the same cooperation rather than condemnation tact followed by the VVCC (example here and in the statement below)

For the sake of allowing IMBA to have its say here's IMBA's full take on the Sedona situation in their own words without edits:

"IMBA does not agree with targeting just mountain bikers in this situation. In this case mountain bikers need to recognize that their unauthorized trailbuilding has become a significant issue for the Forest Service, we also see that other user groups are too creating non-system trails. 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 Forest Service an organized, reasonable alternative to a bunch of individuals building where they want, when they want, then we are likely to see these kind of responses — in fact, they may become more severe.

Regarding the SMBC petition, we see merit in the concept of petitions, and often use this tool. We would have been pleased to offer our input on this petition, had we been consulted. In it's current format, it does not provide a balanced view of the situation, as it does not acknowledge that 45 miles of non-system trails have recently been approved in the area, nor that other non-system trails are going through the review and approval process. We appreciate the work of the USFS in bringing these trails into the system and hope to work in the restricted areas soon to improve the current access and develop new access there."

Photo by Luca Marinelli - used with permission

So what the hell is going on here?

By this point one might well be excused for saying TL: DR and WTF? If you just want to ride your bikes on awesome desert trails, for the most part Sedona trails are alive and well. If you're interested in the nitty-gritty of the politics of trail advocacy read on.

So what is going on here? Be warned this is the interpretation and the opinion of an outsider coloured by many years of trailbuilding, trail advocacy and dealing with government agencies.

1. The unsanctioned trail builders pushed too hard

It goes something like this. The Forest Service's trail approval process moves at glacial pace. Local riders became increasingly impatient and dissatisfied with the FS's processes. Since approximately 2004 many trails have been added to the Sedona trail system; many of the advanced variety incorporating natural technical features (rock benches, step downs etc). These unsanctioned trails have become increasingly popular and the trailbuilders increasingly vocal and bold to the extent of printing maps, provocative Internet posts that villified the FS and popularizing the unsanctioned trail networks. Even more recently the number of unsanctioned trails mushroomed.

If it can be said (with poetic license) that the FS's (in)action and incapability to sanction trails or develop trail policy was a festering wound, that some of the unsanctioned trailbuilders poked that festering wound again and again and again. If the trailbuilders wanted a reaction, they got what they asked for and then some.

2. The US Forest Service had no idea what to do in the past. Hopefully they can come up with meaningful policy for the future

By their own admission, in the past, the FS in Sedona had been behind the times on mountain-biking having little idea of needs/access. The sanctioned trails were geared to hikers/equestrians. Mountain-bikers as the johnny-come-lately group were ignored and their needs for trails unattended. Essentially FS trails that were built in the past didn't satisfy users so users built their own trails.

We come now to the present. The FS is looking for a solution and closes down a fair chunk of the trail system (some locals have estimated up to 25% of known trails would be lost). There is an undercurrent of mistrust among some local bikers and the Forest Service . When one hears that the FS invited bikers to a planning meeting on March 21, 2013 the ostensible purpose of which was to discuss mutually beneficial cooperation and possible trail closures and then, the very same day, announced trail closures, it is not too hard to understand the communities' disappointment and suspicion that the Forest Service was paying lip service to the theme of public consultation and already had made a decision to close trails.

There is still question about the impact of the closure of the unsanctioned trails. These trails appear to be the bulk of the advanced Sedona trails. Trails which are closed and which may be deactivated (the FS deactivates by falling trees and placing rocks on to trails) include Special Ed, Pyramid, Under the Radar, Bike Path, Under under the Radar, Sketch, Transept, Windsurfer, Stay High & Cakewalk). Trails that have been deactivated and now do not exist include Damifino, Damned if I do, Killer Bee, Brew Pub and Tomahawk.

Having said that, not all is bad. Well-known unsanctioned trails such as Hangover, Chuckwagon, Mescale and Highline (over 45 miles) have been adopted into the sanctioned system. The Forest Service responded to lobbying efforts of the VVCC and IMBA and brought trails such as Western Civilization and Last Frontier out of the "closed" category and back to the light of day. Subject to botanical and archaeological studies "no-mans land" trails not adopted into the sanctioned trail network might become sanctioned (Hogs Heaven, High on the Hog)

So it seems that maybe the Forest Service of the here and now was unfairly tarred with the brush of the Forest Service of the past. There is hope that the Forest Service will get with the times and respond to the needs of a growing recreational community. But to get to that point we turn now to the question of who is the community?

3. Can we get our acts together guys?

To say that the mountain bike advocacy situation in Sedona is confusing is an understatement. The Forest Service almost certainly just wants to speak to one group who can speak for mountain bikers. IMBA and the VVCC don't seem to trust the SMBC and the feeling is reciprocated.

This situation is not workable. Who does the VVCC represent? Everyone but pissed off builders of unsanctioned trails? Who does the SMBC represent? Builders and riders of unsanctioned trails? I'm just guessing here and an outsider at best. The bottom line is that the mountain bike community has to be on the same page if they are to be heard and from this outsiders point of view, that ain't the case.


Times have definitely changed. In 2010 we optimistically said "...unlike in Moab where riders are currently being ticketed by the BLM for riding new trails, trail builders are working with the Forest Service in Sedona to have the network adopted." Since then Moab riders and local government have opened miles and miles of singletrack and brought many non-sanctioned trails into the light of day. Moab riders (INCLUDING sanctioned and unsanctioned trailbuilders) have been brought into the fold. Moab agencies conducted comprehensive studies and conducted meaningful processes to get buy-in from the riding community.

On the other hand in Sedona, the situation is in flux (hopefully this is just a hiccup as Lars R of the VVCC says). The Forest Service is trying to figure out a gameplan and appears to be, finally, trying to make sense of the mountainbiking communities needs/wants. The mountainbiking community is trying to figure out how to respond and how to speak with a unified voice.

What can a rider do? First and foremost, there are still a lot of trails in Sedona to ride. You can continue to visit and enjoy Sedona trails (twist our rubber arms!). You can continue to patronize local Sedona businesses.

You can also comment in this article to indicate your willingness and interest in riding Sedona trails (please do so politely!). As a sidenote it is my experience that government organizations are interested in feedback. In particular feedback from people from all walks of life and from all over the world are very interesting. Again --- please be polite!

You can also provide comments to the Coconino National Forest Service Office which is responsible for the planning and enforcement processes as they relate to Sedona trails. You can comment by email ( or by web-page. Their contact page is here. If you agree that mountainbikers are being discriminated and singled-out as a user group by the Forest Service order you can also sign the SMBC petiton.

Good luck to Sedona bikers. Sedona's a great place to visit. We're all pulling for you!


  • 16 0
 I watched this unfold over the past few months and being a parks and rec major from NAU I followed this issue closely. What is interesting is that the USFS has really been doing a good job working with local groups to adopt some very technical trails. They have also had to deal with some very aggressive trail builders, even banning one from the forest last year. Some local groups have not been very tactful and have caused these quick reactions from the forest service. I have ridden almost all the trails that are in question and as a rider who loves Sedona for its amazing natural risky terrain I have no problem with the closure. The closure really is just enforcing rules that are already in place. The effected zones did not affect my riding choices there this past winter. I simply road one of the many awesome adopted trails. Sedona, Prescott and Flagstaff trail systems are growing rapidly. The land managers are trying to keep up and from the advocacy groups that I participate in I feel the the land managers are working very well with us.
  • 9 0
 I went on a bike trip there this past November with five of my buddies. We rented a big house, went out to dinner, bought oodles of beer, and dropped lots of coin at the local bikes shops. The amenities, the scenery and especially the riding were world class. I've been to the french Alps, Chile, Moab and BC to ride my bike, and I will definitely go back to Sedona. I would like the Forest Service to know that they are sitting on a gem, and the area can be developed responsibly and cater to a large cross section of riders. Please continue to work with your local riders to open more high quality, sustainable, fun trails. and thanks for what you have opened: Highline, Hangover, Mescal and chuckwagon are spectacular, keep em' comin'!
  • 9 1
 I went to college at NAU in Flagstaff and raced XC in the mid-90's. I rode Sedona often. Having gone back once or twice a year for the last five years, I'm amazed at the level of trailbuilding occurring there. It's awesome. It's also a lot busier than it was 15 or 20 years ago, for better or worse. The thing trailbuilders need to remember is that there are certain sensitive areas that should be avoided (biological, cultural, historical, etc). Those who think they can do whatever they want, whenever they want, on public land, are mistaken. I think the USFS needed to catch up with all the new trails and assess what is happening on the land they are responsible for managing for current and future generations. Work with them, educate them, and ask them what they need. This is a long-term sale... you are selling the agencies on the concept of recreational benefit and economic growth (tourism, etc). Throwing a tantrum like a spoiled 5-year-old won't get you very far. Cooperation and coordination will. I know that's not what you all want to hear, but don't kill the messenger!
  • 6 0
 As a rider born and raised in Northern Arizona, I have seen the trails in Sedona grow from jeep roads to what they are today. The biggest problem here is that the FS is unable from both a financial perspective and from a policy perspective to keep up with the changing demographic of trail users. The ability of mountain bikers has grown exponentially, and thus has the demand for technical trails. As a side note, Hiline, Hangover, etc. in no way push the envelope of today's riders, they are entertaining, but not exactly challenging. Part of this policy problem is the dictate that all trails must be multi-user. By closing trails to bikers, that policy is already invalidated, and therefore, by reversing that logic, bikers should be able to have purpose built trails. Up in Flagstaff, this is in the works. But back to the main issue. The only reason that bikers have many trails today is because of illegal trail building. To think that suddenly the FS is going to step up it's game and serve the needs of the biking community in a timely fashion is naive. Trails will continue to be built, because bikers will continue to grow in ability and numbers. Speaking for myself, while knowing that my kids might have some challenging trails to ride is a good thought, I would like some challenging, legal trails to ride while I am still physically able, not 5-15 years from now. The only reason that social trails arise is that the trail system is not serving the needs of the users, and like Prohibition, using the law as a hammer will not solve the problem.
  • 3 0
 It doesn't help that the Sierra Club, horseback riders and hikers actively work to limit biker land access when they could be working together to the benefit of everyone.
  • 9 4
 We had a similar closure of a zone last year where I live. I despise the DNR, BLM, & USFS; these gov agencies have their heads so far up one anothers asses they can't do a damn thing right. Unfortunately it's going to take years for things to change. You have support from all corners of the states, keep up the fight.
  • 5 0
 I was in Sedona this weekend for the the singletrack celebration. the FS was there, even talked with the main trail manager for the ranger district. Everything seemed fine, she's definitely a MTB rider, too (we discussed 650b vs 26, since i had just got back from a demo ride on a 650b.)

Hearing that there is such animosity seems surreal after my experience, but I hope it can all get worked out. This was my first time in Sedona, but after riding just a small chunk of the trails, we're talking about making several trips up there throughout the rest of the year, cause the riding was awesome.
  • 5 1
 Great Article Lee! Finally, Pinkbike has posted up. The "Tomahawk" video above makes me sad. Thankfully, I did get to ride it a few times. Such a great trail!!! Indeed, it was the first trail that the USFS closed. It remains open to hikers, even though the USFS sites erosion and the fact that it's in a "AZ cypress study area" as reason for the closure to mountain bikers. The "AZ Cypress Study Area" was created in the 80's. However, they have never done a "study" of the area! Just another one of the many excuses that the USFS uses to limit access. I hiked the trail after the closure, and it doesn't make sense the way they create much more erosion by pulling tons of dirt down the slope and uprooting huge boulders. "Tomahawk" was definitely an expert level trail that probably received limited use due to the gnarly nature of it, it's remoteness compared to other popular trails in Sedona, it was best done as a shuttle, and it required a 30foot scramble to start( creek crossing to end). The hiker clubs around Sedona are stoked to have the place to themselves!
  • 5 2
 Where i live I'm always looking over my shoulder extra careful not to get caught riding and pessimistically I dont see this changing anytime soon. For me its either fire roads or illegal for anything decent and bikers aren't going to just stop riding...
  • 3 0
 I would like to thank Lee for writing a thoughtful article.

If one looks at the history of Sedona mountain biking you will find that mountain bikers created the large majority of popular mountain biking trails. For the most part the mountain biking community has never relied on the FS to help with the building of new trails. In the last two years the FS has taken credit for building about 3-4 miles of new multi-use trails and adopting 36 miles of existing user built trails originally built by the mountain biking community.

If one were to write a documentary on how Sedona got to it’s current point it would be an interesting story to say the least. There has been a huge amount of effort by the mountain biking community to get us to our current status. In the recent years the FS has expended a lot of effort for the mountain biking community and Jennifer Burns a mountain biker should be credited for much of that progress to get trails adopted into a system status. Without her help there would be 36 miles of trails without signs on them.
  • 4 2
 There needs to be a balance between conservation and civil liberty, however I am sick and tired of bureaucrats telling me what I can and cannot do at what feels like the microscopic level. It's OUR land and we should have more of a say in how it's used. In Utah the federal gov't controls approximately 70% of our land, and that is criminal to me!
  • 3 2
 Why do so many people feel this way about "government land"? Government land IS our land! If it were in the hands of private landowners do you think you'd have a say in how that land was managed and would you be able to recreate on it? Hell no. Much of it would be crawling with jeep roads and mining operations. I want the government to protect and preserve the land for all citizens, not just the few, so we mountain bikers and backcountry enthusiasts need to be reasonable with our own selfish demands.

Thanks Pre4Runner- you sound like a balanced voice of reason and you actually live and play in the Sedona region. Its possible to work within the system to get things done. Hopefully the bad apples don't spoil it for the rest of us.
  • 2 3
 Nowhere in my response did I mention it being anything other than OUR land, or that I'd prefer it be private land. There is much more here than simple and straightforward public land use is highly political. That you drifted off topic to what was discussed is evidence of your bias, which appears to be a very pro-socialism. You saw "evil capitalism" where none existed. The point of my post was that we' have very little say in the use of our lands, the custodians and caretakers, aka the BLM, USFS, etc., have become somewhat tyrannical while "protecting and preserving" the land. Gov't officials are SUPPOSED to work for all of us, and mirror our values, needs, desires as opposed to basically telling the public who pay their wages that they know better than we do and we're not capable of managing ourselves or the land. You're exactly right about bad apples ruining it for all of us, but to quote Ben Franklin "He who would give up liberty for security deserves neither liberty nor security." Our freedoms are being eroded at an accelerated rate as gov't bureaucracies spring up and/or grow in response to "bad appoles"...Patriot Act, FEMA, Homeland Security, and so on.
  • 2 0
 The problem, if it is one, is that biking is getting more popular, bikes are improving, and we need gnarlier stuff to ride. I think if the FS approved double black trails (need a plan and well built features), then there wouldn't be a serious problem, as the story noted most rogue trails are advanced (see recent opening of advanced trail in Moab). I personally love the craziest shit rideable and have a hard time keeping everything sterilized and sanitized.
  • 1 0
 Ride captin ahab before you talk about how advanced it is. Great flowy trail and very happy to have ridden it and greatfull to everyone that helped make it. But to lable it double black is misleading
  • 1 0
 I'm not saying how advanced it is at all (haven't ridden it), just the fact that more technical trails are craved by more and more riders.
If you want technical "double blacks" come visit the PNW. No problem with "not gnarly enough" up here ; )
Too bad about Sedona....I love that place......
  • 1 0
 I've ridden Ahab 4 or 5 times. Super cool trail! I'm stoked on what Moab has to offer. Especially, after having ridden "Bull Run" to "Gold Bar Rim" to "Portal". Kicked my butt! I agree that Ahab is not Double Black. It may have some single black lines on it.

There are some double black lines in Sedona for sure. Think "Hangover", "Hogs", and "Hiline". Same for me. Gnarlier, the better! A great example of tech/gnar in the Southwest is Grand Junction's "Lunch Loops"! The USFS would much rather have IMBA-type trails become the only type of trails on FS land.
  • 3 1
 The USFS has been very disingenuous throughout the whole process in Sedona regarding the trails planning process and recent closures. According to their own rules, they were suppose to have a public comment period prior to issuing a ban. They were able to get around their own rules requiring a public comment period by calling it "an emergency closure"! The USFS can just make up sh*t as they go along to suit their personal agenda. I spoke face-to-face with the USFS ranger responsible for the closures, and she admitted that they were discriminating against mountain bikers. And she was OK with that!!! The trail "Special Ed" is/was one of the best constructed trails I have had the pleasure to ride. It was closed by the USFS with an excuse of it being in an "archaeologically sensitive" area. This is just another excuse the USFS uses to close trails to suit their personal agenda.
  • 3 2
 So your Indiana Jones now? How do you know if an area is an archaeological site? Let people do thier jobs.
  • 2 1
 Fuglio Can I say sycophant.
  • 3 0
 The problem is that the USFS is NOT doing their job!!! They have NOT done an archaeological study of the area! It's just an excuse to close trail that's been enjoyed by hikers and mtn bikers. Many years ago, people drove their jeeps up there, and the area was used for movie scenes. If you're a trail builder that's not on the "good ole' boy list" then, your trail gets the proverbial axe!
  • 2 0
 It's a two way street, at a certain point everyone needs to get together and work it out.

Pointing fingers isn't going to solve anything, but hard handed tactics from the land managers isn't the best approach. To them it's a job,to the builders/riders it's a passion. Guess who will win....
  • 7 5
 sounds like parks Canada's tactics brought on by an inability to act or even understand. close everything then say no until there is a split. then divide an conquer. typical gov't beaurocratic bs
  • 1 0
 I've lived in Sedona for the last 10 years, and riding for most of it. I really think that in the last 2 years, the amount of trails and quality of legitimate trails in Sedona has skyrocketed. Sure, there's a permanent closure on a couple of trails, and a temporary closure on others while the FS figures out just what to do, BUT a lot of the social trails (illegally built) have been adopted or are being considered for adoption. The FS could have chosen to close down and destroy EVERY illegally built trail.

I still think that I have it pretty damn good here. I can still snake my way around and through Sedona/VOC and connect more trails than I can ride in a day without much more than crossing pavement. Check out the BFL- a 50+ mile ride that requires about a mile of pavement and the rest is single-track. Not only is there a ton of great trails to ride, the FS is considering building more trails as I type this. We've got it good.

I don't know if the SMBC vs VVCC argument will ever cease, even though many wish it would. To some, it seems as though as the SMBC is fighting the FS every step of the way, slowing the processes down. To others, the VVCC is working too closely with the FS, giving them more than they are willing to return. It's the classic Democrat vs Republican, Right vs Left, Liberal vs Conservative BS...
  • 2 0
 More like fire road riders against gnarly trail riders. We have all mountain biker built trails here in BC. Many of the trails are safe to ride but not so safe to hike. Just saying. I was in Sedona twice in 2011 and 2012 and any of the main FS sanctioned trails are boring. This is nothing more than bureaucratic heavy handed behavior. They can't build trails. they can't afford to maintain trails. They should not be in the mountain bike trail business
  • 5 5
 All this FS stuff would drive me insane. National parks aside, I'm glad there are endless places to build and ride here without this nonsense. I'm with brandonj1979. I want to go into the US and build trail just as a big f#*k you to the FS. What a waste of money and government resources.
  • 2 0
 Well-written and unbiased. Hopefully, at some point, we'll all see the bottom's as simple as being able to ride our bikes w/a smile. :-)
  • 3 0
 Avoid the politics and keep your secret trails secret! No maps, no directions, no youtube. Derr
  • 1 1
 Thanks for the well-researched and unbiased report, Lee. Sedona is indeed a magical place with many, many miles of incredible trails. I did get to ride Tomahawk last December and it was a truly great trail. So sad to see it gone. However, I do have to give the mountain biking community and the land managers credit for working together as well as they have in creating and adopting several other great trails in the area. I hope they can continue to work together in an open and constructive manner to create even more interesting and challenging miles of singletrack in the future.
  • 3 0
 Krob- Can you tell me which great new trail the mouintain biking community has created working with the FS? They have done some re-routes, but I haven't seen any new trails that they have created. When I asked Jennifer about the new trails at the Yavapai Point parking area she told me those were FS built trails. I wanted to give the mountain biking community create for them, but she said they were FS trails. As in my previous comment, I stated that my hope is that the new generation of builders will come up with some iconic new trails. The building of such NEW trails (like a Captain Ahab) will definitely show the FS is working with the mountain biking community. Also we have a bunch of great fun sustainable user built trails that would be nice to have adopted at some point.
  • 2 0
 third pic from the bottom that is what i call hugging the hill hoping you don't fall!
  • 1 0
 That pick is on one of the recently adopted trails called hangover, it is a gnarly system trail. The USFS has adopted many of the great trails and reworked some of them making them even better. High Line is a gret example of this.
  • 3 4
 I understand the need for better trails, more challenging options and more destinations, but that does not give anyone the right to do anything they want, wherever they want. It's this selfish, irresponsible sense of entitlement that give mountain bikers a bad rap.
  • 3 0
 You're missing a big part of what's happening here. The illegal trail builders in Sedona tried for many, many years to "work with" the USFS to be allowed to create "legal" trail. The USFS drags their feet, and/or does not respond at all to the need. Finally, out of shear frustration, those trail builders go out and build! The less trail, the less users, the less the USFS has to do, and that's the way they like it! If it wasn't for those "illegal trail builders", Sedona wouldn't have any good trail.
  • 1 1
 i love riding. i've ridden in utah, arizona, colorado, california, oregon and even in texas. and i'm always grateful for all the time and effort that people put into building and maintaining trails. if there's a fee to ride, i always pay. if i'm not allowed in a certain section, i respect it. why? because i want to continue to enjoy these trails, and i want others to be able to experience them in the future as well. it's a sad reality, but mountain biking will always have its detractors. but defiance won't help the cause. it's just not the answer. I don't agree with how the FS is dealing with the issue, but I'm not gonna go out there and do something that would aggravate them and make matters worse for the rest of us. because unfortunately, they're the ones who'll ultimately have the last word.
  • 4 0
 more cow bell please!
  • 8 10
 I'm sorry, but f*ck the BLM and USFS. I've never wanted to build an illegal trail so bad in my life. Why is it that responsible people doing responsible things get shit on? Hey US government go spend money on healthcare or getting homeless people a job, leave the MTB community alone.
  • 9 1
 Also... Don't F with BOC, don't try and remake "don't fear the reaper".
  • 7 7
 We can legalize marijuana (Washington & Colorado) but mounting biking is a crime? Something is wrong here...
  • 5 2
 Red Herring fallacy. Your arguments/feelings for/against MJ legalization are in no way applicable or related to this trails issue.
  • 4 0
 So now the first BIG question is: from our current point how many NEW miles of popular mountain bike/hiking trails will the FS allow to be built, and where will the funding come from to build those new trails at an estimated cost of $5 a foot? The second BIG question is of the 20 miles of trails affected by the cross country closure how many of those will ever be brought into a system status? Those trails would cost much less to bring into a system status since they already exist and have been ridden for years to show they if they are sustainable or should be decommissioned. But even though most are a good work product will the FS allow them to be adopted due to those trails being located in an area that has never been researched to see if there are arch sites there? Like most other trails in Sedona a number of those trails in the closure area have unbelievable Viewsheds which also makes it more difficult to adopt them.

Since it is being done in other parts of the country like Moab, many of the first generation Sedona passionate trail builders are now looking for the next generation builders (like Tyson Swasey) to show their stuff and get-er-done. It is their hope that the new generation will build a bunch of new trails like: Hangover, Chuckwagon, Catwalk, Tomahawk, Damifino, Chuck Wagon, Mescal, Killer Bee, Special Ed, Hog Heaven or Last Frontier so we can become believers in their exceptional relationship with the FS. What do think ra?
  • 7 7
 Cross the line and pay the price. Simple as that.
  • 4 2
 This is very true. The USFS was not ready to make the closure, it was only a thought before the petition came out. When the petition started to grow like a weed the USFS had to respond.
  • 5 0
 They reacted, they didn't respond.... Unfortunate difference.
  • 1 0
 Great Article Lee!
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