Project Purpose

The purpose of the Flagstaff Trails Initiative is to develop and implement a collaborative, cross-jurisdictional strategy for recreational trails in the Flagstaff region. This effort seeks to improve the quality, connectivity and community support for a sustainable trail system that balances the demand for recreation with the community’s vision for conservation, development, and health.

Preliminary Project Goals

Draft Goals and Strategies (revised May 2019)

The goals and strategies of FTI were informed directly from public participation and the viewpoint of the diverse organizations on the core team. They build on existing plans for the Flagstaff region including the Coconino County Comprehensive PlanFlagstaff Regional Plan 2030 and Draft Coconino National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan.

Overall Goal: Elevate Flagstaff’s trail system good to extraordinary

Strategies

  • Use the Flagstaff Regional Trail Strategy to consolidate trail plans, proposals and concepts into a single regional document and conceptual map
  • Prioritize a set of shared actions and investments for the next 5 years
  • Take a collaborative and integrative approach to trail development – “Plan+Build=Balance”

Goal A: Improve trail quality and sustainability

Strategies

  • Ensure that sustainable trail planning and building techniques are applied to all trail projects
  • Prioritize maintenance efforts based on known backlogs or up-to-date inventories, increasing the percentage of trails in the system identified as in good condition
  • Re-route, decommission (restore) or replace unsustainable trails

Goal B: Address the current and future demand for non-motorized and motorized trail activities

Strategies

  • Develop an inclusive, user-friendly trail system that provides valued experiences for multiple uses and varying skill levels
  • Identify the areas or trail systems most in need of site-specific planning, setting a target of X completed plans in the next X years [target tbd]
  • Address unauthorized trails through closure and restoration, replacement or adoption
  • Ensure that the trail system adequately addresses current and future needs in order to minimize the potential for ongoing unauthorized trail creation
  • Provide a range of trail experiences through trail modification or development and address gaps in the current system:
    • mobility-impaired/accessible
    • primitive route finding trails (hiker only)
    • downhill or flow mountain biking trails
    • motorized singletrack

Goal C: Create a safe and fun environment for trail users

Strategies

  • Launch a new trail user etiquette campaign to promote awareness of “share the trail” principles and low impact recreation behavior
  • Improve visitor information and wayfinding by adopting shared or complimentary sign standards between trail providers
  • Enhance the user experience, minimize conflict, and address overcrowding by considering adaptive management strategies such as dispersal and segregation of uses, alternating days for various users and trail directionality, where appropriate

Goal D: Balance trail development and management with community conservation and natural resource goals with an emphasis on restoration

Strategies

  • Focus unauthorized trail closure and restoration efforts in the areas with the highest resource and cultural sensitivity, setting a target of X miles restored in this next X years [target tbd]
  • Evaluate the use of site-specific and limited seasonal closures to reduce wildlife disturbance and/or soil erosion
  • Use new trail development and trail information to disperse heavy recreation use from areas of high resource sensitivity to areas of lower resource sensitivity

Goal E: Educate, inform and involve the community in trail stewardship;

Strategies

  • Increase the number of trail and recreation-related educational programs to reach all members of the Flagstaff community
  • Increase the number of trail volunteers and hours contributed to trail stewardship
  • Launch the Flagstaff Trail Academy, a new trail skills training program to cultivate and support a cadre of dedicated trail stewards able to work across systems and jurisdictions
  • Elevate understanding of trail opportunities, issues and accomplishments among local leaders, stakeholders, policymakers and elected officials
  • Build the next generation of youth stewards

Goal F: Improve the financial sustainability of trail management throughout the Flagstaff area;

Strategies

  • Create a new Flagstaff Trail Fund to collect and distribute funds – utilize the Arizona Community Foundation of Flagstaff as an interim fiscal agent while transitioning to a new 501(c)(3) non-profit organization
  • Cultivate new sources of funding and in-kind resources for trail maintenance, education, planning, and development
  • Establish a partnership mechanism that allows agencies and organizations to share funding, personnel and other resources
  • Actively seek out opportunities for trail providers to pool investment, such as a shared Flagstaff Trails Corps
  • Develop a trail system that is within the capacity of the community and providers to manage

Goal G: Improve connectivity between Flagstaff and the Flagstaff Urban Trails System (FUTS), regional open space and outlying Coconino County communities;

Strategies

  • Complete the Flagstaff Loop Trail
  • Connect the regional trail system [sample list that will be informed by trail planning]
    • Inner Basin to Bear Jaw/Abineau
    • To outlying communities such as Doney Park, Kachina Village, Mountainaire and Belmont
    • Arizona Trail to Loop Trail by Walnut Canyon
    • West Flagstaff across the interstate
    • From/to regional open space: Fort Tuthill, Rogers Lake, Walnut Canyon, Picture Canyon, Sunset Crater, Observatory Mesa, McMillan Mesa/Buffalo Park, Kelly to points south
  • Implement needed enhancements to existing trail hubs, staging areas and less formal public access points around the perimeter of Flagstaff and other communities
  • Prevent loss of public access by pursuing legal access to 5 of the most important, legally unsecured trail access points

Goal H: Integrate trail planning and management with tourism and economic goals;

Strategies

  • Encourage suitable locations, or construct new ones, for trail events
  • Develop, enhance and promote certain trails within the system as destination trails for visitors
  • Increase the engagement of local businesses and the Convention and Visitors Bureau in trail promotion and management
  • Leverage marketing efforts to educate visiting trail users on low impact and safe recreation practices