(Phoenix, AZ - May 14, 2009) - Every five years, the recreational trails staff at Arizona State Parks prepares an information-filled report concerning Arizona's motorized and non-motorized trails and their users. This plan includes recommendations and action strategies to protect and enhance trails throughout the state including those in local city, county and state parks, as well as those on National Forest and Bureau of Land Management lands. The draft for this trails plan is now available for public review and comment.
To download the draft plan, go to http://azstateparks.com/publications/index.html#Trails_2010.
Before the trails plan was drafted, State Parks staff conducted a series of telephone and online surveys and workshops that reached more than 5,500 Arizonans to find out about what types of motorized or non-motorized trails they use, how often they use trails, what they like or don't like about trails, and what trail managers should focus their time and dollars on to make the trail experience better.
After analyzing the results of this year-long public involvement effort, staff drafted a trails plan that provides information about trail users, their preferences and opinions, important issues facing recreational trails and off-highway vehicle routes in Arizona. The plan also offers a list of recommendations and priority actions that both trail users and land managers can take to protect and improve Arizona's thousands of miles of motorized and non-motorized trails. In addition, there are chapters that discuss trail planning, trail impacts, trail benefits, and grants and funding.
According to Annie McVay, State Trails Coordinator, 69% of adult Arizonans are trails users, which equates to 3.2 million people "hitting the trails." This number is up 20% from the last trails plan five years ago. When broken out by type of use, 58% of Arizonans consider themselves primarily non-motorized trail users and 11% consider themselves primarily motorized trail users. The most common non-motorized pursuits are trail hiking, backpacking, mountain biking and horseback riding. The most common motorized pursuits are ATV driving, four-wheel driving, and dirt biking. Some of the top trail issues were protecting access to trails, keeping trails in good condition and mitigating damage caused by trails and their use.
The priority recommendations listed in the plan will be used to develop grant rating criteria and distribute monies from the Arizona Trails Heritage Fund, Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Fund, and the federal Recreational Trails Program.
Comments on the draft trails plan will be received through June 30, 2009. To comment, send written comments to Trails 2010 Draft Plan, Arizona State Parks, 1300 W. Washington, Phoenix, AZ 85007 or email comments to Trails 2010(at)azstateparks.gov. The final plan will be submitted to the Arizona State Parks Board in November 2009.
For information about Arizona State Parks call (602) 542-4174 (outside of the Phoenix metro area call toll-free (800) 285-3703 or visit the website at AZStateParks.com.
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