The Coconino National Forest’s Flagstaff Ranger District, Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC), Recreation Equipment, Inc. (REI), and a fantastic group of volunteers met at Deer Hill Trail for a special National Public Lands Day trail project on September 30, 2017.
Deer Hill Trail is a 4.6 mile long trail running along the base of the eastern side of the San Francisco Peaks, devastated in the summer of 2010 by the Schultz Fire. The human-caused wildfire burned over 15,000 acres of forest in the area, and was followed by intense flash floods when monsoon storms arrived to dump heavy rainfall on the barren slopes. Deer Hill Trail, a favorite of equestrian riders who camp at the Little Elden Springs Horse Camp at the southern end of the trail, had been closed since the fire due to severe trail damage, hazardous conditions, and large fallen trees blocking the trail.
This final day of trail work was the culmination of over three years of effort by numerous volunteer organizations and sponsors, hundreds of local volunteers, and the Flagstaff Ranger District to clear and repair the trail to safe standards for equestrians, hikers, and mountain bikers. The many partner organizations who have helped coordinate trail repair efforts over the years are REI, Flagstaff Biking Organization, Seeds of Stewardship, Arizona Conservation Corps, and GORE.
Recreationists love this trail, the beautiful ponderosa pine forest it traverses, and its magnificent views of the San Francisco Peaks, Mount Elden, Sunset Crater, and surrounding area. Closed for over seven years, the trail was officially reopened immediately following this National Public Lands Day trail event. Flagstaff Ranger District trails coordinator Matt Engbring removed the "Trail Closed/Flood Damage" sign and presented it to the REI volunteer group leader Justin Ingles to commemorate the years of devotion and hard work to this project.
Photo taken September 30, 2017 by Deborah Lee Soltesz. Credit U.S. Forest Service Coconino National Forest.
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