Pam Gluck, Executive Director American Trails, sent this letter to be read Dec. 16 at the completion ceremony of the Arizona National Scenic Trail:
“Thank you to the inspirational leaders of the Arizona Trail Association, the dedicated land managing agencies and their tireless employees, and to all the volunteers who helped make this trail possible. Without loyal and dedicated supporters like you, Dale Shewalter’s vision wouldn’t have come true. I know if he were here today, he would be so immensely proud of the work you have managed to accomplish over the last 26 years. (And, I firmly believe he is here in spirit.) Your “sweat equity” has truly paid off!
“There are hundreds that should be recognized by name, but I understand that Francisco Mendoza of BLM labored valiantly for years to complete this final Passage of the Trail– the White Canyon Passage. He did so under very challenging circumstances and in some of the most rugged terrain that the Trail has to offer. And, he did it in partnership with the visionary leaders of the Arizona Trail Association and countless volunteers.
“This trail represents what can come to fruition when motivated individuals come together to work for a common goal– a long distance trail– stretching from border to border through Arizona’s pristine natural resources. Residents and visitors from around the world will be able to traverse this trail for years to come, leaving them with unparalleled experiences of beauty, and as the Arizona Trail Association’s mission states, “unique encounters with nature.”
“I’ll never forget these words from Dale’s poem, The Arizona Trail, “You’ll feel renewed and whole…You’ll never be the same again… with Arizona in your soul.” I wish this for all that will walk or ride this special trail for generations to come…”
Read more about the completion of the Arizona Trail…
Learm more about the AZ NST on the Arizona Trail Association’s website: www.AZtrail.org