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The Arizona Trail was officially completed at a ceremony on December 16, 2011. The Arizona Trail Association was formed in 1994 as the outgrowth of the efforts by Dale Shewalter and others to help bring the vision of a continuous trail running across the state to life.
Learn more at "Diversity of the Arizona Trail beckons travellers worldwide"
The Arizona Trail is complete after twenty-six years of dedicated effort. The trail is a continuous, 800+ mile, diverse and scenic route across Arizona from Mexico to Utah. It links deserts, mountains, canyons, communities and people and was designated a National Scenic Trail in 2009.
Francisco Mendoza (L) as Jan Hancock reads the letter from
Dave Hicks, Executive Director of the Arizona Trail Association wrote:
"You did it! From me and every user of the Arizona Trail— thank you. As the final touches are put on our continuous route across Arizona, the thousands who have been involved in this exemplary public/private partnership are commended. Your dedicated and unrelenting efforts provide a wonderful outdoor path across Arizona. Every one of you can take pride in the success of the Arizona Trail."
Pam Gluck, Executive Director of 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.”
When the first sections of the Arizona Trail were under construction, we all knew that the process would be a long one, but that the rewards would be well worth the long, hard hours of work. Just think– over 800 miles of exceptional trail through the most pristine and varied country in the land!
“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…”
The Arizona Trail Association’s mission is to build, maintain, promote, protect and sustain the Arizona Trail as a unique encounter with the land. Learm more about the AZ NST on the Arizona Trail Association’s website: www.AZtrail.org.
Read more about Dale Shewalter on the American Trails memorial page
See the BLM’s page on the White Canyon Wilderness along the trail