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Arizona Trails 2005

Statewide Motorized and Nonmotorized Trails Plan, November 2004

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From Arizona State Parks

Map of Arizona EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

The purpose of this plan is to provide information and recommendations to guide Arizona State Parks and other agencies in Arizona in their management of motorized and nonmotorized trail resources, and specifically to guide the distribution and expenditure of the Arizona Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) Recreation Fund (A.R.S.§ 28--1176), trails component of the Arizona Heritage Fund (A.R.S.§ 41--503) and the Federal Recreational Trails Program (23 U.S.C.206).

"The corridor will be a continuous strip of land that can accommodate hike, bike, equestrian and/or nature trails, and serve as the primary link for recreational opportunities within a "world-class" Trinity River Greenway."

When the word "trail" is used in this plan, it refers to recreational trails and/or roads used by motorized and nonmotorized trail users.

Specific objectives of the Arizona Trails 2005: State Motorized and Nonmotorized Trails Plan include:

  • Assess the needs and opinions of Arizona 's residents as they relate to trail recreation opportunities and management;

  • Establish priorities for expenditures from the Arizona OHV Recreation Fund, Arizona Heritage Fund trails component and Federal Recreational Trails Program;

  • Develop strategic directions to guide activities for the Arizona State Parks' OHV and Trails Programs; and

  • Recommend actions that enhance motorized and nonmotorized trail opportunities to all agencies and the private sector who provide trail resources in Arizona.

Arizona State Parks implemented an extensive research and public involvement process to determine the final priority recommendations of the plan. A statewide survey of over 5,000 residents was conducted from January to September 2003. The statewide survey had two components, first Arizona residents were contacted via telephone for a short survey and those that agreed were given a longer mail survey. In addition to the statewide surveys, Arizona State Parks facilitated 15 public workshops in order to gain further information from trail users, land managers, recreation and natural resource managers and interested residents.

This plan is written primarily for recreation planners and land managers. The plan also includes information regarding trail users and trends affecting trails in Arizona. The plan first presents background information on trails in Arizona. Next the planning process is described along with findings of the surveys and workshops, and then the recommendations are outlined. The plan also includes accomplishments of the OHV and Trails Programs over the past five years and appendices of relevant information. This information is intended to be a resource to guide trail agencies for the next five years: 2005 through 2009.

  • Approximately two-thirds of Arizona residents (66.4%) are trail users and one-third (33.6%) are nonusers.

  • 62.7% of respondents participated in nonmotorized trail use at some point during their time in Arizona and 56.5% said most of their trail use involved nonmotorized activities.

  • 24.5% of respondents participated in motorized trail use at some point during their time in Arizona and 7.0% said most of their trail use involved motorized activities.

  • The most important motives for using trails for both nonmotorized and motorized trail users were to view scenic beauty, to be close to nature, and to get away from the usual demands of life.

  • The most popular nonmotorized activities on Arizona's trails are trail hiking (day hiking), walking, visiting historical archaeological sites, and jogging/running.

  • The most popular motorized activities on Arizona's trails are four-wheel driving , driving to sightsee or wildlife viewing/birding, all-terrain vehicle (ATV) riding and motorized trail biking/dirt biking.

  • Nonmotorized trail users most often recreate just outside a city or town or in a city or town, but said they prefer to use trails in a remote area or a rural area. Motorized trail users most often recreate in rural and remote settings and most prefer those settings.

  • Nonmotorized users travel an average of 23 miles and motorized trail users travel an average of 51 miles for the activity they do most often.

  • The majority of trail users (62% to 70%) prefer trails of moderate difficulty, though more motorized users (17%) prefer challenging trails than do nonmotorized users (5%).

  • Public access to trail opportunities is a concern of Arizona 's trail users, especially motorized trail users. Nearly half (48%) of motorized users feel that public access to trails for their preferred activities has declined in the last five years.

  • Both nonmotorized and motorized users feel that environmental concerns, such as litter, trash dumping, erosion of trails, damage to historical or archaeological sites are slight to moderate problems.

  • Social issues that are considered slight to moderate problems by nonmotorized and motorized trail users include residential/commercial development, unregulated OHV use, and lack of trail ethics by other users.

  • Trail support facilities that were important to both nonmotorized and motorized users included trash cans, trail signs, restrooms and drinking water.

  • Both motorized and nonmotorized users said the top management priorities were to keep areas clean of litter/ trash, maintain existing trails, repair damage to trails, and enforce existing rules and regulations.

  • When asked to rate the top three trail issues in Arizona, nonmotorized users said lack of funding for trails, urban development limiting access, and inadequate trail maintenance. Motorized users replied closure of trails, urban development limiting access, and lack of funding for trails.

First Level Priority Motorized Recommendations:

  1. Develop New Trails and Motorized Recreation Opportunities
  2. Protect Access to Trails/Keep Trails Open
  3. Renovation and Maintenance of Existing Trails
  4. Education and Trail Etiquette

Second Level Priority Motorized Recommendations

  1. Enforcement of Existing Rules and Regulations/Monitoring
  2. Trail Information and Maps
  3. Comprehensive Planning

First Level Priority Nonmotorized Recommendations

  1. Renovation and Maintenance of Existing Trails
  2. Protect Access to Trails/Acquire Land for Public Access
  3. Develop Signage and Support Facilities

Second Level Priority Nonmotorized Recommendations

  1. Comprehensive Planning
  2. Trail Information/Maps
  3. Education and Trail Etiquette

This plan includes both motorized and nonmotorized trail information, public involvement results and recommendations for future actions regarding trails in Arizona. This plan was prepared by Arizona State Parks as required by state legislation (State Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation Plan, A.R.S.§ 41--511.04 and State Trails Plan § 41--511.22). The 2004 publication of the two plans referenced above has been incorporated into this single document titled Arizona Trails 2005:State Motorized and Nonmotorized Trails Plan, which supercedes the ARIZONA TRAILS 2000 PLAN.

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