Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

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joebartels
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Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

Post by joebartels »

SEDONA, Ariz., Oct. 20, 2021
The Coconino National Forest proposes to expand mass transit shuttle services at select trailheads located within the greater Sedona area to reduce traffic congestion, overflow parking in residential areas, and improve pedestrian safety.

Traffic and congested parking during peak visitation are frequent complaints by Sedona residents and visitors. Popular trailheads are often beyond parking capacity. Parking demand then displaces visitors more than a half-mile away into undesignated areas, surrounding neighborhoods, and surface streets. This traffic pattern results in resource damage, adverse public safety, and diminished quality of life for residents.

Access to popular trailheads can be improved by utilizing alternative modes of transportation for visitors who would otherwise drive their own vehicles to trailheads. A proposed transit program, operated by the City of Sedona, would offer reliable transportation to and from popular trailheads.

“I believe this joint venture between the Red Rock Ranger District and the City of Sedona will help mitigate some of the traffic congestion problems people face at trailheads and also improve safety for pedestrians across the board,” said District Ranger Amy Tinderholt. “With how popular these trails have become, it will be vital to find long-term solutions such as this to allow for greater and safer access, while improving the experience for everyone in the area.”

A description of the proposed action, along with maps and other information, can be found at www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=60969 (pdf is attached below).

Key points of the transit proposal include:

Five trailheads would incorporate shuttle services: Dry Creek, Little Horse, Mescal, Cathedral Rock, and Soldiers Pass.

Proposed transit operations would occur 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, beginning March 2022, and offered year-round.

Shuttles would operate on an approximate 15- to 45-minute frequency.

Public parking would remain open at Dry Creek, Little Horse, and Mescal trailheads.

Cathedral Rock and Soldiers Pass trailheads would be closed to public parking during shuttle operations to encourage the use of the shuttle and alternative transportation.

Pedestrian and bicycle traffic is encouraged as an alternative transportation method.

Shuttles may be increased during peak-use holidays and spring break months.

To accommodate shuttle access at Cathedral Rock, a trailhead re-design would convert an existing pedestrian path to a motorized route that exits onto Back O’ Beyond Road. A new pedestrian path would be constructed.

Trailhead modifications may include adding a designated shuttle stop, relocating parking stalls, or closing select parking stalls during shuttle operations.

HOW TO COMMENT
The public is invited to provide input on the Red Rock Country Trailhead Transit and Parking Restrictions Project during a 30-day comment period from Oct. 20 to Nov. 19, 2021.

Please provide written comments with “Trailhead Transit” in the subject line via:
E-mail: comments-southwestern-coconino-redrock@usda.gov; or

Fax: (928) 203-7539; or
Regular mail: Red Rock Ranger District, Attention: Trailhead Transit, P.O. Box 20429, Sedona, AZ 86431; or
Hand-delivered: Red Rock District Office at 8375 State Route 179, Sedona, AZ 86351 between the hours of 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. weekdays.
116785_FSPLT3_5670618.pdf
Trailhead Transit Scoping Letter-Oct. 20, 2021
(1.15 MiB) Downloaded 6 times
- joe
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chumley
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Re: Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

Post by chumley »

Similar to how the FS manages fire, this policy seems focused on protecting the private property and quality of life of those who reside adjacent to the forest. Perhaps if the Forest Service implemented policies that protected the forest itself from the damage of overuse then there wouldn't be so much traffic in the quiet neighborhoods.
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Re: Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

Post by trekkin_gecko »

back of beyond road and cathedral rock parking area is an absolute mess
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Re: Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

Post by nonot »

@Chums:

Managing forest access is another responsibility of the FS in addition to managing the forest usage. And the FS does have policies, such as stay limits, and group limits, at least, in many places.

I'm glad they are considering alternative access means (e.g. shuttle service) rather than just closing the trailheads outright. However, I worry that the funding to run and maintain the shuttle should seem to need to be part of the solution.
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Re: Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

Post by nonot »

And in certain places, such as Fossil Springs, I think the Forest service has demonstrated taking even further steps in terms of policies of preventing overuse.
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Re: Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

Post by chumley »

@nonot
Fossil Creek was given a specific Wild & Scenic River designation specifically to be managed for recreational use. The designation required the forest service to establish a management plan. This is unique to Fossil Creek and not applicable elsewhere on the forest.

Neither the Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness nor the Munds Mountain Wilderness have any group or stay limits beyond those applicable elsewhere on the forest. Sedona in partnership with the Coconino National Forest exploit these wilderness areas for the economic benefit of the local community to the detriment of the forest it is tasked to protect. I recognize the challenge of balancing the various interests involved, but it seems quite clear that protecting the wilderness from overuse is at the bottom of the list.
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Re: Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

Post by nonot »

Care to explain? I am unfamiliar with the exploitation or detrimental impacts to you refer to, and kind of doubt that "Sedona" as a township, is exploiting the forest. Perhaps you have a beef with individual companies or entities? Sedona has many businesses which cater to tourism due to the nice scenery, but it is leap to say that involves exploitation.
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Re: Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

Post by hikeaz »

USFS is kind of incestuous with Pink Jeep et al.. FS allows (and in some cases ENSURES) that a 'barrier to entry' is utilized on some FS roads (thus nearly mandating the use of an outfitter to gain motor access). Whether letting the road go to hell OR moving rocks to create the barrier(s). Some may characterize that as exploitation to inequitably benefit the profiteers.
Of course the counterpoint is.... just like GNCP profiteer boating companies say... "We are affording access to those who would NEVER do this on their own". But always welcome some 'protection' of their profits by the 'managers'.
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Re: Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

Post by big_load »

hikeaz wrote:USFS is kind of incestuous with Pink Jeep et al..
My pet peeve there is how outfitters are allowed to cache items in designated Wilderness Areas, but the general public is not. (I may have previously disregarded explicit direction to not cache water, but my recollection is getting dim).

Anyway, back on topic, this seems like another thing that would allow them to require Red Rocks Pass, even if you're not using the parking lot or other facilities enhancements.
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Re: Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

Post by Watauga »

I took my parents up to Sedona recently and the Boynton Canyon trailhead is an absolute ZOO now that the Subway is so widely known (some joker even added it to Google Maps).

I'd say they need to consider that for some sort of expansion/shuttle after seeing Devils Bridge levels of cars stretched out on the shoulders.
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Re: Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

Post by RedRoxx44 »

If you banned people posting pics on Instagram, facebook, twitter whatever back in the beginning there would likely not be quite such a sh**t show.
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Re: Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

Post by chumley »

@RedRoxx44
Posting things isn't the problem. But the platforms amplifying things and algorithms telling somebody that they'd enjoy a thing that they were not searching for or otherwise previously interested in has had profound effects in many aspects of life well beyond too many people using a piece of land not equipped to handle the use.
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Re: Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

Post by chumley »

Somewhat related Sedona-area news balancing the relationship between the city and its residents, the tourists, and the FS that manages the public land that is the primary reason the town exists at all:
http://www.redrocknews.com/2021/11/03/s ... it-system/
the Sedona City Council voted unanimously to adopt a letter that formally asks the U.S. Forest Service to implement a permit system on off-highway vehicle routes in and around Sedona
...the city’s request for permits would be shared up the chain of command and Coconino National Forest would issue a response, but she made it clear that the district does not plan to implement any new permit systems on the Sedona area OHV routes.
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Re: Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

Post by friendofThundergod »

F-Sedona.
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Re: Coconino NF proposes trailhead transit expansion

Post by hikeaz »

A GOB of crazy-driving rented UTV drivers all OVER up there. But the city figured that is even MORE sales tax money from their rental fees, plus meals, rooms,, etc...
That town's residential residents have long suffered from the "Now that I am in, close-the-door-behind-me" syndrome. Higher home prices and the 'wants' of that clientele never cease escalating.
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