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Moab Trails Alliance

Moab Trails Alliance

“Promoting Responsible Trail Use
Through Public and Private Partnerships”

The Moab Trails Alliance was formed in 2003 by a concerned group of businesses and citizens who believe Moab would benefit from a more comprehensive trail system better suited for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. Because many of our existing trails were originally created for motorized travel, Moab is severely lacking in singletrack opportunities that are the main attraction for many outdoor enthusiasts.

The non-motorized user group has proven to be of major economic benefit to our community and the competition for their tourist dollars is high among many resort towns. Grand County is spending considerable resources to insure that Moab maintains its world-class reputation and the development of more singletrack trails is top priority. The partnerships that have been created between Grand County’s Trail Mix committee, Moab Trails Alliance, BLM, SITLA, and the Forest Service have been highly successful and their efforts are beginning to show big results.

Grand County laid the groundwork for singletrack trail development in 2001by the creation of Trail Mix, a non-motorized advisory committee to the County Council. Trail Mix has been successful in bringing all non-motorized user groups together to identify their needs and wishes. The efforts of this committee have been invaluable in creating a Draft Non-Motorized Trails Master Plan that incorporates three years of discussion among its members. The members, by the way, change regularly and everyone with non-motorized trail concerns is welcome. Trail Mix has an open door policy making every meeting a public forum.

In order to implement the plans proposed in the Master Plan, many more resources are needed. The Moab Trails Alliance was formed and Kimberly Schappert was hired as the Executive Director to fill in the gaps that this committee could not address. She wakes up every morning and goes to sleep every night thinking about trails and how to make them happen. It might seem like an easy job,” Don’t you just go out there with a shovel and start grubbing in the dirt?”. There is some of that going on and those trails could theoretically be great additions to our network but they are illegally constructed and the different effected land agencies are not happy. The goal of Moab Trails Alliance is to work together with the land managers and follow the process, as outlined by each agency, of new trail creation. It can seem like a cumbersome and endless task but that is what it takes to consider concerns of all user groups and sort through them.

To date, we have some great success stories with many more following closely behind. The most obvious at the moment is the paved bike path along SR 191 that leaves from the Courthouse Wash parking lot trail head and continues all the way to the Gemini Bridges parking lot via Arches and the underpass near the Bar-M Chuckwagon. UDOT was the hero in this story by taking the initiative to pave the pathway, install the underpass, and connect the old highway to the system. Two other UDOT-partnered projects are the bicycle/pedestrian bridge that will span the Colorado River just up river from the present day auto bridge and a bike path that will parallel SR 128 from the outlet of the Porcupine Rim singletrack near the Negro Bill parking lot back to Lion’s Park. Lion’s Park is also targeted for a facelift and new designation as the Grand County Trail Hub. These are the biggest projects in process right now and they should be completed by the spring of 2006.

The Master Plan identifies many other singletracks on its wish list. Last weekend a new section of trail in the Klondike Bluffs area was constructed by volunteers working under a recently negotiated SITLA Right of Entry Permit. Another portion of that trail network will be constructed on BLM land thus defining alternative non-motorized routes in an area that can be problematic during busy weekends. Last fall a reroute of the popular Moonlight Meadows Trail in the La Sal Mountains has resulted in a wonderful opportunity for cyclists and hikers to get out of the heat, enjoy the fall colors, or simply revel in the contrast of the alpine and desert environments so closely situated in our unique area. This project was a collaborative effort between the Forest Service, Moab Trails Alliance and Trail Mix.

These are just a few of the projects in which work from the Moab Trails Alliance has been instrumental in ensuring their success. MTA will continue to negotiate with land managers, write grants, and wake up every morning thinking about trails and how they can make Grand County a better place. If you would like to be a part of our efforts, come see us at the Moab Brewery at 6pm, Friday, October 29 for our Fat Tire Festival fundraiser. There will be good food and drink and a raffle with lots of great prizes.

With your help we can continue the quest for more singletrack trails in Grand County

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