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