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The U.S. Forest Service is considering a Temporary Forest Order that could restrict mountain bikes to forest system-approved trails and roads. If implemented, the restriction would apply to the most sensitive lands around Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek.

“We’ve been talking about the potential for this since we noticed an upsurge in off-trail riding and unauthorized construction of routes for mountain bike use that we could not address simply with education,” said District Ranger Heather Provencio, of the Coconino National Forest's Red Rock Ranger District.“Our area has very sensitive soils and archaeology,” Red Rock Ranger District Ranger Heather Provencio said. “It doesn’t take much to cause damage. Unauthorized trail construction, and ‘riding in’ unofficial tracks has damaged the forest in areas near Oak Creek, which has special water quality standards to maintain.”

The district has over 170 miles of official trail open to mountain biking, hiking and equestrian use in the Sedona area. These trails are distinguished from “user created” routes by their official signs and markings.

For the full story, see the Wednesday, Jan. 30, edition of the Sedona Red Rock News.

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  • Jimbo

    They should look at restricting horses if anything.<br />Between the damage caused by their weight/footprint and the "droppings" they leave all over the trails, they create much more of a mess than bicycles.

  • djs

    This is a "no brainer"; restrict as needed. b.t.w., love mountain bikes, but there will still be plenty of places to ride, excluding the new bike lanes on 89A, which is dumb....

  • FritzeN

    In particular, such a restriction is long overdue in the Marg's Draw area and around Battlement Mesa. I have only seen one NFS patrol in the area in the past 10 years. Bikers are coming in from neighborhoods along the wilderness where the NFS fence has been compromised and from Sombart Lane, hoping not to be detected.

  • JamesNoBrakes

    For 20 years the FS has not done anything to further mountain biking in Sedona. Meanwhile, mountain bikers AND hikers have pioneered exciting and sustainable trails. This isn't just mountain bikers, it's everyone. If you haven't gotten out there and seen what there is, you need to. It will help to spread out the usage, rather than make Bell Rock (nearly paved) Pathway a funnel for traffic. There are some truly exciting trails in Sedona now that really capture the amazing views and terrain. This wasn't the case 20 years ago, and during the last 10 years when most of these have been built, Sedona has gone from a place with so-so trails and amazing views to a place with amazing views and amazing trails. I think the FS is being a sore loser here, for not really keeping up.

  • murrayscheese

    You know it's coming folks. DRONES! How dare those feet, wheels, hoofs despoil the Red Rock District forests!

  • Ian Wickson

    The RRRD is trying to make it sound like this measure will protect open terrain, which sounds like a good idea. The real goal is to restrict bike use to only officially approved trails. (Traversing unofficial trails is deemed "cross-country travel," so it would criminalize a currently legal activity.) But it will only apply to mountain bikers, which means pedestrians and equestrians will still be allowed to use unofficial trails, and erode them with boot and hoof.<br /><br />The obvious conclusion is this proposed closure is politically motivated, and discriminates against a particular user group. If it were meant to protect the land, all user groups (including hikers and horses) would be included in the closure and banned from "cross-country travel" in any interpretation.

  • Curley

    If the Forest Service is truly worried about the sensitive soil and archaeological sites, then why are hikers and equestrians allowed to continue usage of said trails??? Toxic run-off from roadways, in the form of oil and fuel, has far more impact on water quality in Oak Creek than a few trails in the forest. I see more hikers on Sedona's trails than any other user group. I think the mountain bike community should start a legal defense fund to sue the Forest Service for discrimination.

  • Sheila Haydel

    @Jimbo--horses have been on trails for HUNDREDS of years here in Montana and have done no harm. Same goes for human foot traffic. I have seen trails destroyed within two years of bike usage causing deep rutting which causes more water runoff and erosion, and deep rutting making trails very unsuitable for walking. It should be stopped.

  • tim

    How can the impact of horses be compared to bikes? There is no way and sciebtific studies support this -that bikes cause any more trail damage than hiking.

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