Traffic, Trails, and OHVs

Sedona has always had tourism, but the unsustainable flood of tourists over the past five years is clogging our roads, trails and choking the life out of our town.

TRAFFIC/TOURISTS

The solution to traffic is not more roads and more parking, it is less tourists. Is that really possible?? How can we control the number of tourists? Follow this LINK to a document written by one of our members. He provides the data and SOLUTION.

Members of Sedona Residents Unite recently met with Supervisor Donna Michaels of Yavapai County and toured the western roads of Dry Creek, Boynton Pass Road, and Long Canyon Road with her and the Yavapai Public Works Department head.  They are well aware of the issues of roadside parking and are open to the idea of making many of these roads no parking areas.  This is a key step to reducing overuse of the trails and congestion within and around Sedona.  The City needs to complete the new Trail Shuttle parking at Red Rock Loop before the street parking is removed. Transit must be a part of a system to limit hikers to the trail system around Sedona during peak visitor periods. 

ATVs/OHVs

Six (6) ATV/OHV Rental companies have set up shop on 89A. The result is hundreds of ATVs/OHVs destroying our fragile environment and endangering the health of our residents. The dust is destroying the Native American petroglyphs. The ATV Rental companies are supposed to instruct the Tourist on how to “Tread Lightly”. An ATV Rental Rider was caught on 525 on 4/18/22. Watch the video, right from the words of the tourists. “I thought it was ok and this was all free for us to do donuts on.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q_3iCNY4PIE

We have begun protests to make Residents and Tourists aware of the damage to the beauty of Sedona. Here is a video from our first protest: https://youtu.be/kNCUfvH2okI

We have started a write-in campaign to the regional USFS office to let them know the damage occuring in Sedona and the lack of action by the local Forest Service. Send us an email to get the guidance on what to send in the letter – sedonaresidentsunite@gmail.com.

Get on our email list so that you will know about other planned activities. Also sign this petition to make your concern known:

https://www.change.org/p/limit-atv-uhv-use-in-the-greater-sedona-area-make-sedona-peaceful-again

TRAIL SHUTTLES

The Council has just started a Trail Shuttle service. One shuttle originates next to West Sedona School at Posse Grounds. Tourists drive through the neighborhood and park near our children to catch a shuttle to Dry Creek Trail and Soldiers Pass Trail. The other shuttle originates north of Cathedral Rock serving that trailhead. The following video provides a review of how well we think they are meeting the needs:  https://vimeo.com/704290546?ref=em-share

Bottom line for both issues – The Shuttles need to be the primary way to get to the trails. They can then be used to control the number of tourists hiking. The ATVs need to be controlled by a permit system. The City Council must continue to pressure the US Forest Service to implement this permit system.

A WIN! – DESIGNATED DISPERSED CAMPING MOVING FORWARD

Verde Valley News –Signed by Red Rock District Ranger Amy Tinderholt, the West Sedona Designated Dispersed Camping and Day-use Areas Decision Memo allows for the first phase of construction to begin immediately. The first part of implementation will begin with construction and installation of information kiosks, signage, and boulder placement to block off user-created roads and campsites, while delineating specific areas for parking and legal dispersed camping. These preparatory activities will take place over the next several months.

“After years of planning and many meetings with residents, the City of Sedona, recreation-based businesses, and many stakeholders, we are proud to see so many efforts come to fruition and finally begin implementing this new endeavor,” said District Ranger Tinderholt. “This will help balance the use of this area, curb impacts to the land, protect natural resources and private property, while providing areas for visitors to enjoy camping.”

When installation of signage and placement of boulders is complete, a Forest Order will be put in place that prohibits dispersed camping and campfires in the 32,130-acre area that makes up most of the national forest in west Sedona. This aims to keep campers in the eight designated areas, reduce violations of the 14-day stay limit, protect the fragile desert landscape by prohibiting visitors from creating their own dispersed campsites and campfires, while also keeping them from trespassing on private land.

The district’s goal and plan are for the new Forest Order to be signed and new designated dispersed camp system to be ready for use by the end of August.

Once the Forest Order is in place, campers and recreationists visiting Coconino National Forest in the area of Forest Road 525 will be able to use and camp in eight designated dispersed camping areas comprised of nearly 36 acres that accommodate about 10-35 campsites in each area, totaling 150-200 campsites—depending on the size of the vehicle, trailer, or RV.

These first-come, first-served campsite areas will be accessed via state Route 89A, with five of those areas located along the popular access Forest Road 525, while two others are located along FR 89B, and the final area on FR 9570A. Four day-use parking areas and four information sites along these forest roads will also be designated.

Forest Order has been in place since 1999 that prohibits camping and campfires on 50,520 acres of the district. With the addition of another Forest Order covering west Sedona, camping and campfires will be prohibited on an additional 32,130 acres, encompassing a total of 82,650 acres where camping and campfires will not be allowed.

“Meeting our August goal will depend on weather and a number of other factors,” said District Recreation Staff Officer Chris Johansen. “But we’re confident of this timeline and excited to begin implementing something that has been needed for some years now.”

Violations of the Code of Federal Regulations, including Forest Orders, campfire restrictions, and closures such as this can carry a fine of up to $5,000 and/or six months in jail.

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Creative and bold solutions that protect the beauty of Sedona and meet the needs of residents must be pushed through. The Residents are committed to deliver that push!

If you are ready to really get involved, join our Action Team for OHVs/ATVs by sending an email to sedonaresidentsunite@gmail.com.

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