I would like to share a few facts concerning the PATS involvement with Gila Community College (GCC), the County and the existing trails on the GCC campus.
The Payson Trails System (PATS) routes on the Gila Community College campus are still in the conceptual phase, despite the newspaper letter to the editor reports that the "trail is finished, been named and a dedication is planned for May 3."
The trails that are being dedicated are existing routes on the GCC campus that have been groomed and worked by the environmental biology students as part of their Spring 2007 course curriculum. The trail dedication is symbolic of the efforts put forth by the GCC environmental biology instructor and students to improve their campus and knowledge of trail construction, but is not directed by the Town of Payson or the proposed Payson Area Trails System. The Town of Payson is hopeful that a collaborative relationship can be formed between GCC, Gila County and the Town, connecting and incorporating PATS across the GCC campus, but is still awaiting approval from the Gila County Board of Supervisors.
If approval is obtained, the process that Town staff shared with attendees at the last Trails Task Force meeting will then begin.
The process as outlined is:
1. Notifying potentially affected property owners within 300-foot area of a proposed route.
2. Providing ample opportunity for those citizens affected to express their concerns.
3. Reaching a final decision in collaboration with GCC on actual PATS trails location.
4. Construction of trails.
The current GCC trails that may be included as part of PATS will be subject to this process, along with any other proposed PATS routes in Payson.
David E. Rutter, Member, PATS Citizens Task Force