Where Is The Payson Area Trails System (Pats) Today?

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In the past 3 _ months since the Payson Town Council included implementation of the Payson Area Trails System (PATS) in the 2007/08 budget, much has been accomplished on an administrative level in order to begin building PATS in an organized, professional manner.

• The PATS Construction Manual detailing trail narratives and specifications is completed and has been distributed to Town Hall, involved Town Departments and key community leaders. This document will be the operating manual to plan and communicate between Town Departments and with developers and community members as we begin PATS construction.

• The PATS map with the latest revisions is available for all to see on the Town of Payson website – www.ci.payson.az.us under [Maps], and a separate PATS webpage detailing PATS routes, special areas of interest, United States Forest Service (USFS) trail information and GPS coordinates, sponsorship, upcoming projects and trail ethics will be available via a direct link from the homepage within the next month.

• A general PATS brochure, which will include the entire PATS map, narrative, trail ethics, basic sponsorship information and contact information, is in the final draft stages and will be available shortly at the Parks and Recreation Department and Payson Town Hall. More specific trail information will be provided specifically at each of the USFS trail routes included in PATS in the near future, as well.

In addition, the beginning stages of trail sign installation and trail construction have begun through different avenues.

• Volunteerism continues to grow in our community to support PATS and facilitate its construction. We are adding new members to the Trails Task Force volunteer group on a weekly basis and are now utilizing these dedicated, talented individuals to assist in the newest phase of PATS implementation – trail signage and construction. Beginning last August, our volunteers started installing additional signage to USFS trails incorporated into PATS under a volunteer agreement with the USFS Payson Ranger District. Ed Armenta and Walt Thole of the Payson Ranger District have been extremely supportive of this phase of PATS implementation and we are extremely grateful for their continued interest and involvement. Two volunteer trail workdays were held on October 11-12th at the end of Phoenix Street in the Boulder Creek Subdivision, and in the southwest portion of Rumsey Park. Small sections of PATS trails were built with the assistance of Trails Task Force volunteers, Parks Staff and Payson Boy Scouts as part of a local Eagle Scout Project. These types of trail-building events demonstrate that there will be other volunteer opportunities in the future for community members and/or organizations to build and maintain portions of PATS in Town where the terrain and situations are favorable. Volunteerism will not only assist us in completing PATS in a timely manner, but will foster a sense of ownership in the community over a precious town-wide recreational benefit that will benefit us all.

• For portions of PATS where situations prohibit easy volunteer trail installation, the Town will be contracting with landscape architects to ensure that these more challenging sections of trail will be done in a professional, safe and easily maintainable manner. The first section of this nature is Tyler Parkway and a landscape architect is currently working on schematics of the proposed trail. Before any construction is done, neighbors within 300 feet of planned trail sections will be notified and a neighborhood meeting will be conducted to ensure the public has a chance to express their feedback.

Our 10-year goal date for PATS completion will be achieved by constructing PATS trails opportunistically, piece-by-piece, utilizing the following situations: scheduled roadway construction or reconstruction, new developments along planned PATS routes that will contribute to trail construction adjacent to their land, volunteer trail construction and utilization of additional resources from grants and sponsorships.

If you are interested in being involved in PATS, whether it be as a volunteer, sponsor or just an interested citizen, please contact Mary McMullen @ (928) 474-5242 x 358 for more information.

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