A group of hikers, bikers, ATVers and equestrians continued to narrow down where they would like to see new trails built Wednesday night as part of the Rim Country Trails planning process.
Roughly 70 people attended the meeting at the Nazarene church, happily marking up maps of Payson and the Rim where existing trails need work (re-route of the Arizona Trail in Pine) or should be built (between Payson and Pine).
The goal is to develop a comprehensive and sustainable trails plan for the area.
It was the second public workshop on the issue and attended by those from Payson, Pine-Strawberry, Star Valley, the Valley and even Prescott.
Carrie Eberly, with Southwest Decision Resources, who helped facilitate the meeting, said the goal is to figure out how trails that meet the needs of several user groups can best be built across the vast Mogollon Rim area.
After the first meeting, Eberly said several themes the user groups all agreed make a trail great. They include trails that are loops, which connect with other trails, are single track, sustainable, maintained and well signed.
Using happy stickers, residents marked where on the maps they want to see new trails. Eberly said they would take those results and prioritize trail locations. Once those areas were identified, it would be taken to the federal and local level for guidance and to evaluate what needs to be done to get those projects shovel ready.
Acting Forest Service District Ranger Randall Chavez said he must follow a certain process that includes environmental studies of potential impacts.
Star Valley Councilor Bobby Davis said the community needs to remain patient when it comes to trails because it is not going to happen overnight. However, if residents continue to work together, trail work will happen.
This spring, residents are asked to participate in sub-area work. For example, the P-S area. Those who signed up Wednesday night will be asked to attend several meetings on which trails need to be re-worked or built. If you would like to participate, visit www.RimCountryTrails.net.
This summer, decision makers like the Forest Service will receive the results.
And in the fall, there would another public workshop to update projects and identify next steps.