Friends of Northern Arizona Forests (FoNAF) maintains an active awareness and involvement in trail conditions, hiker safety and hiker trail concerns around Flagstaff. Although not directly involved with trail building or monitoring hiking conditions, FoNAF supports the Forest Service in many ways to assure the safety and integrity of the many miles of hiking trails across the Coconino National Forest and most particularly in the Flagstaff Ranger District.
Below are several current programs and awareness activities that we provide leadership or work in coordination with other volunteer groups:
Trail Conditions and Hazards Monitoring
Fallen tree removal
As FoNAF volunteers encounter trees blocking trails or otherwise become aware of trees creating a potential hazard, arrangements are made with FoNAF’s Aspen Team to remove them.
Monitoring trail registers
At many entry points to major trails there is a trail register box containing a log of those who pass. FoNAF volunteers assist the Forest Service in maintaining these logs and providing new ones as needed.
Maintaining trail signage and notices
Signs indicating such things as wilderness rules and regulations are placed along various trails to inform users. On an as-needed basis FoNAF volunteers assist the Forest Service in erecting and maintaining these notices.
Preventative Search and Rescue
Preventative Search and Rescue (PSAR) programs exist at many popular national park and national forest trail heads. The concept is simple; the impact is significant. Volunteers are present during peak use periods to provide information on trail conditions, weather hazards, wildlife, proper hydration and personal safety.
FoNAF partners with the Forest Service to provide this service at high traffic trail heads such as the Humphryes Peak trail head adjacent to the Snowbowl Ski Resort. The season of highest usage is May through October with weekend days having the most visitors.
Our volunteers are positioned at the trail head greeting hikers, providing safety tips to enhance their experience of the wilderness and offering alternative trail options for those seeking less strenuous activity. Often other volunteers on the team venture out on the trail meeting visitors along the way, offering information regarding trail conditions, advice on weather and sometimes assisting with minor first aid issues.
Due to the nature of this program FoNAF coordinates with Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue on public awareness training, education and trail information efforts.
“Land in Hand” Cell Phone/PC Application
Friends of Northern Arizona Forests (FoNAF) has partnered with the Flagstaff Ranger District (FRD) to make available a new app (called “Land in Hand”) that is used for reporting problems that we discover in the forest – examples include trees on trails or fences, damage to Forest Service signage, fences and other property, graffiti, etc.
This app works best on a smart phone but also works on any PC. The staff at Flagstaff Ranger District would like those of us who spend time in the forest to be familiar with the app and to use it whenever we encounter a problem.
FoNAF does not currently have an ongoing Trail Patrol (sometimes called Trail Ambassador) program. If our membership expresses renewed interest in such an activity we could imagine an affiliated FoNAF group of hikers, mountain bikers, and equestrian riders that provide a routine presence on area trail
Contact the Trails Advocacy Program Coordinator for more information click here.