Introduction from your board
Dear Cycling Community:
Some of you are already aware of this, but I wanted to let everyone know about the creation of a new trail advocacy organization that a group of us have been working to create over the last several months whose mission it will be to advocate for the recognition, preservation, and expansion of the single-track trail system within the Buena Vista area of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. The name of the organization is the “Save the Buena Vista Foundation” (SBVF). We incorporated as an Arizona non-profit corporation in March, and we received official recognition of our status as a 501(c)(3) organization from the IRS in May. The Board members of SBVF include Todd Fernau (President), myself (Vice-President), Carol Godwin (Secretary), Kevin Avery (Treasurer), and Josh Bell.
As most of you know, the history of what we call the “Secret Trails” goes back nearly forty years, as most of the backbones of that present day system were laid down decades ago. Some natives to the area can recall riding those trails in their youth. While having a “secret” social trail system created and maintained by locals was fine, the time has long since passed where there is anything “secret” about the trails in the Buena. Additionally, the fact that these great trails within the Buena remain unrecognized by the USFS today does them no favors. The time has simply come that the single best way to preserve and protect this trail system is through their official recognition by the USFS. That’s the first step we need to get accomplished if we are going to protect and preserve the area from future development. Already, large parts of the Buena have been lost to development through the years, and the triangle we have left needs to be preserved. The Buena is, simply put, the most threatened trail system in the White Mountains. And it needs its enthusiasts and its own organization to save it for future generations.I need to be clear that the SBVF has not been created to replace or supplant TRACKS, which I and most of the other founders of the SBVF are members. TRACKS does an incredible job of advocating for and building trails, and has a special relationship with the USFS to allow them to do the work they do. All of our board members are grateful for the work TRACKs does in our community. But the reality is that TRACKS has over 200 miles of local trails over which it must spread its love, and there is room for a special non-profit, like the SBVF, which can focus on trail advocacy, fundraising, trail system planning, trail preservation, and to assist with building out the trail system within the Buena. That’s where we come in.So you ask, what can I do to help SBVF protect the hidden gem that is the Buena Vista?
First, you can join the SBVF. That costs you nothing. The SBVF needs a strong membership base so that when we go to the USFS and ask for their support, we can boast of a large membership base on whose behalf we are speaking. If you are interested in joining the SBVF, please send me an email at JMoore21@cableone.net which includes the following: Name Address Phone Number and Email Address. We are going to be putting together a membership list, and we need this information to keep all of you updated about our efforts and to let you know about our progress and how you can provide help we’ll almost certainly need down the road.
Secondly. Tell your cycling, hiking, trail running, equestrian and motorized trail lovers about this and have them join as well. We want to be able to work with the USFS, TRACKS, equestrians and the ATV folks to create a trail system for everyone. If we do this right, we totally have the ability to create a showcase trail system, but we need buy-in from all user groups to make this happen.
Third. If you are on Facebook, please like and share the Save the Buena Vista Foundation's Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Save-the-Buena-Vista-Foundation A strong social media presence will help us gain members and legitimacy.
Fourth: Please take a SurveyMonkey quiz we have created for users of the trail system in the Buena Vista: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/3BHVHBT?fbclid=IwAR03SowRgJBSvyuYIconRVjjdMJIk3iRYUhzqrlPlv2kUHntbl1IOSku6g8. We are trying to collect data this summer and upcoming fall about the users of the Buena Vista trail system so that we have solid data to share with the USFS, TRACKS, and our community leaders. If you ride the Buena Vista with out-of-town friends, have them take the quiz. If you ride the trails in the Buena Vista often, you may have already noticed a few “QR” codes hanging at strategic spots within the trail system. If you scan that QR code with your phone, it will take you directly to the Survey Monkey questionnaire where you can share your views and opinions about the trail system. All of the QR codes you find in the Buena take you to the same survey . . . so there is no need to scan all of them. But we’ve put them up in multiple spots due to the multiple ways you can enter the trail system and the multiple routes it is possible to take.
There will come a time where we may have bigger asks of our members. The costs of the studies required to get the existing and future trails we’d like to put in don’t come without some significant costs. The trail signage that will be needed in a “stacked loop” system like the Buena are also expensive. We are also going to need time and labor.
Thanks in advance for all of the help and support I know we are going to get in helping to protect and preserve the Buena!