The Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department has announced the addition of a new segment to the eastern portion of the Maricopa Trail, a 310-mile trail system that encircles the county and will eventually link all 10 of the county’s regional parks together. The mile-and-a-half of new trail links the Bulldog Canyon Area in the Tonto National Forest to Usery Mountain Regional Park in northeast Mesa, according to a press release.
“As our county continues to grow at an amazing rate, it becomes increasingly important to preserve a portion of our natural desert as open space,” Maricopa County Supervisors’ Chairman Steve Chucri said in the release. “As good stewards, we have an obligation to leave a legacy for future generations.”
The new trail connects the Forest Service’s Bulldog Trailhead on Usery Pass Road to Usery Mountain Regional Park. The trailhead primarily serves off-highway vehicle use; however, the new segment of trail is the only non-motorized trail leading from the Bulldog Trailhead.
“By connecting these two areas, hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians have a longer stretch of trail to recreate on. The trail is a non-motorized, multi-use trail, and is a critical piece to connect the Maricopa Trail to Usery Mountain Regional Park,” R.J. Cardin, Maricopa County Parks and Recreation director, said in the release.
The four-foot-wide trail maintains a grade of 10 percent, or less, throughout giving the user a trail that may be easily navigated. In addition to the new segment, work has been completed to rehabilitate a mile-and-a-half of trail on the Pass Mountain Trail inside Usery Mountain Regional Park.
The project was designed by Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department personnel with construction completed by Northwest Woodland Services and the Arizona Conservation Corps. Total cost for the construction of new trail and renovation of existing trail is estimated at $42,000.
The parks department worked with the Bureau of Reclamation, Central Arizona Project and Tonto National Forest to secure a recreational right-of-way, and are working to establish a trailhead at the west end of the trail alignment, according to the release.
The Maricopa Trail is a vast trail system and the department is always looking for individuals interested in volunteering their time and expertise to help maintain the trail. If you or your organization are able to assist with routine trail maintenance, contact the Maricopa County Parks and Recreation Department at 602-506-2930 or visit http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/volunteer.aspx.
To learn more about the Maricopa Trail or obtain trail maps, visit http://www.maricopa.gov/parks/MaricopaTrail/.
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