PAGE – Interconnecting trails in Lake Powell Country is now achievable through the Regional Trail Alliance Committee, according to Coconino County District 5 Supervisor Lena Fowler.
“Maybe they do not connect and now we can connect those trails, depending on what the community wants,” Fowler said in an interview with the Lake Powell Chronicle. “We can provide an opportunity to open those trails or improve those trails, so that people can stay longer in the community (of Page).”
The committee held its first meeting on July 27 at the Glen Canyon Natural History Association where Fowler presented the inaugural committee and its goal to create a positive economic impact through the development and maintenance of a tri-county – Coconino, Mohave, and Kane – trails system map.
All trail types will be considered for this map and interconnectivity between trails will be emphasized, said Fowler.
“They can take a hike or bike ride (on) the various trails (in the area) and then we’ll be able to keep people (here),” Fowler explained. “Maybe open more businesses and keep people employed longer. It’s really (about) generating jobs.”
She continued, “You can manage people through trails (and) direct them to where it’s OK for the visitors to be able to walk and explore the area. The main focus is on local.”
Fowler says there are trails in the area that are open only to the locals. These are things that will be discussed in upcoming meetings.
“Part of this is the Old Spanish Trail,” Fowler said. “So, if this was a national trail that has been improved, then we’d be able to draw people here and maybe somebody can open up a bike shop and a food stand along the way. Those are economic opportunities. That’s what we’re looking at right now.”
Mayor Bill Diak says the Old Spanish Trail is a historical trade route that connected the northern New Mexico settlements of Santa Fe, New Mexico, with those of Los Angeles and southern California.
“It runs around Page a bit then across the (Navajo) reservation,” Diak added.
Fowler says the establishment of this committee is only the beginning.
“We’d like to have people involved,” she added. “We don’t want to do it in isolation. The (nearby) Navajo chapters maybe want to have discussions about it and pass resolutions. But we want to have an open discussion in all of the communities. It’s just something we’re looking at in the region. There are a lot of existing trails.”
Fowler says those existing trails are throughout the area, including in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Grand Canyon, within Navajo Parks, and in public lands.
“What we’re trying to do is bring more people together so that we can look at local trails,” Fowler added.
The next committee meeting is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 7 at the Glen Canyon NHA building. The meeting will run from 10 p.m. until noon. Guest speakers include Kelly Stowell, chief coordinator for the area trails network for Kane County and Kanab, Utah.