Hearings and Business Meetings

SD-366 Energy Committee Hearing Room 10:00 AM

Larry Snead

President, Arizona Trail Association

 TESTIMONY OF LARRY SNEAD, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR OF THE ARIZOAN TRAIL ASSOCIATION
On S. 588, the Arizona Trail Feasibility Study Act
Subcommittee on National Parks of the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
June 28, 2005

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

Mr. Chairman and Members of the Senate National Parks Subcommittee, I am very pleased and honored to have the opportunity to offer my testimony on S. 588, the Arizona Trail Feasibility Study Act.  My name is Larry Snead and I am the Executive Director of the Arizona Trail Association.


ATA

Before I tell you about the Arizona Trail, I’d first like to talk about the Arizona Trail Association.   Founded in 1994, the Arizona Trail Association (or ATA) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to brining the Arizona Trail to completion-- a trail that is now becoming one of the premiere long-distance trails in the county.   Our supporters greatly value the recreational resource of the Arizona Trail and are dedicated to ensuring its development and maintenance for the future enjoyment of others.

For the past decade, the Arizona Trail Association has coordinated over 2,000 ATA volunteers and more than 16 federal, state and local agencies, as well as many businesses and organizations, to plan, develop and manage the Arizona Trail.  In 2004 alone, a total of 47,258 ATA volunteer hours were recorded in 2004.

On behalf of the Arizona Trail Association, our volunteers, and all Arizona Trail users, I thank the committee for providing this hearing.


AZ TRAIL

Mr. Chairman, to my side is a general map of the existing Arizona Trail.

The Arizona Trail is a scenic, non-motorized trail that stretches for 800 miles through some of the state’s most renowned mountains, canyons, deserts and forests.  The Trail links these special landscapes with people and communities. The Trail begins in the Coronado National Memorial at the U.S./Mexico border and ends at the Arizona/Utah border in the North.  As it connects these two points, the Trail winds through some of the most rugged, spectacular landscape in the Western United States. 
The Arizona Trail encompasses a wide range of ecological diversity in the state, extending through 7 life zones, including such legendary landmarks as the Sonoran Desert and the Grand Canyon.  It connects the lowland desert flora and fauna in Saguaro National Park and the pine-covered San Francisco Peaks, Arizona’s highest mountains at 12,633 feet in elevation.

The Arizona Trail was first envisioned by Flagstaff schoolteacher and outdoor enthusiast, Dale Shewalter, in the 1970's.  Today, Dale’s vision of a continuous border-to-borer trail traversing Arizona’s unique landscape has become a reality for hikers, equestrians, mountain bicyclists, and cross-country skiers who wish to experience the magnificent scenery Arizona has to offer.

718 miles of the Arizona Trail have been completed, signed and open to the public.  We have 82 miles remaining to build, all of which is on federal land.

The Arizona Trail passes through 4 National Parks, 4 National Forest, land managed by 2 BLM Field Offices, 1 State Park and 6 Wilderness Areas.
70% of the Arizona Trail is on National Forest, 10% on BLM, 10% on Arizona State Trust Land, 8% on National Parks and 2% private (the Babbitt Ranches north of Flagstaff and the Babbitt Foundation is in the process of donating an Arizona Trail easement to Coconino County).

The Arizona corporate community is very supportive of the Arizona Trail and the ATA is pleased to have the support of Arizona icon companies such as Phelps Dodge, Arizona Public Service, Salt River Project, Resolution Copper, REI, Wells Fargo, Southwest Gas, and National Bank of Arizona. 

With the help of our supporters, the ATA has completed the fieldwork, editing, and photography for the Official Arizona Trail Guidebook to be available in fall 2005, and I would be happy to provide a copy to the subcommittee.  I am also pleased to provide you with an ATA report on the progress of the Arizona Trail project.

Thank you for the opportunity today to speak to you about the Arizona Trail. It is truly a recreational resource of national significance and has all the qualifications to be a National Scenic Trail which will become evident should a feasibility study be authorized by Congress. 

Before closing, I’d like to thank Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl who have been invaluable in their support of the Arizona Trail and have brought this legislation forward to this day.

Mr. Chairman and distinguished members of the Subcommittee, on behalf of the Arizona Trail Association Board of Directors I would ask that you support the passage of S. 588.

With that, I am available to answer questions.