7/10/2013 9:33:00 AM Proposed trailhead would connect Dewey-Humboldt trails to Lynx Lake
Granite Mountain Riders members Tammi Wilder, left, and Karen Magdaleno lead off their entry in the July 6 Frontier Days Parade in Prescott. The riders are supporting the establishment of a trailhead in Dewey-Humboldt.
Sandra Goodwin, a member of the equestrian group Granite Mountain Riders and chair of the town's Open Space and Trails committee, asked the Dewey-Humboldt town council on July 2 for approval to begin a partnership with the Prescott National Forest for the Newtown trailhead.
Hikers, bikers and equestrians access the trail at the end of Newtown Avenue where two Prescott National Forest trails begin. They often park vehicles on the privately-owned vacant lots or directly on the roadway which blocks access to PNF as well as any first responders in case of emergency.
Town staff previously contacted two absentee property owners on Newtown Avenue to see if there was any interest in leasing a portion of their property to create a parking area at the end of the 20-foot wide roadway that ends at the Prescott National Forest gates to existing Trails 9419 and 9405. One owner lives in Peoria and pays $291 in taxes; an owner in Maryland owns two parcels and pays $279 and $330.
"Neither was interested in allowing their properties to be used for public parking purposes in exchange of property tax paid by the town," said Town Manager Yvonne Kimball in her recommendation to council.
Kimball and the OSAT committee drafted a proposed letter to PNF District Ranger Linda Jackson advising her of the town's endorsement for the project and asking for a partnership with the agency. The town proposes the development of a primitive trailhead/parking lot on a small area just within the existing gate. PNF limits the trails to hikers, horses, bikes and vehicles smaller than 50-inches. These trails would connect to Lynx Lake and, eventually, to Poland Junction.
OSAT previously identified eight trailheads in its June 2010 plan. After a review of attributes and challenges of each, members determined that only one trailhead - Newtown - met its needs and would not require a multi-agency agreement that could take years to achieve. This trailhead also does not require a significant financial commitment from the town.
Just two days after 19 members of the Granite Mountain Hotshot crew perished in the Yarnell Hill Fire, Goodwin's voice quavered as she asked council members to approve the letter.
"One thing we were counting on were the Granite Mountain Hot Shots who had promised to help clear the trailhead on their downtown," she said. "Now, if the council agrees with this letter, we ask the community to come out and help clear the trail."
Council members voted unanimously to send the letter.