By Bev Showalter
CLRC Trails Committee Leader
Contact me for any trail, maintenance, gate problems/issues.
Don’t forget State Land permits are required to ride over, drive on or park on State Lands. We must follow the LAW and set a good example for others.
Deer Camp News: On Saturday. May 4. Lee and Bev Showalter and Terry Minor rode out at 5:45 AM up to Deer Camp to check on the water catchment built a couple months ago. The recent rains resulted in mega growth of all plants so I was clipping like mad. The trail is fairly clear and the two re-routes around dangerous spots we did last winter are still good. So many deer are out and it was fragrant and exhilarating to ride that time of morning. The horses were feeling good too. Water was still running down the upper creek, amazingly. Upon arriving at camp, the drinker was half full and new water was not filling in. So we tied up the horses, gathered up our tools, and hiked way up to the spring. I continued to clear trail. Terry and Lee found the spring dry. It no longer produces any water. Terry started looking for the water source above and to the north in that canyon und he did indeed find a spring that was running good. By the time I made it to the new catchment they built, I found "Sherwood Forest" in that part of the canyon. We pulled pipe from the dry spring and re-piped to the new spring. I had to clear heavy brush and a mesquite tree that was growing sideways on the pound. Glad I had my new Japanese saw. This all took about 2.5 hours. We were not hot at all up there Just warm. From Deer Camp, the views up the canyon are awesome. Still can see some water seeping down the rocks. I now call Lee and Terry "The Wilderness Plumbers." When we all got back down to the drinker, water was flowing at a fast clip. Success! If you want to ride up there, plan on 2 hours up and difficult riding, but you can get there just fine. If you go, take your clippers and continue to clip along the way. If we ALL do that as we go along, trails will be in better shape
After numerous trips up to divert water to the drinker, the water flow has stopped. The spring we had for decades has gone dry. We have a catchment built on the other side of the little canyon to catch any runoff from snow and rain so that now will be the only time the drinker will fill with water. It is very disappointing after 25 years of taking care of this drinker for have it to come to this. We know a rancher in Oracle that said in the past couple years he knows of two springs that have gone dry on the other side of the Catalinas.
Empirita Ranch Update: June 1 Sue Clark, Pima Trails President who was in charge of this project, members from CLRC and TSC converged on the county-owned part of the ranch to clean out the many years of crap out of both barns In the east barn, Scotty and Bill got up on top of both tack room and kitchen area roofs to swing down 20 years of junk up there and the 8" of rat middlings. There was rat feces/urine dust everywhere and despite our respirators, I got really sick. I am still coughing. The east barn was full of numerous pallets, all with rat nests in them, and the crew got them all out along with a mattress and various items left in there from over the years. What a mess. Numerous wasp nests were in the east barn and some got stung. Everyone brought their tools and respirators and did a stupendous job. It was a sight to see. We got to kill a couple of really large rats too. The two evaporative coolers hanging by ropes above the horse corrals inside were loaded with wasp nests. The county will have to deal with that. Outside at the horse/cattle wash rack areas, Lee and Gary started to haul the junk from there and stirred up a bee nest. The county will have to deal with that too. Over at the dressage corral area, there was a wasp nest inside the wood, so work halted there too. Both barns were cleaned to perfection. The TSC crew also started on the trees and brush around the north barn. Looked good. MANY, many thanks to all of you who took your Saturday and participated in the project. We had lunch then left. Photos and a report, drawn up by Sue Clark, went to the county as was required. There is a large list of “to do" items at that location before anyone can go there overnight. Welding, moving of corral fence for entry to the field, plumbing and electrical all have to be done first. The county won’t let any of us do that because of liability. I hope in the future they will allow us to do some of that, we are chomping at the bit to get there and “do this.” So we’ll see how this progresses in the fall. Stay tuned.
•UPDATE* A core group met at Sue Clark’s to form “Friends of Empirita Ranch." Discussed was a myriad of issues concerning starting up a new group. However, we MUST do this in order to keep Empirita in the hands of equestrians. It is very exciting what can be in store for us and Mark Flint stated that Chuck Huckelberry is behind us and wants an equestrian facility in Pima County. At the August board meeting, we will discuss how CLRC wants to be involved
NEW: In the June 30 Arizona Daily Star, there was an article about the county budget and how the board of superintendents were mulling taking 40% of Flood Control funds. These are the funds we will rely on for Empirita clean up. OMG now what. Let's hope they don’t cut those funds in the budget.
AZ Trail News: On May 31, Gov. Ducey signed the state budget for the coming fiscal year and it included $250,000 for the AZ TRAIL FUND! These funds will be used to hire conservation corps for projects that are beyond the reach of most volunteers, some in remote areas. The CCC hires veterans I heard. Since the AZT lost a lot of federal funding this year, this is the boost the AZT needed indeed. Just released is news of a new trail and two new trailheads re-routing the AZT around the Rosemont Mine near Sonoita. This is really good news. This will be 11 miles of trails and the many years awaited trailhead in Oak Tree Canyon. Anticipated completion will be November 2019.
On June 18, I met with the head of trails/parks/rec for Pinal County. We discussed the Tortolitas, his trails plan, trailhead location, and all about State land Dept and how they will not play ball anymore. So these plans will sit until Pinal County somehow finds a workaround to get some nudging to SLD so we can get the trailhead we so much deserve on our side of the Tortolitas. Disappointing. However, we do not back off. We’ll keep at it and Pinal County is behind our desire for a trailhead below the Chalk Mine.
Steve Anderson, Pima County Sr. Planner, reports the CAP/Tangerine trailhead and trail project is close to construction. Partnered with Marana and Marana DOT, the project will extend from just north of Tangerine to the Pinal County line where it will be met by the 10-mile CAP trail project that will be undertaken by Pinal County. Predictions arc to be completed in 2019.
On July 11,I signed a petition, on behalf of CLRC, to protest and denounce all efforts to allow e-bikes wherever regular bikes are allowed in National Parks. Right now e-bikes are not allowed. This is a national effort by the mountain biking community and they are trying to get e-bikes allowed on non-motorized trails, nationwide. E-Bikes ARE motorized travel and don’t belong on non-motorized trails. Can you imagine coming up on one of those while you are riding? The accident that would result could be very serious.
Don't forget State Land permits are required to ride on, or park on State Lands. We must follow the LAW and set a good example for others. While riding on State Land please have your permit with you and displayed on your parked truck's dashboard. Don't confuse State Land Permits with State park passes/permits. They are separate permits.
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