FLORENCE- The Pinal County Board of Supervisors is planning on a future that includes growth and an increase in trails throughout the rural and urban areas.
At a recent Board meeting, the Supervisors listened intently to a presentation by Kent Taylor owner of Round Trip Bike Shop in Casa Grande. Taylor's 15-minute presentation before the board highlighted his vision of a series of trails throughout the County. "Myself, and others, envision a time in the not too distant future that there will be trail links from communities within the county," Taylor said. He went on to explain that the definition of a trail, according to the Arizona Trails 2000 Plan, is "any pathway or roadway, usually unpaved, used for recreational activities."
Following the presentation, the Supervisors commended Taylor and the group of trails enthusiasts that attended the Board meeting. "I think the timing is excellent," said Supervisor Jimmie Kerr (District 3), "due to growth, now is the best time to plan for trails."
In December, Chairman Sandie Smith (District 2) was presented a check from the Arizona State Trails Heritage Fund for $132,000 to finance the development of a trailhead entrance to the Lost Goldmine Trail. Chairman Smith worked with the Superstition Area Land Trust (SALT), the Superstition Horsemen's Association, ADOBE and the Superstition Mountain Historical Society to help bring about the 11-mile trail located at the base of the Superstition Mountains.
"It's a quality of life issue and it's going to show from your efforts," Chairman Smith said following Taylor's presentation. "I'm pleased to be working with groups like the Superstition Horseman's Association, they're groups that can get things done."
Supervisor Lionel Ruiz (District 3) is continuing his commitment to working with groups like the Middle Gila Conservation Partnership to see that trails are a part of Pinal County. In his comments to Taylor and the trail enthusiasts, Supervisor Ruiz encouraged them to keep on working. "I would like to commend you for how you are going about this. Keep working on the partnerships you are developing with trail groups in the county."
Over President's Day weekend, over 4000 people converged on Willow Springs Ranch for the "24 Hours in the Old Pueblo" mountain bike race. Bikers from around the country tested their racing skills in the first big race of the mountain biking season. In fact, the event has become one of the largest independent races in the United States.
Todd Sadow, President of Epic Rides said he looks forward to working with the Board on the issue of trails inside Pinal County. Sadow's company oversees the development of the 24 Hours race and another mountain bike race in the Oracle, San Manuel and Mammoth area called the "Soul Ride."
"I would work with the Supervisors in a heartbeat," Sadow said while answering calls on his radio during the two-day race. "I know development will be here eventually and I would like to see the amenities nearby. It would be nice for people to spend their money here and not just in Pima County." After answering a call asking when the riders would have to have their lights mounted on their bikes Sadow added, "Events like this have a real good economic benefit for the area."
When asked about the economic benefit he has seen during the early stages of the event, C.J. Vincent of Way Out West Lodging and Bicycling summed it up by saying, "This thing has gotten big, just look at all the license plates!"