The Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNFs) has approximately 1080 miles of hiking trails throughout the five ranger districts; Alpine, Black Mesa, Clifton, Lakeside, and Springerville. They range in elevation from the deserts of the Clifton Ranger District to the Escudilla Mountain on the Alpine Ranger District which exceeds 10,000 feet, as does Mount Baldy on the Springerville Ranger District.
Many volunteers help maintain the trails on the ASNFs. The Forest Service also employs seasonal trail crews. Some of these hard working seasonal trail crews spent the last couple of weeks clearing some of the popular trails, the East, West and Crossover trails on Mount Baldy in the Mount Baldy Wilderness. They also cleared all of the fallen trees on the Escudilla Trail in the Escudilla Wilderness.
Throughout the winter trails become tangled with fallen trees, and eroded by flooding, making it very difficult for hikers to navigate in the spring. The ASNFs hire seasonal trail crews to help maintain these many miles of trails. There are five or six people hired each year on the Apache National Forest to accomplish this enormous task.
While the crews do not have the time or manpower to reestablish all the miles of trails on the forests each year, they do try to maintain as many miles of trails as their time and efforts allow. Each year they go to different parts of the forest to maintain the numerous miles trails. For the remainder of the season, this crew’s efforts will be clearing trails in the Blue Range Primitive Area.
Just a reminder that trees will continue to come down across the trails, what is clear today may not be clear tomorrow. Please be responsible, make sure someone knows where you are going and when you will return.