New trail rules to protect the forest may affect mountain bikers

SEDONA - New rules and pathways have been implemented in the Coconino National Forest to help preserve the environment and protect the area's natural resources. The changes could affect mountain bikers who enjoy traveling off the beaten path.

The Red Rock Ranger District of the Coconino Forest has restricted use on five cross-country areas -- Schnebly Hill, Airport, Carrol Canyon, Schuerman Mountain and Cathedral Rock -- while maintaining that all mountain bikers must remain on National Forest system trails, according to a press release.

"Mountain biking is a legitimate and growing use of the National Forest and especially around Sedona," said District Ranger Heather Provencio in a prepared statement. "However, we encourage a 'stay-on-trail' ethic for all users in all areas, and over the past several years we've noticed an increase in off-trail damage due to mountain biking."

Mountain bikers are still able to use official Forest Service trails, except in the Wilderness Area.

Public meetings have been held to help "plan and implement" long-term trail systems. More public meetings are planned.

You can visit the Coconino National Forest website for meeting times and more information.

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