Friends of Northern Arizona Forests (FoNAF) maintains an active awareness and involvement in trail conditions, hiker safety and hiker trail concerns around Flagstaff. Although not directly involved with trail building or monitoring hiking conditions, FoNAF supports the Forest Service in many ways to assure the safety and integrity of the many miles of hiking trails across the Coconino National Forest and most particularly in the Flagstaff Ranger District.
Below are several current programs and awareness activities that we provide leadership or work in coordination with other volunteer groups:
Preventative Search and Rescue
Preventative Search and Rescue (PSAR) programs exist at many popular national park and national forest trail heads. The concept is simple; the impact is significant. Volunteers are present during peak use periods to provide information on trail conditions, weather hazards, wildlife, proper hydration and personal safety.
FoNAF partners with the Forest Service to provide this service at high traffic trail heads such as the Humphryes Peak trail head adjacent to the Snowbowl Ski Resort. The season of highest usage is May through October with weekend days having the most visitors.
Our volunteers are positioned at the trail head greeting hikers, providing safety tips to enhance their experience of the wilderness and offering alternative trail options for those seeking less strenuous activity. Often other volunteers on the team venture out on the trail meeting visitors along the way, offering information regarding trail conditions, advice on weather and sometimes assisting with minor first aid issues.
Due to the nature of this program FoNAF coordinates with Coconino County Sheriff’s Office Search and Rescue on public awareness training, education and trail information efforts.
Trail Conditions and Hazards Monitoring
Fallen tree removal
As FoNAF volunteers encounter trees blocking trails or otherwise become aware of trees creating a potential hazard, arrangements are made with FoNAF’s Aspen Team to remove them.
Maintaining trail signage and notices
Signs indicating such things as wilderness rules and regulations are placed along various trails to inform users. On an as-needed basis FoNAF volunteers assist the Forest Service in erecting and maintaining these notices.