BUILD.RIDE.PROTECT

SDMB Blog

  • 3 Oct 2019 8:11 PM | Anonymous

    Fantasy Island Update 10/3/19

    Representatives from SDMB, TORCA, and SAMBA continue to work to preserve the core of the Fantasy Island trail system, and we are reaching the home stretch.  On 9/26/19 we met with attorney Keri Sylvan (representing the Arizona State Land Department) and Teresa Olson from Council Member Shirley Scott's office.  In short, the Planned Community Development (PCD) is moving forward to preserve the majority of Lone Cactus, Bo's, Burro's and Christmas Tree Loop trails.  See our prior blog post for info on the PCD and other background.

    On Monday, October 7 the PCD goes to the City of Tucson Zoning Examiner for review, and assuming no issues come up the PCD will then go to Mayor and Council for approval at the November City Council Meeting.  For those who want to attend the Zoning Examiner Public Hearing, it will be at 6:00 PM at the Mayor and Council chambers downtown (255 W. Alameda).  

    If you can't attend the meeting but want to submit a letter of support (please!) you can find a draft letter here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/01qbkxv9va9rpu0/Draft%20Support%20Letters%20from%20Fantasy%20Island.docx?dl=0

    Important take-home points are:

    1. Fantasy Island is not getting closed.
    2. Most of the Northern part of the trail system will be permanently preserved.
    3. Some trails will be lost (specifically Bunny and the rest of the trails on the Southern part of the trail system).  This is all following the 2006 Master Plan.
    4. The City of Tucson and AZSLD have worked consistently with representatives from the MTB community to preserve as much of the trail system as possible.
    5. Preserved trails will be designated MTB-specific, preserving the core character of the trail system.
    6. While the exact preservation designation is not known yet (sale, lease, SLUP permit) once the PCD is approved by Mayor and Council it will be final and enforceable, meaning the majority of the trail system will be permanently preserved as open space.
    7. SDMB, TORCA, and SAMBA are working with the City to develop agreements to allow maintenance of the preserved trails, along with improvements and potential additional mileage to replace what will be lost.  New trails will be beginner-friendly to compensate for loss of the Bunny Loop.  Moving forward, trail maintenance and development will likely fall under the SDMB umbrella (with support from TORCA and SAMBA) as SDMB has existing agreements with the City of Tucson.  Stay tuned for details about how to get involved in a steering committee if you want to help).

    Here is some background from Keri Sylvan:

    "The Arizona State Land Department (“State Land Department”) is working with the City of Tucson (“City”) to rezone approximately 2500 acres of State Trust Land (“Trust Land”) along Houghton Road to the Atterbury Trails Planned Community Development (“PCD”).  See attached map for boundary of the PCD.   The PCD is a zoning entitlement that allows flexibility in location of uses and overall master-planning of very large acreages within the Houghton Area Master Plan (“HAMP”) that will be developed over a 20-40-year time horizon. 

    The State Land Department is Trustee of over 9 million acres of land throughout the State of Arizona that it manages for 13 specific beneficiaries, primarily the State education system.  State Land’s role is to ensure that all trust lands are held, leased, and/or sold to maximize the financial return for those beneficiaries.  This Trust Land is part of the 7800 acres of State Land within the HAMP boundary.

                   As part of the PCD process, the State Land Department has reviewed the Fantasy Island Master Plan and, in working with City staff, the Ward IV office and Fantasy Island stakeholders, State Land is proposing to formalize the portion of Fantasy Island near Irvington Road as Open Space/City Park (over 200 acres of land) pursuant to the attached map.  The PCD would acknowledge this area as Open Space with the Fantasy Island park and mountain bike trails in a similar regulatory manner as the Saguaro Trails PAD.  The City and State Land will be working through a separate process for the City to either own, lease or otherwise obtain a permit to use this area of the PCD for Fantasy Island.  This treatment in the PCD brings forward the vision in the Fantasy Island Master Plan and solidifies the rights for Fantasy Island users in this area of the PCD for generations to come.  Fantasy Island stakeholders acknowledge that this means there will need to be some re-routing of trails on the western edge of the Open Space per the PCD map to permit a 300-foot buffer and option for a Harrison Road connection into the future.  In addition, the Fantasy Island Trails south of the Mattamy development and City Water site will be removed once those areas are ready to be auctioned by the State Land Department to an end-user.  Fantasy Island and the City will continue to work with the State Land Department and the end-users to provide appropriate connectivity from new homes/development to the bicycle trails balanced with protection of those trails into the future."

    And more info about the PCD:

    "The Arizona State Land Department (“State Land Department”) is working with the City of Tucson (“City”) to rezone approximately 2500 acres of State Trust Land (“Trust Land”) along Houghton Road to the Atterbury Trails Planned Community Development (“PCD”).  See attached map for boundary of the PCD.   The PCD is a zoning entitlement that allows flexibility in location of uses and overall master-planning of very large acreages within the Houghton Area Master Plan (“HAMP”) that will be developed over a 20-40-year time horizon. 

    The State Land Department is Trustee of over 9 million acres of land throughout the State of Arizona that it manages for 13 specific beneficiaries, primarily the State education system.  State Land’s role is to ensure that all trust lands are held, leased, and/or sold to maximize the financial return for those beneficiaries.  This Trust Land is part of the 7800 acres of State Land within the HAMP boundary.

                   As part of the PCD process, the State Land Department has reviewed the Fantasy Island Master Plan and, in working with City staff, the Ward IV office and Fantasy Island stakeholders, State Land is proposing to formalize the portion of Fantasy Island near Irvington Road as Open Space/City Park (over 200 acres of land) pursuant to the attached map.  The PCD would acknowledge this area as Open Space with the Fantasy Island park and mountain bike trails in a similar regulatory manner as the Saguaro Trails PAD.  The City and State Land will be working through a separate process for the City to either own, lease or otherwise obtain a permit to use this area of the PCD for Fantasy Island.  This treatment in the PCD brings forward the vision in the Fantasy Island Master Plan and solidifies the rights for Fantasy Island users in this area of the PCD for generations to come.  Fantasy Island stakeholders acknowledge that this means there will need to be some re-routing of trails on the western edge of the Open Space per the PCD map to permit a 300-foot buffer and option for a Harrison Road connection into the future.  In addition, the Fantasy Island Trails south of the Mattamy development and City Water site will be removed once those areas are ready to be auctioned by the State Land Department to an end-user.  Fantasy Island and the City will continue to work with the State Land Department and the end-users to provide appropriate connectivity from new homes/development to the bicycle trails balanced with protection of those trails into the future." 

    GO HERE TO READ THE FULL ATTERBURY TRAILS PCD DOCUMENT



  • 28 Sep 2019 5:03 PM | Anonymous

    THE 2019 MLGG RAFFLE IS HERE!

    Support trails and win sweet prizes in the 2019 Mt. Lemmon Gravel Grinder Raffle!  Tickets start at only $10, and the more you buy the better your chances!  Winners will be announced at the 2019 Mt. Lemmon Gravel Grinder on October 26, 2019.

    Prizes include:

    • Entry for two to the Sedona MTB Festival (March 2020)
    • 3C Ranch Adventure Package, including 2 nights' lodging at the 3C Ranch in Oracle and out outing to Arizona Zipline Adventures
    • $400 Gift Card for Tucson Endurance Performance Center
    • (2) POC Helmets from Sabino Cycles
    • Prize Pack from Blue Dog Bicycles including Blue Dog team kit, cap, bike service, and taco socks!
    • One of (3) Brunch for Two Gift Cards from 5 Points Market
    • $100 Gift Card for Divine Bovine 
    • Slide Rack Bike Rack Solution
    • $50 Gift Card for Oro Valley Bicycle
    • One of (2) Specialized MTB Helmets from Oro Valley Bicycle

    GO HERE TO GET YOUR TICKETS!



  • 8 Aug 2019 10:00 PM | Anonymous

    Fantasy Island Update, August 2019. PLEASE READ!

    Hopefully you all have seen our posts and updates over the last few years about the Mattamy Homes/Saguaro Trails development and the Tucson Water/SHARP recharge project.  Anyone who rides Fantasy Island knows that major changes have been happening, and more are coming.  To see the original 2006 Master Plan and get the historical perspective, GO HERE

    Several months ago representatives from SDMB, TORCA, and SAMBA were contacted by Council Member Shirley Scott’s Office and local attorney Keri Sylan (on behalf of the Arizona State Land Department, or AZSLD) to meet and discuss the future of Fantasy Island.  In short, most of the land that Fantasy Island currently occupies is owned by the AZSLD and has no permanent protection.  We have known for years that some of the land would be sold and developed, and the 2006 Master Plan represented a monumental community effort to preserve as much of the trails as possible.  Fast forward to 2019, and the AZSLD is preparing to sell 2,500 acres of land in the Houghton/Valencia area which includes much of Fantasy Island.  To the best of our understanding, originally the AZSLD had no intention of honoring the 2006 Master Plan or preserving any of the trails (which they had no legal obligation to do) and the City of Tucson was able to negotiate the current arrangement. 

    We acknowledge that the loss of any trails, especially ones as important as Fantasy Island, is tragic and the sale and eventual development will impact many riders.  The SDMB board truly believes that the 2006 Master Plan and the proposed preservation arrangement is the best offer on the table and that continued negotiation/advocacy will not bring any additional benefit.  We will continue to advocate for preservation of as much of the original trail system as possible, and will work to minimize overall loss of mileage.

    The good news:

    • Most of the trails that were slated for preservation in the 2006 Master Plan will be preserved and managed as open space by the City of Tucson.  These include most of Lone Cactus, Bo’s/Burros, and Christmas Tree.  The exception is a 300-foot corridor that will run north/south along the DMAFB fenceline which will be held for a possible Harrison Rd. extension.
    • The preserved trails will become system trails managed by City of Tucson.  We will be able to maintain them and hope to make substantial improvements, including signage and potential features.
    • There is the potential to develop additional mileage of trails within the preserved area, reducing the overall loss of mileage.
    • At this point, the City’s position is that the trails should remain MTB-specific and directional, allowing riders to continue to ride at speed and not worry about user conflict.
    • Any development is several years out (not including current development by Mattamy and Tucson Water).
    • The City of Tucson already owns land in the area.  See the map at the bottom of the post.

    The bad news:

    • Development is coming to the area, and there isn’t really any way to stop it.  Arizona State Land Trust lands are not public lands like Pima County or National Forest Lands, and are specifically slated for sale.
    • The southern part of the trail system will be sold and developed.  This includes Bunny Loop, Snake Dance, and Bunny’s Revenge.  There is still potential to negotiate with the eventual developer for preservation of existing trail corridors or development of new ones, but we won’t know anything until the land goes up for auction and a developer purchases it.
    • Houses will be built very close to the trails in some spots, resulting in potential conflict with neighbors.

    What you can do:

    • Attend the public meeting on Tuesday, August 20th at 6:00 PM.  Meeting will be held at the Santa Rita High School Auditorium, 3951 S. Pantano Rd.  Learn more about the long-term plans and how you can help. GO HERE TO READ THE MEETING NOTICE
    • Contact your City Council member and let them know how important Fantasy Island is to you.
    • Support Tucson's advocacy organizations!  SDMB, TORCA, and SAMBA all work tirelessly to advocate for trails and mountain bike access.  Our members are our biggest asset, and too few riders actually step up and provide financial support.
    • Stay tuned for more details.

    QUESTIONS? COMMENTS? PLEASE EMAIL TRAILSTEWARD@SDMB.ORG.

    READ BELOW FOR THE STATEMENT FROM THE ARIZONA STATE LAND DEPARTMENT AND CITY OF TUCSON…

    Atterbury Trails PCD and Fantasy Island

    The Arizona State Land Department (“State Land Department”) is working with the City of Tucson (“City”) to rezone approximately 2500 acres of State Trust Land (“Trust Land”) along Houghton Road to the Atterbury Trails Planned Community Development (“PCD”).  See attached map for boundary of the PCD.   The PCD is a zoning entitlement that allows flexibility in location of uses and overall master-planning of very large acreages within the Houghton Area Master Plan (“HAMP”) that will be developed over a 20-40-year time horizon. 

    The State Land Department is Trustee of over 9 million acres of land throughout the State of Arizona that it manages for 13 specific beneficiaries, primarily the State education system.  State Land’s role is to ensure that all trust lands are held, leased, and/or sold to maximize the financial return for those beneficiaries.  This Trust Land is part of the 7800 acres of State Land within the HAMP boundary.

    As part of the PCD process, the State Land Department has reviewed the Fantasy Island Master Plan and, in working with City staff, the Ward IV office and Fantasy Island stakeholders, State Land is proposing to formalize the portion of Fantasy Island near Irvington Road as Open Space/City Park (over 200 acres of land) pursuant to the attached map.  The PCD would acknowledge this area as Open Space with the Fantasy Island park and mountain bike trails in a similar regulatory manner as the Saguaro Trails PAD.  The City and State Land will be working through a separate process for the City to either own, lease or otherwise obtain a permit to use this area of the PCD for Fantasy Island.  This treatment in the PCD brings forward the vision in the Fantasy Island Master Plan and solidifies the rights for Fantasy Island users in this area of the PCD for generations to come.  Fantasy Island stakeholders acknowledge that this means there will need to be some re-routing of trails on the western edge of the Open Space per the PCD map to permit a 300-foot buffer and option for a Harrison Road connection into the future.  In addition, the Fantasy Island Trails south of the Mattamy development and City Water site will be removed once those areas are ready to be auctioned by the State Land Department to an end-user.  Fantasy Island and the City will continue to work with the State Land Department and the end-users to provide appropriate connectivity from new homes/development to the bicycle trails balanced with protection of those trails into the future. 

     



  • 7 Aug 2019 3:00 PM | Jeffrey Gicklhorn (Administrator)

    As nearly everyone knows, Tucson and southern Arizona gets HOT in the summer. But that doesn’t mean that mountain bikers stop riding. Long time desert rats have made accommodations with the extreme weather to keep on riding despite the heat. Here are a few quick tips and tricks for staying in the saddle through the hot months, especially if you’re a newer rider or visiting the area during the summer:

    1. Set an Alarm: One of the things that we have learned is that you have to switch when you ride to times when it is cooler. Getting out early and setting the motto of “Off the Trail by 8” will help you get your fix in. The sun comes up early in southern Arizona so getting motivated by riding in the cooler morning hours is a great way to stay active even during the hottest months.
    2. Become a Night Owl: The other option is night riding is one way to beat the extreme heat. Many riding groups keep riding all through the summer! Temperatures might still be in the 90s, but the harsh sun will be down. But be sure to get bright lights—one for your helmet and one for your handlebars. Having adequate light is a key to minimizing mishaps on the trail.
    3. Get High: Explore higher elevation riding areas. Mount Lemmon / Santa Catalina Mtns has a plethora of trails above 7,000 ft, however most of them are upper-intermediate to advanced. This is the only real high elevation riding area within day-trip distance of Tucson. High elevation (>7,000 ft) weekend options in the state include Mount Graham / Pinaleño Mtns (3 hrs), Pinetop-Lakeside / White Mtns and Mogollon Rim / Cabin Loops  (3.5-4.5 hrs), and Flagstaff / San Francisco Peaks (4 hrs). Additionally, mid-elevation (4,500-7,000 ft) areas include Silver City, NM (3 hrs), Payson (3 hrs), Prescott, and Sedona (both 3.5 hrs) offer good options when it's still in the 90's in Tucson. All have readily available camping opportunities where you can ride from your site as well as trails of all technical ability and length.
    4. Drink Excessively: This tip seems to go without saying but if you read the news much, every summer sees the deaths of recreationists who do not take adequate water on their excursions. Don’t be another statistic. Take more water than you think you’ll need. We recommend at minimum of 1 liter per hour of riding, however you may require more. A hydration pack is a great option to keeping hydrated because it is readily available whereas if you have to stop and pull a bottle out of your pack, you are less likely to drink often.
    5. Get Drunk on Power(ade): Maintaining a proper electrolyte balance is essential to stave off fatigue and muscle cramps in the heat. If your bike has a bottle cage, bring along a bottle with electrolyte mix, otherwise throw an extra bottle in your hydration pack. Adding electrolyte mix to hydration bladders is generally a bad idea; it can gum up the drinking hose and can be hard to clean. Having both plain water and electrolytes allows riders to balance their consumption based on how they are feeling.
    6. Pig Out: Food is essential when riding in the heat, so make sure to bring snacks with you. Sealed bars and goo packets are quick and already packaged for individual consumption. Look for foods that are high-glycemic, meaning that the carbohydrates are bio-available quickly. A snack at the right can help stave off cramps and the hangrys and help you finish the ride quickly. Look to consume at minimum 100-200 calories per hour of riding.
    7. Chill Out: Freezing water bottles or adding ice to hydration packs before riding is a great way to keep your fluids colder and more enjoyable. One option is to buy a small plastic bottle (something like Smart Water), cut the bottom off it, turn it upside down, and fill it with water (leaving the lid on). Then I carefully place it in my freezer, standing up. Thirty minutes before I leave home to go riding, take it out of the freezer and place it in your kitchen sink—standing up. This time allows the block of ice to start thawing so it will easily slip out of the plastic container. Put some water in your hydration pack, and then slip the block of ice inside. This keeps your water cold for most long rides. Cold water is a godsend on summer rides.
    8. Breathe Deeply: Wear light, breathable clothes. Clothes that readily evaporate your sweat will make riding cooler as long as you keep moving. Most riding jerseys are made of breathable fabric. Look for well-ventilated helmets and gloves to stay more comfortable.
    9. Keep it Short and Sweet: Go for shorter rides when it is hot. Don’t try to set speed records or hit century mark. Leave the feats of Superman to another time of year. Just getting out every day you can is an accomplishment.

    Here is southern Arizona, we are fortunate that we can mountain bike nearly every day of the year because of our great weather. But we have to make adjustments in summer. Hopefully these tips will help you get out even during the hottest times and still be safe.


  • 10 Jul 2019 11:26 AM | Jeffrey Gicklhorn (Administrator)

    E-Bikes, or electric bikes, have become increasingly popular in recent years with most major bike companies selling at least one mountain E-Bike. They have become wildly accepted across much of the rest of the world, however there has been significant pushback to their acceptance in the United States. Here we strive to objectively discuss some of the ongoing controversy around E-Bikes, lay out the rules governing E-Bike usage for different land managers, and lastly identify where they can and cannot be ridden in the greater Tucson area.

    Note that SDMB as an organization DOES NOT have an position about E-Bike usage, however, we partner with multiple land-management agencies to build, maintain, and advocate for trails in the area and therefore feel it is our responsibility to explain and discuss local policy and potential controversy surrounding E-Bikes. Understanding the history of the debate over mechanized vs. motorized recreational designations is important to understanding the current debate over E-Bike usage, especially for e-mountain bikes on multiple-use singletrack trails.

    ^ “The Elephant in the Room” by Stephen Haynes (originally published in DirtRag 2015)

    What is an E-Bike?

    There is a range of classifications for E-Bikes (see classifications below), but at minimum all have a battery powered motor and pedal-assist function. Additionally, class 2 E-Bikes have a throttle that can work without pedaling. E-Bikes have provided a great resource for bicyclists who could not ride certain terrain or certain distances (due to injury, illness, or lack of physical ability) by providing an additional battery powered pedal-assist or throttle function. This also presents a potential problem, as the pedal assist and throttle functions allow more power to be transferred by any particular rider into the riding surface.

    The three E-Bike classes are defined as follows:

    Class 1: E-Bikes that are pedal-assist only, with no throttle, and have a maximum assisted speed of 20 mph.

    Class 2: E-Bikes that also have a maximum speed of 20 mph, but are throttle-assisted.

    Class 3: E- Bikes that are pedal-assist only, with no throttle, and a maximum assisted speed of 28 mph.

    *All classes limit the motor’s power to 1 horsepower (750W).

    Classification of E-Bikes differs based on land-management agency and riding area. Many agencies (U.S. Government: US Forest Service / Bureau of Land Management / National Park Service, Pima County) define all E-Bikes as motorized therefore only allowing E-Bikes where other motorized vehicles (e.g. motorcycles) can also travel. However, some agencies (locally, the State of Arizona) consider class 1 E-Bikes to be functionally similar to non-E-Bikes and therefore allow them to travel everywhere that a mechanized bicycle can also travel. This disparity in interpretation means that is E-Bike access is not ubiquitous across all trail networks. From here on we will only discuss Class 1 E-Bikes as they relate to traditional road and mountain bikes due their popularity and to their variation in regulation by land-management agencies.

    Additionally, E-Bikes were initially very easy to spot, as they had an externally mounted battery, large motor case, and heads up control panel (e.g. Haibike SDURO shown below). However, as E-Bike design has progressed in recent years, they have come to look increasingly like non-E-Bikes (e.g. Specialized Turbo Levo below). This “blending in” of E-Bikes has led to difficulty in differentiating E-Bikes from normal bikes for park and law enforcement rangers and therefore regulating them within different agencies.


    What’s all the controversy about?

    Remember the mention of motorized vs. mechanized travel above? This debate stemmed from federal agency interpretations of the Wilderness Act of 1964 (Act) (for much more information on federal wilderness click here). That act defined motorized methods of travel as inconsistent with wilderness character and banned motorized travel within all future wilderness areas. Separate federal agencies then interpreted the Act, subsequently developing their own regulations governing recreational use within wilderness areas managed by each agency. In those regulations, the U.S. Forest Service defined bicycles as a mechanized form of transport, as they are human powered but provide a mechanical advantage (via gearing) to the rider. The agencies also interpreted that mechanized travel was not consistent with wilderness character and banned mechanized forms of transport (including bicycling) from all current and future wilderness areas. Additionally, there is a currently a push by some members of the mountain bike community to reopen that debate about the interpretation of whether mechanized travel is consistent with wilderness character, as it was not explicitly stated in the Act and bicycles were riding previously in areas that have since been designated wilderness.  That long-term debate directly influences the current debate about E-Bike usage on designated non-motorized trails within the United States today.

    Federal trails and roads are all specifically designated based on the types of allowable uses on that trail or road through the formal travel management process. These use types include hiking, horseback riding, bicycle riding, motorcycle riding, larger off-highway vehicle (OHV) driving, and street-legal vehicle driving (see table below). As E-Bikes are considered motorized, they are lumped in with motorcycles in where they are allowed to ride on federal lands. Many trails in popular riding locations (e.g. Santa Catalina Mountains) are designated as non-motorized, therefore E-Bikes are not allowed on those trails. Additionally, many state and local jurisdictions (locally, Pima County) have adopted federal guidelines for designating allowable uses on trails to maintain consistency with adjacent federal lands.

    ^ U.S. Forest Service singletrack trail signage in Sedona, AZ

    Allowable uses by trail/road designation:

    Designation

    Allowable Uses

    Non-motorized/non-mechanized trail

    Hiking, horseback riding

    Non-motorized trail

    Hiking, horseback riding, bicycling

    Primitive motorized trail

    Hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, E-Bike / motorcycle riding

    Primitive motorized road

    Hiking, horseback riding, bicycling, E-Bike / motorcycle riding, OHV driving

    Improved motorized road

    All other uses and street-legal vehicles


    Regardless of how you feel about the wilderness debate or how mountain bikes or E-Bikes have been classified by federal agencies, current regulations govern where and how we can recreate. Not following posted regulations not only opens you up to a citation from law enforcement, but it also risks losing continued future access for all mountain bikers on our local trails.

    So, where can I ride an E-Bike?

    In order to answer this question, you need to know what agency manages your local riding area. If you don’t already know, please read our first SDMB In the Know dispatch: Land Managers 101. E-Bikes are prohibited from all non-motorized trails managed by any federal agency or Pima County. E-Bikes are allowed on state lands, City of Tucson property, and trails managed by the Town of Marana (please see the table below for specific riding areas). *Note that as the Arizona Trail was designated as a federal non-motorized National Scenic Trail, E-Bikes are not allowed on it even if it is passing through lands that would otherwise allow E-Bikes (i.e. AZT in Oracle State Park). Additionally, while the Town of Marana has provided funding for trail construction and now maintains trails within Tortolita Mountain Park, Pima County manages this land, so E-Bikes are not allowed on the Ridgeline/Wild Burro Loop and roughly the upper half of Wild Mustang. Bikes (and E-Bikes) are only allowed on specific Town of Marana managed trails in the area including Lower Wild Burro (above Alamo Spring Spur)*, Alamo Spring Trail and Spur*, lower Wild Mustang, upper Javelina, and the Tortolita Preserve (* Note as these trails are accessed through the Tortolita Mountain Park, one could not ride an E-Bike to these trails). Finally, note that there are also many Forest Service motorized trails and roads (north and east side of Catalina Mountains, Redington Pass area, Santa Rita Mountains) that allow E-Bikes as well as motorized vehicles (see Coronado Natl Forest Motor Vehicle Use Maps here).

    Essentially, this means that E-Bikes can legally ride on less than ¼ of the ~400 bike-legal miles of singletrack in the greater Tucson area.

    Land management agencies and local riding areas where E-Bike are or are not allowed to ride:

    Agency

    Local Riding Areas

    E-Bike Use Allowed?

    U.S. Forest Service

    Santa Catalina Mtns (Mt. Lemmon), Redington Pass, Santa Rita Mountains

    NO

    National Park Service

    Saguaro Natl Park: Cactus Forest Trail, Hope Camp Trail

    NO

    Pima County

    Tucson Mountain Park, Sweetwater Preserve, Enchanted Hills, McKenzie Ranch, Big Wash Trail, Colossal Cave Mountain Park, Painted Hills, Tortolita Mountain Park

    NO

    *Multiple Agencies

    *Arizona National Scenic Trail (statewide)

    NO

    Town of Marana

    Dove Mountain Trails, Tortolita Preserve

    YES

    City of Tucson

    100-Acre Wood Bike Park

    YES

    AZ State Parks

    Catalina State Park, Oracle State Park

    YES

    AZ State Land Dept.

    Fantasy Island, Honeybee Canyon, 50-Year, Willow Springs / 24 HOP Course

    YES

    It is imperative that local riders know and comply with the posted regulations governing E-Bike use for all local riding areas. Not doing so could potentially jeopardize future access for all mountain bikers. If you are a rider considering purchasing an E-Bike, please research where you can legally ride it. Bike shop owners and employees can be crucial in this education process by informing potential E-Bike buyers that they will be limited to riding in the few local areas that allow E-Bikes or trails and dirt roads that also allow motorized vehicles.

    Please click the map below to view all of the bike-legal trails in the greater Tucson area on Trailforks. To view E-Bike legal trails within any riding area hover over the FILTER tab at the top of the map, then click the “Ebike trails” button.

    Thank you for taking the time to learn about where E-Bikes can legally be ridden in the greater Tucson area. If you have any questions about E-Bike or general mountain bike trail access, please contact us at advocacy@sdmb.org.


  • 26 Jun 2019 3:29 PM | Jeffrey Gicklhorn (Administrator)

    Welcome to the first dispatch of SDMB’s ongoing “In the Know” series, where we break down the rules, tips and tricks, and benefits and impacts of mountain biking, trails,  and outdoor recreation in the greater Tucson region. In Dispatch 1, we break down the agencies that manage the riding areas around Tucson as well as the rules and regulations for riding in each of those areas. We hope that locals and visitors alike can learn something new and become more knowledgeable and responsible mountain bikers.


    ^ Riders enjoying the McKenzie Ranch XC Race Course

    Mountain bikers in Tucson are privileged to count over 400 miles of rideable (non-Wilderness) singletrack within a 90 minute drive of downtown. With so much trail spread across so many different trail networks there are seven main land managers that manage multi-use singletrack. Those are 1) Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation, 2) Coronado Forest Service, 3) AZ State Parks, 4) City of Tucson, 6) Town of Marana, 6) the National Park Service, and 7) the AZ State Land Department. See the map below to find out who manages your local riding network.


    These diverse agencies present a diverse riding experience based on rider experience, desired terrain, and allowed tail users. Please read below for more info on and rules for each land manager with links to more information directly from those agencies. We hope you are able to learn the rules for your local riding areas and the resources to find out more information. And as always, remember to follow proper trail etiquette and Be Cool out on the trail!

    1) Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation (NRPR) 

    Pima County NRPR manages seven parks and preserves that allow mountain biking, which are broadly distributed across greater Tucson and offer many challenging and diverse riding opportunities for all ability levels. Click below for links to specific trail networks:

    Rules differ by property and are briefly outlined below:

    • E-Bikes are NOT allowed on any Pima County trails
    • Dogs must be on leash (except at Starr Pass / Westside trails where they ARE NOT allowed, dogs ARE allowed at Robles and Enchanted Hills Trail Parks)
    • Stay on designated trails, yield to all other trail users
    • McKenzie Ranch XC race loop is clockwise only, non-bicycle users must travel counter-clockwise and yield to bicycles
    • For specific park rules click here

    2) Coronado National Forest

    The Coronado National Forest manages many miles of bike-legal trail (all trails outside of wilderness except where posted “closed”), which ranges from front-county singletrack to back-country epics. Much of the trail in the Catalina Mountains is rough and rugged, while the Santa Rita’s are quite a bit smoother. The 800-mile Arizona National Scenic Trail runs through both mountain ranges, with prime opportunities for long, rugged rides. The Tucson Off-Road Cyclists Association (TORCA)and Arizona Trail Association (AZTA) work to maintain trails on the Coronado National Forest.

    Rules are the same across all forest lands:

    • E-Bikes are NOT allowed on any US Forest Service trails
    • Dogs must be on leash at all times
    • Stay on designated trails, yield to all other trail users
    • More information on USFS trails can be found here

    3) Arizona State Parks

    Arizona State Parks offers many trails statewide that are open to mountain bikes, however the two State Parks in the Tucson area are Catalina and Oracle SPs. Catalina SP is immediately east of Oro Valley and is commonly used to connect to the 50-year trail system, while Oracle is further north and represents great trails with opportunities to connect to the Arizona Trail.

    Rules are the same across all State Parks:

    • E-Bikes ARE allowed on all State Park trails EXCEPT for the Arizona Trail
    • Dogs must be on leash near congested areas and trailheads
    • Stay on designated trails, yield to all other trail users
    • Pay attention to wilderness boundaries at Catalina SP, as many trails traverse or enter the Pusch Ridge Wilderness
    • More information on mountain biking in AZ State Parks can be found here
    4) City of Tucson

    SDMB has partnered with the City of Tucson to establish the 100-Acre Wood Bike Park! This will be Tucson’s first mountain bike specific bike park! This land is owned by the US Air Force and leased by the City of Tucson. 100-Acre Wood is a designated city park, and will contain trails and features designed to allow progression of all mountain bike users. Many of the trail corridors in Zones 1 and 2 are rideable while the bike park is under construction. For more information on 100-Acre Wood or to help out please visit http://100acrewoodbikepark.org

    Rules at 100-Acre Wood are listed below:

    • Trails at 100-Acre Wood are bike specific, other users must yield to mountain
    •  bikers 
    • E-Bikes ARE allowed at the bike park
    • DO NOT STOP on any trail or technical feature, if you need to stop or have crashed quickly move to the side of the trail
    • Dogs must be on leash, but are not recommended
    • Stay on designated trails, please report any vandalism, trash, or homeless encampments to SDMB or City of Tucson Parks and Recreation Department

    5)     Town of Marana

    The Town of Marana has a commitment to maintain outdoor recreation opportunities for residents and visitors. To that end, it manages two trail networks on the flanks of the Tortolita Mountains, the Dove Mountain trails and the Tortolita Preserve. The Dove Mountain trails are generally located to the west of and below the trails in the Tortolita Mountain Park managed by Pima County. These trails are accessed through either the Wild Burro or Tortolita Preserve trailheads.

    Rules are the same across all Town of Marana trails:

    • E-Bikes ARE NOT allowed on trails managed by the Town of Marana
    • Dogs must be on leash at all times, clean up after your dog
    • Stay on designated trails, yield to all other trail users
    • For more information on Town of Marana trails click here
    6)     National Park Service

    National Parks typically do not allow mountain bikes on any trails, however Saguaro National Park has two trails that allow mountain biking! This access took much negotiation, so please follow all park rules so we do not risk losing future access.

    Rules are the same across both bike-legal trails in Saguaro National Park:

    • E-Bikes are NOT allowed on either trail in Saguaro National Park
    • Dogs are NOT allowed on any trails in Saguaro National Park
    • Stay on designated trails, yield to all other trail users, maintain low speeds
    • If limited parking is not available at trailheads, consider riding a different trail
    • Access to Cactus Forest trail requires paying the park entrance fee
    • More information on mountain biking at Saguaro NP can be found here
    7) AZ State Land Department

    There are multiple trail networks on Arizona State Trust lands managed by the Arizona State Land Department. None of these trails (except for the 50-Year trail) are legal, however they represent some of the most popular trail networks in the greater Tucson area. Access to these areas is tenuous at best, so self-policing is of the utmost importance to allow for continued future access. Please use legal access points and report any vandalism / issues to SDMB.

    As these trail networks are not sanctioned (except the 24 HOP course) there are technically no rules for trails on AZ State Trust lands, however following these rules will help us maintain continued access:

    • Please use legal points to access the trail networks, please use the Big Wash Trail or Edwin Rd. to access the Honeybee Trail network and do not park at the Church on Oracle Rd. THE WAPA TRAIL IS NOW CLOSED TO ALL USERS
    • All users recreating on AZ State Trust lands require a valid recreation permit (except when on the Arizona Trail), and you must keep a copy of this with you when on State Lands
    • E-Bikes ARE allowed on State Lands
    • Stay on established trails, please report any vandalism, vegetation clearing, or creation of new trails to SDMB
    • DO NOT remove cultural artifacts or change/damage cultural sites in any way

    Thank you for reading all the way through our first In the Know dispatch! If you have any questions about the agencies that manage your local riding area or the rules that pertain to using those trails please don't hesitate to contact us at advocacy@sdmb.org!


  • 7 May 2019 8:21 PM | Jeffrey Gicklhorn (Administrator)

    Another hot season is upon us and the high riding season is winding down. Every year it seems like the number of local and visiting mountain bikers (and other users) on Tucson trails continues to grow at a faster rate than our singletrack resources do. This puts stress on our already crowded trail systems and promotes the likelihood of user conflict between mountain bikers and other trail users. For that reason SDMB continued the Be Cool outreach campaign during the 2018/2019 winter riding season.

    Between October and May, SDMB held 10 outreach events at many of the major county trailheads, including Sweetwater Preserve, Genser/Starr Pass, Gabe Zimmerman, Golder Ranch/50-year, the Tortolita Preserve, and even Oracle State Park. This totaled over 80 hours of collective effort between SDMB board members and additional volunteers (special thanks to the Oro Valley Mountain Bike Team!). We handed out over 500 bike bells (!!!), countless stickers, and much information to riders and non-riders alike. We reminded everyone of proper trail etiquette, of which users have the right-of-way on trail, and how to respect the trail when conditions are less than ideal.

    The overall feedback from both riders and other trail users this season was overwhelmingly positive, with many comments about how courteous riders have been recently: yielding to non-mountain bikers as appropriate, using bike bells or calling out when riding up from behind, notifying other users of how many additional riders there are in the group, and generally being friendly and courteous. This goes a long way towards continued public acceptance of mountain bikers retaining full access to all non-wilderness trails in the greater Tucson region. Kudos to all SDMB members for supporting these efforts with your membership dollars!

    We've got a lot in store for next season, with new initiatives and many more outreach events planned! So be on the lookout for ambassadors at your favorite local trailhead, and remember to Be Cool out on the trail! 


     As a reminder the Be Cool campaign has three components:

    1) "Slow your Roll" - control your speed, especially on trails with with short sight-lines

    2) "Respect Others" - yielding to uphill riders and all other trail users, and

    3) "Pay Attention" - watch out for other trail users at all times and don't ride up on someone at Mach 5, always use a bell to let other users know you are approaching.

    For more information on Be Cool click here.





    If you are interested in helping out or getting involved with the Be Cool campaign or other SDMB advocacy initiatives, please email advocacy@sdmb.org.

  • 21 Feb 2019 11:41 PM | Anonymous

    Change is coming to Fantasy Island (again)! 

    If you ride FI, you have definitely noticed that construction of the Saguaro Trails subdivision.  SDMB has been working with Mattamy homes for several years to mitigate the impact of construction and keep as many of the trails open as possible.  Next up is Tucson Water's SHARP (South Houghton Area Recharge Project), which will impact the northern end of the Bunny Loop.  GO HERE FOR A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE SHARP PROJECT

    Tucson Water and Borderlands Construction have already started work in the area, and they expect to close off the designated part of the Bunny Loop (see the map below) as early as 2/25/19.  We hope to have a marked reroute in place which is also on the map.  Please respect all closures and reroutes and stay out of the construction area.  We don't know exactly how long construction will take, but it will be several months at minimum.  The good news is that when it's done, there will be riparian area in Fantasy Island with amenities like benches and ramadas!  The Bunny Loop will pass through the SHARP park and around the recharge basins, and the reroute will remain in place for a high-speed bypass.

    Questions?  Email trailsteward@SDMB.org.  


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