The Randy Wilson Memorial 4 on the 4th was a huge success inasmuch the number of running participants doubled this year and those walking the route went from a previous high of 12 to a greatly appreciated 31 trekkers. Plus, contributions to the Food Pantry were the best ever. Way to go, Flagstaff! Let's surpass all those records next year.
And I have a suggestion. This happpening was a virtual event on the FUTS that lasted over a four-day period — July 1 through July 4 — for a total of 96 hours in which folks could participate. Many people wishing to be involved were not sure where the exact start/finish and turnaround points were located. Wouldn't it be to the purpose of the activity to have those points permanently marked on the path of the FUTS along with a description of the event?
Such fixed markers in place year-round on the Flagstaff Urban Trail System would bring the event to the attention of many more people, thus increasing participation, reducing confusion over where to start, turn around and finish, and also serving as a nice remembrance for Randy.
And to finish, during this time of "social distancing" the FUTS has once again proven its incredible worth to our community. What would we do without it —and more important, when are we going to complete the construction of our highly valued in town trail?
We need to bring the FUTS back into focus and not allow it to continue skulking near the bottom of our list of good intentions. It's not like we don't have an outstanding plan. Martin Ince, the Multi-Modal Transportation Planner for the City, has done a terrific job of assembling just such a schedule, but is not responsible for the funding of that strategy.
A good example of an excellent concept seemingly suspended in a quagmire not of its own making is the section of the half completed FUTS alongside the route of the Rio de Flag between East Route 66 near the ADOT Yard and the Picture Canyon Natural and Cultural Preserve.
Coconino County finished its segment of the FUTS on that property a while ago, plus they removed an obstructive gate, expunged from the scenery all of their construction materials in the Rio channel and restored the hillside below the county public works yard.
Short sections of the city-owned Rio de Flag passage are located at each end of the already constructed Coconino County FUTS and have not been developed as yet into becoming a part of our overall urban trail system.
Before being restored to its current, more acceptable natural state, that area was a paintball combat zone filled with a multitude of stacked truck tires, abandoned furniture and trash in every direction. It was a dismal eyesore indeed and certainly not a suitable setting for our FUTS.
But when a hard worker named David McKee and a legion of volunteers inspired by him brought the weight of our resident work ethic to the site, it was was eventually cleaned up and restored. Least it be forgotten, such a positive outcome was not accomplished in a single weekend.
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