Mangum Fire Detour is Now Fresh Trail
During the summer of 2020, the Mangum Fire scorched 71,450 acres on the Kaibab National Forest and significantly impacted three miles of the Arizona Trail within Orderville Canyon along Passage 42 (Kaibab Plateau North). Since the trail was located within the canyon bottom and the fire burned at high intensity, this segment of AZT has been closed for two years in the interest of public safety. Trail users have been rerouted along forest roads through blackened forest nearby. But thanks to the hard work of Arizona Trail Association volunteers and staff, and our friends at Flagline Trails and the Kaibab National Forest, fresh new trail has recently been built upslope from the drainage, which is a far more sustainable location.
We couldn’t be happier about this project, especially since we thought it would take four to five years for the hillsides to naturally stabilize after such a high-severity fire. While know dead trees will continue to fall and the new trail will require frequent maintenance, being able to reopen this piece of trail and keep trail users off forest roads is a grand accomplishment. The ATA is grateful for everyone who has worked so hard to make this happen, especially the Arizona Department of Forestry & Fire Management and Coconino County Office of Emergency Management who helped pay for trail construction through the Governor’s Wildfire & Flood Mitigation Fund.
The Kaibab National Forest rescinded the AZT closure order on September 2 at 6 a.m. and the new trail segment now officially open. The trail has been constructed by light machinery and partially finished by volunteers. Another crew will be heading back there in late September to finish the remaining mile, so if you visit before that time please know it’s a work in progress. We will also be organizing routine maintenance events annually, and you’re welcome to join us in caring for this new segment of trail and the landscape that will take many years to recover from the Mangum Fire of 2020.