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  • 30 Jan 2020 3:07 PM | Deleted user

    Mike Raney owner of Over the Edge Sports bike shop received the Excellence for Community Service Award from Keep Sedona Beautiful which is a non profit organization committed to protecting and sustaining the scenic beauty and natural environment of greater Sedona.

    Mike and his wife Lauren moved here 9 years ago from Santa Fe, New Mexico for mountain biking and hiking. Mike has been working hard contributing to the trail fund, city council, affordable housing, his bike shop, the MTB festival which he started in 2015 and placing bike fix stands at trail heads. 

    But none of this could happen without  maintenance, hard work and all the community support.

    Mike is a founding member and serves on the board of director for the Red Rock Trail Fund which raises money for trail maintenance and creating new trails to make Sedona a world class trail network. If not for all our donations  this would not be possible.

    Sedona MTB festival raised $25,000 dollars last year for the trail fund and is decreasing its footprint by reducing waste, recycling and encouraging people to ride not drive. 

    Knowing all this will help the VVCC volunteer members at the bike festival this March sell more raffle tickets to all the visitor and guests who use the trails and will come back again.

    We are so lucky to know Mike is building a better community for all of us here in Sedona.

  • 18 Jan 2020 11:54 AM | Kevin Adams (Administrator)

    We recently ran into Trail Crew Supervisor Kyle Robb at a volunteer trail work day.

    Kyle - can you please tell our two loyal readers a little about yourself?

    I have worked with the FS since how a decade has flown by. I worked in California, Colorado, Wyoming, Pennsylvania and here.

    What do you see as the biggest differences between the Allegheny and Coconino National Forests?

    The biggest differences from the ANF and CNF is really tourism. The landscaped is a given difference but the amount of use the Coconino (really Sedona) gets is soooo much larger to the ANF. To add to that, the ANF has a large reservoir and brings in a lot of boaters, different types of user groups. Lots of hunting and foraging as well. Here on the Sedona side of the Coconino is really land use. Very diverse but tons of tourism.

    What are their similarities?

    The similarities of the forests is that each forst has use for the whole family. ANF has boating and hunting with the DNF has hiking and biking. There is more to do than just those but both places are family oriented.

    If you could be the Forest Service Chief for a day, what would you do - and you can't answer, "take the day off"?

    If I was chief for the day, I would go out and work with the trail crew. Being in the office sucks.

  • 13 Jan 2020 7:11 AM | Kevin Adams (Administrator)

    We just received word that the Catena Foundation plans to award a $50,000 grant to Verde Valley Wheel Fun. 

    The grant will be used to help achieve the five year goal of transitioning FUN from an all-volunteer based operation to one run by professional staff, augmented by volunteers, and governed by an all-volunteer board of directors.

    The VVCC Youth Committee first reached out to the Catena Foundation on March 21, 2019 to thank them for the work they're doing in Northern Arizona and provide an introduction to the VVCC. That outreach resulted in a call in April and we have been working with Catena since then getting them comfortable with what we're doing.

    Mike Wight, Catena Foundation's Restoration and Trails Program Officer, made a site visit in December 2019 to see the Youth Program first hand at Oak Creek Elementary School. Cottonwood Elementary School Superintendent, Steve King, and Oak Creek Principal Nayadin Persaud met with Mike and told him what the program means to them. Then, Mike went on a six mile trail ride with the kids who we know sold him.

    The VVCC spun off the Youth Program to FUN on January 8, 2020.

    The Catena Foundation is a private grant making organization founded by Sam R. Walton in 2017 and is headquartered in Carbondale, CO. The Catena Foundation focuses on making grants to environment, community development and education organizations in the Four Corners area of Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Arizona.

  • 8 Jan 2020 7:05 AM | Kevin Adams (Administrator)

    The Verde Valley Cyclists Coalition (VVCC) is pleased to announce the transfer of its youth program to Verde Valley Wheel Fun (FUN) effective January 8, 2020. The VVCC’s all-volunteer youth program currently operates eight after-school mountain bike clubs serving 90+ students each semester at the following public elementary schools:

    • Beaver Creek Elementary (K-6)

    • Camp Verde Elementary (K-6)

    • Oak Creek Elementary (K-8) – 2 clubs in operation

    • Dr. Daniel Bright Elementary (K-8)

    • Mountain View Academy (K-8)

    • Cottonwood Community (K-8)

    • West Sedona Elementary (K-6)

    Additionally, the youth program awards new mountain bikes each spring to students who must exceed school standards for conduct, attendance and citizenship; provides an annual grant to the local National Interscholastic Cycling Team and distributes kids helmets at the annual Sedona Celebration of Spring.

    “With the Youth Program growing as fast as it is - we're adding our 9th club this spring at Clarkdale-Jerome Elementary School - and taking up over 70% of the VVCC's budget, the VVCC board had the wisdom to recognize that it was time that the program became independent” said Marty Glinsky, VVCC President.

    “FUN’s three founders created the VVCC’s Youth Program, run its day-to-day operations and raised all the funds for the program” said Rich Leever, FUN President. We’re forever grateful to the VVCC for providing the infrastructure for the Youth Program to begin with an idea in November 2017 and grow to what it is today” Leever added.

    There is no charge for students and schools participating in FUN’s programs.

    As part of the transfer agreement, the VVCC agreed to provide back office support through April 8, 2020 as FUN develops its own internal back office capabilities.

    About FUN. Verde Valley Wheel Fun is an all-volunteer Arizona Qualified Charitable Organization providing mountain bicycling opportunities for all Verde Valley youth, regardless of skill level. FUN empowers students through mountain bicycles, fostering values on and off the bike that prepare students for their future. Donations to FUN qualify for the Arizona Charitable Tax Credit.

  • 28 Dec 2019 11:52 AM | Kevin Adams (Administrator)

    We received the following via email today...

    Hi, This is Diane Smith, the one standing next to Marlene, a member of the Red Rock Volunteer Bike Patrol. My daughter in law, Shannon Taggart took the photo.

    Marlene saved my grandson, Leo, and me from the pumas, javelinas, and the cold on December 22, 2019 at about 4:20 p.m., the sun would set in just one hour. While we were only a short distance from our car, we did not know that and she did. She walked us to it, bless her heart. We did have to stop and let Leo remove two rocks from his shoe which he had placed there, [unknown to Grandma] to bring home as a souvenir.

    Marlene was wonderful and so so kind.

    Happy New Year, ours ended well thanks to her.  

    Mrs. J. Randall Smith [Diane]

  • 26 Dec 2019 8:57 AM | Kevin Adams (Administrator)

    A busy fall for VVCC grant writers culminated with the award of three grants totaling $83,000 that will go for trail development near Cottonwood and expanding the VVCC’s Youth Program to its eighth public elementary school.

    The VVCC collaborated with the Verde Ranger District of the Prescott National Forest in a grant submission by the Forest to the Yavapai Resource Advisory Committee for the Blowout Wash Trail Project. This project is located on the east slope of Mingus Mountain adjacent to West Mingus Ave. southwest of Cottonwood. The VVCC helped with the grant writing and committed $12,000 in funding for the project. On December 17th, the Prescott National Forest announced that this project was selected for $75,000 in recommended funding. "We couldn't have done it without the VVCC's efforts" stated Tom Palmer, East Zone Recreation Program Manager for the Prescott National Forest.

    Also on December 17th, the Mountain Bike Association of Arizona (MBAA) selected the VVCC to receive a $1,500 grant in support of the Blow Out Wash Trail Project. “The MBAA grant puts us at $10,000 raised for this project” stated Pam Milavec VVCC Mountain Bike Advocacy Committee Chair. “The MBAA looks to support local trail projects across AZ through money raised via our race series and membership” stated Tim Racette MBAA Executive Director. “We're excited to play a part in these types of projects and help local organizations improve their trails” Racette added. “We have confidence the full $12,000 will be raised by the end of March” Milavec added.

    Earlier in December, the VVCC received a $6,500 grant from the Burton Family Foundation to purchase the bikes and safety equipment for its planned after-school mountain bike club at the Clarkdale-Jerome Elementary School. “Our Youth Program currently operates eight after-school mountain bike clubs at seven Verde Valley Elementary Schools and we’re thrilled that the Clarkdale-Jerome Elementary School plans to join the program in 2020” said Rich Leever, Youth Program Committee Chair for the VVCC. 

    ABOUT THE YAVAPAI RAC. The Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act establishes Resource Advisory Committees, appointed by the Secretary of Agriculture and consisting of fifteen local citizens and three replacement members.  The Yavapai RAC’s role is to review and recommend projects for approval that represent different variations of natural resource work in Yavapai County to the Forest Supervisor.

    ABOUT THE MBAA. The MBAA promotes, protects and preserves the Arizona mountain biking experience through advocacy, education and responsible, recreational and competitive mountain biking.

    ABOUT THE BURTON FAMILY FOUNDATION. The Burton Family Foundation is a supporting organization of the Arizona Community Foundation. Established in 2015, Burton Family Foundation provides support for innovative programs that promote equity and opportunity for underserved students across Arizona.

  • 16 Dec 2019 8:52 AM | Kevin Adams (Administrator)

    We had the opportunity to catch up with new Red Rock District Ranger Amy Tinderholt this month. Prior to her appointment as Ranger, Amy served as the Deputy District Ranger for the Bend-Fort Rock Ranger District of the Deschutes National Forest in Bend, OR.

    Why did you want this job?

    The Red Rock Ranger District is known across the nation for its progressive and innovative approach to its partnership and volunteer programs that has been driven by local, grassroots stakeholders. I wanted to work and learn in an area where the communities and partners are committed to engaging with the Forest Service whether its to get work done or work through difficult land management issues, and the Forest Service is committed to having an open mind about what that engagement looks like and how it leads to proprieties, actions and decisions.

    What about your background is it that made you THE Choice to lead this District?

    In leaving my last job I was very proud to hear people say that that I listened, sought to understand, and tried to use that understanding to move projects or issues forward. This is an area that is loved and used by many different people with sometimes competing values, those skills will help me to make good, sometimes difficult, decisions. My fifteen years in recreation management doesn’t hurt either!

    What do you see as the top three short and long term challenges for the District?

    • Completion and implementation of the Fossil Creek Comprehensive River Management Plan.
    • Establishing a 3-5 year outlook of our recreation program priorities. There are an incredible number of needs for across the recreation program and demands from communities, partners and individuals. We need to be able to clearly communicate what work we are prioritizing and why. This will also help us and our partners be more efficient and successful pursuing outside funding.
    • Supporting and building on our partner and collaborative efforts. We want to continue to practice and improve our collaborative decision making and efforts to incorporate a broader landscape view of land management.

    In three years, where do you see yourself and the District?

    Over the next three years I hope that I have built relationships within the community and on the District. We will take on great projects that people love and support, we will also take on difficult and contentious issues. If we have done it well we will retain the trust and support of the public we serve through the good and the tough.

  • 7 Dec 2019 9:35 AM | Kevin Adams (Administrator)

    65 VVCC Members and guests descended on the Mystic Hills Club House last evening for the VVCC's annual Holiday Party and Fundraiser.

    Those present enjoyed BBQ from Big Foot BBQ in Flagstaff, cake, beer and wine as a member benefit.

    Raffle Winners were:

    Al Milavec won the Trek Gravel Grinder Bike courtesy of the Verde Valley Bicycle Company.

    Kevin Adams won the Sony 85" LCD Screen courtesy of the Verde Valley Bicycle Company.

    Patti Wyman won the Marzocchi Front Shock courtesy of Marzocchi.

    The raffle raised over $3,300!

    Here's some pictures of the event.

  • 21 Nov 2019 7:08 PM | Kevin Adams (Administrator)

    Today, the League of American Bicyclists announced 53 communities which earned official Bicycle Friendly Community certification and 12 communities were recognized with Honorable Mentions. 

    Locally, Cottonwood moved up to Silver, from Bronze status and Sedona was renewed at Silver.

    In Arizona, Scottsdale was renewed at Gold status. Apache Junction and Peoria received Honorable Mentions.

  • 20 Nov 2019 7:02 AM | Kevin Adams (Administrator)

    We recently caught up with the new Recreation Program Manager for the Red Rock Ranger District, Chris Johansen. Here's what he had to say...

    What's your background?

    After college, I was commissioned an officer in the United States Marine Corps and served for 10 years. After the Marines, I worked for the National Park Service at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park as an Interpretive Park Ranger. Next, I worked as a Natural Resource Specialist for the Army Corps of Engineers managing campgrounds and water-based recreation on several lakes in the South East. I then moved to Florida and transferred back to the Park Service at Gulf Islands National Seashore monitoring nesting shorebirds and sea turtles. Seeking a promotion, I accepted a position with the Department of Defense at Eglin AFB as the Recreation Program Manager. I managed the largest public recreation program in the DoD. The program consisted of hunting, fishing, horseback riding, camping, mountain biking, beach activities, and 71 miles of the Florida National Scenic Trail.

    What attracted you to this position?

    My initial attraction was to the area. Sedona is as beautiful as any of the National Parks in the country. This part of Arizona offers so many outdoor activities for myself and my family. We all enjoy hiking, camping, skiing, and mountain biking.

    I had heard about the strong volunteer organizations and stewardship programs affiliated with the Coconino and particularly the Red Rock District. The bond between the Forest and the community was a major attractor. I am looking forward to all the progress our volunteer groups and the Forest Service can make together on the Red Rock District.

    Also, I have wanted to work for the Forest Service ever since I was a child

    How is the Forest Service different from the DoD?

    There are many similarities between the Department of Defense and the Forest Service and many differences. The similarities are the same with all Federal Service, similar procedures and regulations.

    The biggest difference is the community ties and the passion coming from the people that live in the Sedona area. The recreation program couldn’t survive without volunteer hours and all the work done by these groups. It is truly amazing to hear the thousands of hours put in from the Graffiti Volunteers to the Verde Valley Cyclist Coalition and many more volunteer organizations.

    What's the most interesting thing you did or saw moving from Florida to Arizona?

    My dad came out to help me move and we decided to get off the interstate and take two lane roads from Junction, Texas to Flagstaff. We ended up passing through Capitan, New Mexico and saw where Smokey the Bear is from. We pulled over and saw the Capitan Mountains where Smokey was rescued from the fire. It is a very beautiful part of New Mexico and it was especially relevant that I was driving across the country to work for the Forest Service.

    My vision for the Red Rock District

    My vision for the District is to continue to provide stewardship for our community to remain engaged and to increase community participation. I plan to receive as much input as possible from our partners with what is going well and to benefit from what we can do better. Also, I would like to expand our partnership with the Red Rock Trail Fund and engage in new opportunities. I would like to find a balance with increasing visitation and protecting the fragile natural resources here in the Red Rock District.

    What's been your biggest challenge since taking over?

    There really hasn’t been any challenges. I have been very fortunate to have an excellent staff that have a strong knowledge base about the program and the area. Many employees have deep ties with the community stakeholders and the community. I have met so many positive people since moving here it makes it easy to transition to the Recreation Staff Officer position.

    Anything you'd like to add?


The VVCC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 2003 (incorporated in March 2004) to promote road and mountain bike advocacy in, and around, the Verde Valley of Northern Arizona.




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