Santa Catalina Ranger District Trail Planning

The Coronado National Forest is asking for public feedback on the future of recreational trails in the Santa Catalina Ranger District including Mount Lemmon, along the Catalina Highway, and in the Pusch Ridge Wilderness.  The Draft Santa Catalina Trail Plan was released on November 3, 2022. The Forest is accepting public feedback by email for 30 days until December 2, 2022.

Feedback can be submitted by email to sm.fs.scrd@usda.gov.

The Draft Santa Catalina Trail Plan provides a framework for maintaining, enhancing, and expanding the area’s trail network. The overall goal of the plan is to create a trail system that is ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable. The plan seeks to balance the growing public demand for accessing nature with good stewardship of the land.

The draft plan includes recommendations to diversity trail opportunities, improve sustainability, create new trail connections, and boost trailhead access. It also recommends ways to educate visitors and protect the area’s natural and cultural heritage. Recommendations in the draft include:

  • 22 trail development projects
  • 18 access or trailhead projects
  • 8 supporting projects such as visitor information upgrades

All projects in the plan are conceptual. Before they are completed, the projects would be studied for their environmental impacts or benefits consistent with the National Environmental Policy Act. Tribes with a connection to the area will also be engaged for input and guidance.

Two-Page Draft Plan Summary
Draft Santa Catalina Trail Plan
Draft Santa Trail Plan – Map Set
Public Meeting Presentation

FAQs and Additional information

Why does the Santa Catalina Ranger District need a trail plan?

The Santa Catalinas and Mount Lemmon, along with Redington Pass and the Rincon Mountains, are a big part of what brings people to the Tucson area. A comprehensive trail plan for the Santa Catalina Ranger District has never been completed.

Trail use is a major part of the region’s quality of life and outdoor recreation tourism industry. Hundreds of thousands of people use trails in the Santa Catalina Mountains each year. We want to make sure people from all backgrounds and of all abilities have great experiences with nature. Seventy percent of forest visitors report using trails during their visit to the Coronado.

The Bighorn Fire in 2020 impacted over two thirds of the trail system, leading to erosion and an increased need for vegetation removal and maintenance. Additionally, there are over 100 miles of unauthorized, user-created trails that are not part of the official Forest Service trail system.

What helped inform the draft plan?

We built the plan through open and thoughtful collaboration. The first step in this process was a 70-day sensing period using an interactive map. That opportunity generated over 3,000 comments and responses. Throughout 2022, the CNF hosted focus groups, partnership discussions and virtual and in-person collaborative meetings with recreation users and other partners.

The Forest Service has deep and rich partnerships with community and trail organizations such as National Forest Foundation, Tucson Off Road Cyclists and Activists, Arizona Trail Association, Santa Catalina Volunteer Patrol, Pima County, Southern Arizona Hiking Club, County Line Riders, and many others. Partnerships with these groups will be critical to implementing trail projects in the future.

See what was submitted during public sensing:

Read the full Public Engagement Report here

View the Interactive Story Map

  • View the Interactive Story Map 
    • Note: This site is best experienced in a Firefox or Chrome browser.
    • Visit the website directly: View Map

Interactive Story Full Map

What sort of feedback is being requested?

During the 30-day public feedback period, consider sharing your views on:

      • Whether the draft plan meets the overall goal of the project
      • If there are projects or ideas that are missing
      • What the Forest Service and our partners should prioritize      
      • Feedback is being collected from November 3, 2022, until December 2, 2022, via email: sm.fs.scrd@usda.gov

Public Meetings

Virtual Public Briefing
Wednesday, November 9th 4:30 to 5:30 pm
An information session, with Q&A in the chat only
Microsoft Teams meeting Click here to join the meeting
Meeting ID: 285 984 012 303
Passcode: t8fkvt Join on the web
Or call in +1 202-650-0123,,373934701#
Phone Conference ID: 373 934 701#

 

Public Meeting
Thursday, November 17th 5 to 7 pm
Open house format, with a duplicate presentation from the online version at 5:15 pm
Free childcare services and kids activities are available for children up to 12 years old

Tucson Jewish Community Center Ballroom
3800 E River Rd, Tucson, AZ 85718