Recreation area development continues

Unique in its historic significance, temperate climate and numerous park and recreational opportunities, Kingman also is on its way to completing a unique trail system for hikers.

The city and the Bureau of Land Management are working to complete 40 miles of trails to accommodate hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders within Kingman and the adjacent Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area.

About 20 miles of undeveloped desert paths have been converted to trails for hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders within the Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area; and plans are to continue open space acquisition for multi-use paths and trails.

"We are still working on it," said Darel Fruhwirth, Kingman Parks and Recreation director.

"We want to make sure they are good, safe, usable hiking trails with space for parking at the beginning of the trail and plenty of signage."

This week a volunteer crew from Flagstaff worked on the Cook Canyon Trail and Camp Beale Loop.

The two will eventually connect within the Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area, said Rob Owen, the principal planner at the city of Kingman Community Development Department.

In addition, Owens said his department is in the process of updating trail maps, brochures and signs.

Completed six years ago, Camp Beale Loop is a 3.2-mile trail west of Fort Beale Road on the western edge of the city.

Work on the trail is ongoing, Owen said.

The hiking, mountain bicycling and equestrian trail was the first to be completed as part of the Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area.

The trail meanders to the top of a mesa and back.

Grades average 5 percent with some sections reaching 10 to 12 percent.

Views from the top of the mesa overlook various sections of the community.

Access to the trailhead is a dirt road that parallels the Black Mesa Coal Slurry Line.

The city is also developing a half-mile trail that will connect Camp Beale Loop and the BLM-developed Cook Canyon Trail.

The connecting trail goes under U.S.

Highway 93 near Coyote Pass and connects to Cook Canyon Trail, a 5.5-mile trail west of U.S.

93.

The Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area includes 5,620 acres of BLM land, 2,073 acres of city open space, the Camp Beale Loop, Badger Trail and Castle Rock Trail.

Bruce Asborjn, a BLM recreational planner who led crews of workers clearing the trail, said the BLM and the city will continue to develop multiple-use trails within the Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area, based upon a management agreement signed by both entities.

Badger Trail, developed by the BLM, begins just north of the U.S.

93-state Highway 68 interchange west of Kingman.

Completed in May 2000, Badger Trail leads northeast 3.8 miles, climbing approximately 1,100 feet on the way to Castle Rock trail, which leads southeast and connects with the Camp Beale Loop.

Badger Trail passes through desert vegetation and interesting rock outcroppings.

Excellent vistas of the surrounding valleys and mountains can be seen from many locations along the way.

This trail is not a loop route so hikers must return the way they came, and there is no water and little shade along the way.

The BLM classifies this hike as moderate for hikers and mountain bikers because of the elevation gain.

Any type of vehicle can gain access to the trailhead, according to the BLM.

The trailhead turnoff is the first right turn off U.S.

93 north of the Route 68 interchange.

The city of Kingman, the BLM, the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund and the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) are ongoing funding sources for the Cerbat Foothills Recreation Area project.

In addition the city works in cooperation with the BLM to construct trails, Owen said.

Created in 1990, the Heritage Fund allocates $20 million a year of state lottery money for wildlife and recreational.

To date, the city has received two Heritage Fund grants - which may be applied for every two years - toward completion of the trails.

The initial cost to the city of Kingman for the Castle Rock Trail was $22,000.

However, a Heritage Fund grant received October 2000 reimbursed the city for half the amount.

The Cook Canyon Trail and reconditioning of Camp Beale Loop will initially cost the city $20,635.

However, in October 2002 the city received a Heritage Fund grant that reimbursed half the cost of the project.

"As we identify new projects we apply for a new grant," Owen said.

The Mohave Wash Pathway is an ambitious project that features a 10-foot wide, handicap-accessible, paved walkway starting at Beverly Avenue and following the Mohave Wash north.

Trail construction will begin after the wash is completed.

"We have to wait, because the county is starting their portion of the channelization project to build the wash," Owen said.

"The county or the city cannot start their portion of the path until the channelization is done."

Owen said the wash will take a year or more to complete.

Funding for the project will come from the city of Kingman, Mohave County and the Arizona Department of Transportation, he said.

About four miles to start with, the trail is for walking, bicycling and in-line skating.

Trailheads at various locations will allow access.

Landscaping, irrigation, benches, picnic tables and bike racks will eventually be added.

ADOT received a grant for the section from Beverly Avenue to Kino Avenue.

The city is responsible for the portion of the path from Kino Avenue north to Gordon Drive and Mohave County is responsible for the section from Gordon Drive northeast to Bank Street.

The city of Kingman has made the commitment to maintain and improve its park and open space system with funding from its general fund.