Thursday, August 27, 2015
Promoting community wellness, lifelong fitness and youth empowerment in communities across the Dine' Nation
Twin Falls, a 120-foot high waterfall in the Carrizo Mountains near T'iis Nazbas, is one of the hidden wonders of Dine' Bikeyah. Since 2008, NavajoYES has partnered with the T'iis Nazbas Chapter in restoring the Twin Falls Trail leading to the falls. The 1.5 miles of trail have been fully restored over this time and the number of visitors - mostly local families and youth from schools in the area - has increased substantially.
The Tour de Rez began work in the summer of 2011 to undertake the next stage of the Carrizo Mountain trail project, with work on a mountain trail leading from T'iis into the highcountry of the Carrizos. This ongoing project has involved restoration of an additional five miles in the succeeding years. Beginning in summer 2012, we began establishing trailheads and adding signeage, benches and doing wildflower seeding throughout the area.
Our first trail initiative began on the Rainbow Trail in 1992, restoring the old route from Rainbow Lodge which had almost been consumed over time by Natsisaan, the looming hulk of Navajo Mountain, the highest spot on the Nation. The trail now has seena renaissance, with a beautiful new trailhead established by TDR kids in 2014 and ongoing maintenance throughout the year.
Groups of students from many schools and communities have been involved in our trail projects over the past two decades. Youth from T'iis Nazbas, Cove, Red Mesa, Shonto, Kayenta, Tsahbiikiin, Shiprock, Chilchinbeto, Mexican Springs, Natsisaan, Montezuma Creek and Red Valley have played a role in the projects.
Trails seem to loom large in the future of NavajoYES, as we have taken an active role in advocating for trails - indeed, a Navajo Trails System - across Dine' Bikeyah. Trails for running, walking and biking are being advocated by members of NavajoYES and others throughout the years and 2016 seems to be the time when it all comes together. Exciting times ahead for active folks of the rez, which we hope will be a growing group, as we improve access to trails, bikes and events across the Nation.
The trail projects have received generous support from BHP-Billiton's Community Involvement Grant Program since 2010.