The Legends of Superior Trails Inc. (LOST) organization received news on Monday, Sept. 18, that the re-route of the gateway connector trail between Superior and the Arizona Trail Picket Post Trail head was approved to be constructed through Arnett Canyon. The news came via a Decision Memo issued by the Tonto National Forest – Globe Ranger District.
The original gateway connector trail was obliterated when US 60 was expanded. The Arizona Department of Transportation provided funding to mitigate the loss of the trail to the Tonto National Forest which would help fund construction of a new trail. Two plans were submitted by the LOST: a northern route through Arnett Canyon and southern route that would have bypassed the Picket Post Trailhead. Outdoor recreation groups and locals alike commented favorably that the northern route through Arnett would meet the needs of both long distance hikers on the Arizona Trail as well as day use, while also providing improved access and recreation activities for Superior.
The LOST will now have a segment that connects hikers, mountain bikers and equestrian users from the Picket Post trail head through Arnett Canyon to Pinal City and then to the Superior Airport. Eventually the LOST and the Town of Superior plan to build additional trails from the Airport to the US 60 Park onto Main Street then through the Queen Creek Canyon Segment of the trail to the old US 60 Tunnel.
The final approval of the reroute was studied by the Tonto National Forest and it was determined that there was not a need for further environmental assessments. Currently there are many people utilizing the canyon for recreation, however these unplanned trails are hastily created which could cause damage to the area. The approval for construction will allow for crews and volunteers to build quality, well marked trails that will further preserve the riparian area in Arnett Canyon. Motorized access will not be permitted in the canyon.
Since 2006 members of the Legends of Superior Trails group have been supporting trail development. They became the Legends of Superior Trails Inc. (LOST), a Superior based 501 c3 non-profit in 2014. This organization will play a key role in the trail planning, construction and maintenance. In addition to this segment of the trail they also provide leadership and guidance for the Queen Creek Canyon Segment (old US 60) of the LOST.