On Feb. 19, 2014. we noticed several vehicles parked at the Florence-Kelvin trailhead on the Arizona Trail. The people who concern themselves with developing the local economy will be heartened to know that none of them were from Arizona; they included vehicles from Wisconsin, Montana, Colorado, Alberta and British Columbia. These kinds of visitors, out enjoying a day on the trail, take very little from the area and likely leave only money.
It was disheartening to see that someone had put about 12 rounds into the distinctive metal Arizona Trail sign recently installed there, as well as many more into the other trailhead signs. These signs were purchased by a grant from Arizona State Parks, and installed largely by volunteers, who drove many miles to each site and worked the day to install them. Being of unique design and construction, replacement will be very expensive.
This senseless destruction elicits two emotions. The first is rage that anyone would destroy something so senselessly. The second takes a little time and reflection to experience, and that is sympathy for the person who did it.
The Arizona Trail connects deserts, mountains, canyons, communities and people. It and the facilities that accompany it exist to a great extent through the volunteer efforts of a community of generous, public-minded people who share a love and passion for the beauty of Arizona. It is a wonderful, friendly, enriching and rewarding experience to be part of this community. How unfortunate that anyone would feel so isolated and disconnected from his or her community that they would wantonly destroy part of it.
/s/ Shawn Redfield
Arizona Trail Association