Welcome Guest

VOAz Loop Trail

"One of my best crew members ever was only this tall. Just think what you can do!"

Projects Goals

Thanks to the efforts of VOAz member and crew leader Paul Poanessa, who is also a Ranger for Phoenix Parks and Recreation, there are some maps appearing with a trail segment labeled the "VOAz Loop." It may not be "official" at some level of the bureaucracy, but we aren't pressing the issue.

This trail is easiest to reach from Dreamy Draw Trailhead. It wraps around an unnamed peak just north of Piestewa Peak and overlaps the romantically named "Trail 1A" for part of its length. Many trails in this and other parks were never planned. Trails of use, as they are sometimes called, just sprang up. When the area was converted to a park, many of these trails were incorporated into the official trail network. We assume that trail naming practices are an artifact of bureaucratic process.

When it comes to informally creating trails, people tend to be dumber than cows. Cows have to use the trails they make day after day, so they pick routes that don't require great exertion. This means that their trails generally follow the contours of the land. Of course, cows unlike humans, are usually not in a big rush to get from point A to point B. For cows, points A and B are typically pasture and water tank. They have a good part of the day to make it from A to B and back.

Why humans who are out for recreational hiking have to be is such a God-awful rush to get from point A to point B is another subject. But, when left to their own devices, humans invariably charge up and down hills creating what are called "fall-line" trails.  (A "fall line" is the line which water falls along as it runs down hill--the steepest possible line, which is the fastest way down a slope.) Fall-line trails evolve into fall line ruts. They are so common in the arid southwest, that many experienced trail users assume that this is normal--the way it is supposed to be. In truth, fall line trails degrade the landscape, are hard for people to use, and are often unsafe because they are full of loose soil or rock.

Having said this, it turns out that cows are not great trail builders. They don't appear to comprehend the principle of out-slope and the value of rolling grade dips. So their trails often start to rut out as well due to their enormous weight. Soon they trap sheet flow as it comes across them. Did you know that conscientious ranchers build drain dips into their cattle trails and use other techniques to minimize the damage they can do to the range and waterways?

The VOAz Loop Trail project began in March, 2002 with a reroute of one fall-line rut on the east side of the peak. In 2004 we went to the west side of the peak to help Paul build another major reroute of a horrendous fall-line rut. We have now folded all of these past events into this grand project to build and maintain a sustainable VOAz Loop that generations to come will experience and cherish. Actually, not quite everyone. We were scolded on one event by someone, who was obviously a major shareholder in the park, that all this trail rebuilding work was making it easier to use was just going to draw more people to her trails.

Additional park information: http://phoenix.gov/PARKS/phxmtns.html

Project Leader:Mike Snodgrass
Project Technical Advisor: Paul Paonessa & Mike Snodgrass

Upcoming Events
There are no upcoming events.

Completed Work
Number of Events: 9
Total Volunteer Hours: 1054
Total Participants: 180
Project Outputs
Feet of rock wall built: 40
Feet of trail closed for revegitation: 1200
Feet of new trail built: 1330

Completed Event Reports

March 1, 2008  Trail Maintenance
No Report Information
Total Volunteer Hours: 59    Total Participants: 7
Event Outputs
Feet of new trail built: 20

January 13, 2007  Construction

Eric, carrying the Austin sling, searches for large rock

Reroute Mini-Event  Photo Album

Twelve VOAZ volunteers (including 4 first-timers!) returned to Dreamy Draw Park to continue trail construction on the VOAZ Loop replacing old fall line trail. These folks put in a collective 60 hours on a brisk Saturday morning and exceeded the expectations of Ranger Paul.

During the course of the day, rock retaining walls were constructed; new tread finished and preliminary rocks set in place for future cobble work. VOAZ has been helping build and maintain trails in Dream Draw/Piestewa Peak area for over six years in cooperation with Paul and the City Of Phoenix.

Thanks go out to volunteers Eric Anderson (Crew Leader), Jack Janus, Stephen Kuenzli, Gilbert Maldonado, Peter Michels, Roxanne Parrish, Ranger Paul Paonessa, Laura Prato, Dave Schwartz, Mike Snodgrass (Event Manager), Wayne Warrington, Jennifer White, and Joe Zveglick (Crew Leader) (bold = first VOAz event)

Total Volunteer Hours: 60

November 4, 2006  Reroute

Several crews working on clearing brush and constructing tread on a section of the VOAz Loop

Reroute  Photo Album

Thirty-five volunteers built more than 350 feet of new tread in the steepest section of the VOAz Loop. The work began the process of construction a reroute that will replace a severely eroded section of this popular trail. We were happy to welcome six first time volunteers from the Xavier High School Environmental Club to this event.

During lunch, special guests from REI came to recognize Anna Ryan as a REI Stewards for the Environment 2006 award winner (one of eight selected nationally) and present VOAz with a check for $20,000. Joining us from REI were Dave Troutner, manager of the Paradise Valley Store, Robert Ford, manager of the Tempe REI store and Catherine Walker, REI board member from Seattle. Anna's story and more information on this award can be found at: http://www.rei.com/aboutrei/stewards.html?cm_re=b*b*stewardshipaward&vcat=REI_HP_L4

Also, volunteers reaching leadership levels were presented with leader name tag, shirt, and/or water bottle. Leaders recognized were Mike Galwey, Sally Kirch, Gail Landry, Aminda Parafinik, and Anna Ryan.

Thanks to: Eric Anderson (crew leader), Michael Baker (crew leader), Lori Boothe-Houle, Judy Breen, Dennis Cooley, Lisa Dubas, Mike Galwey (crew leader and tool manager), Julie Gamez, Russell Hanson, Diana Hernandez, Gerald Higa, Craig Houle, Anna Hughes, Nancy Hughes, Els Janus, Jack Janus, Sally Kirch, Daniel Knollmueller (crew leader), Gail Landry (photographer), Peter Michels, Christine Nolan, Carla Olson, Aminda Parafinik (event manager), Laura Prato, Anna Ryan (crew leader), Ken Ryan (crew leader), Charlie Scully (crew leader), Mary Hannah Smith, Mike Snodgrass (crew leader and technical advisor), Dana Stedron, Andrea Sutton, Bruce Weidenhamer, Lance Weidenhamer, Elizabeth White, John Wiechmann, and Joe Zveglich (bold = first VOAz event)

Thank you to REI for funding lunch and Michael and Marilia Baker for food preparing it. Thank you to City of Phoenix ranger Paul Paonessa for his project guidance and to our entire team of crew leaders!

Total Volunteer Hours: 242    Total Participants: 35
Event Outputs
Feet of new trail built: 350

December 4, 2004  Reroute

Reroute Photo Album

At this event, VOAz completed the reroute begun in January and made the connecting link to open this new section. Others closed out the old trail at a later date.

Thirty-one (31) intrepid volunteers braved the cold and rain to complete the reroute of the 302/Freedom Trail in Dreamy Draw. With their efforts, over 200' of new trail including a large drainage crossing were constructed, the large switchback was completed and materials were gathered and stored for future trail closure work. Because of the rain, there remains some finishing work, but the new more sustainable route through this canyon is now open

Don Ziegler, Eric Anderson (Crew leader), Jess Wikle, Wayne Anderson, Sue Thiebes, Lou Arminio (Crew leader), Sandra Stirnweis, Ruth Dambach, Wayne Dambach, Deb Stevens, Mike Galwey (Crew leader), Nancy Spence (Event Manager), Melissa Gieger, Mike Snodgrass (Project Team Leader), Ben Collins, Kristin Smith, Michael Baker (Mentor & Photographer), Ken Ryan (Crew leader), Johnnie Grgurich, Bob Royal (Food service coordinator), Conrad Griese (Tool Manager & Crew leader), Cindy & Brian Romanchuk, Courtney Hoffman, Howard Olien, Randy Klingman, Bonnie Nelson, Gail Landry (Photographer), Margot Mason, Jason Linkous and Melissa Litman worked a collective 153 hours on this trail section.

Total Volunteer Hours: 153

Total Volunteer Hours: 163    Total Participants: 31
Event Outputs
Feet of new trail built: 230

January 24, 2004  Reroute

One technique for measuring outslope


VOAz moved to the other side of the unnamed peak to assist with another substantial reroute through a deep ravine.

Total Volunteer Hours: 220 (32 volunteers)

Total Volunteer Hours: 230    Total Participants: 32
Event Outputs
Feet of new trail built: 400

March 29, 2003  Land Recovery

Trail Closure

Another Make-A-Difference Day event and VOAz returned to Squaw peak to close 1200 feet of "wildcat" trail near the newly installed route. Intel and the Great Outdoor Club of ASU joined with VOAz regulars (23 in all) for this work.

Total Volunteer Hours: 83    Total Participants: 23
Event Outputs
Feet of trail closed for revegitation: 1200

December 7, 2002  Reroute

Closing the fall-line rut this project replaced


VOAz returned to and was able to nearly completed the work. Paul was able to bring in other volunteer groups to help complete this substantial project. Paul began to promote the idea of naming this segment for VOAz.

Total Volunteer Hours: 85    Total Participants: 16
Event Outputs
Feet of new trail built: 80

March 27, 2002  Reroute

Pride of workpersonship


On Make-A-Difference Day,  twelve volunteers continued the work started earlier that month. A small group came out for a weekday event on March 27.

Total Volunteer Hours: 52    Total Participants: 16
Event Outputs
Feet of new trail built: 30

March 16, 2002  Reroute

Wonder what they were smoking


VOAz partnered with Paul Paonessa for its first project in the park. The objective was to replace some severely eroded trail with a sustainable route through a picturesque drainage on the north side of the park.

Twenty two VOAz volunteers put in over 120 hours of hard work on Saturday March 16 building trail in the rocky terrain at Squaw Peak Park. This enabled us to completed two major drainage crossings, about forty feet of low wall, 200+ feet of tread and at least 50% of a switchback. In addition, eight of Ranger Paul's Squaw Peak Irregulars were there to help. They concentrated on repositioning a 1,500 pound boulder.

Total Volunteer Hours: 140    Total Participants: 20
Event Outputs
Feet of new trail built: 220
Feet of rock wall built: 40

Home  |  Events Calendar  |  Donate  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us

Volunteers for Outdoor Arizona - 1843 E Third Street, Suite 103, Tempe, AZ 85281 - email: voaz@voaz.org
Site designed and developed by Michael Baker & JWS Web Design LLC