Memo to newcomers: Don’t mess with Cave Creek’s trails

The town of Cave Creek has sent a clear signal – don’t mess with our popular trails for mountain bikers, trail runners and hikers.

The Town Council recently shot down 7-0 a proposal by residents of an upscale subdivision to restrict hours on public cave creek cactus classictrails to day time only and to require leashes on pets in their development. Canyon Ridge Estates residents complained of nighttime disturbances from headlights and noise from mountain bikers in the neighborhood west of Cave Creek Road.

Despite an intense lobbying campaign, Canyon Ridge homeowners discovered Cave Creek really, really likes its trails and its rural lifestyle.

“I opposed it from the beginning,” Cave Creek Mayor Vincent Francia told Clipped In. “The signal [the vote] sends is that the council is dedicated to a trail system that is united and has a singular body of rules.”

Mountain bikers and trail runners mounted a furious challenge.

The homeowners’ proposal, said Lorraine Montuori, president of the Desert Foothills Mountain Bike Association,  “clearly goes against our culture.”

“Our trails and the extraordinary access and connectivity they provide are highly desirable to safely traverse our town after sunset and before sunrise,” Montuori wrote in a letter. “Given our extreme heat in the summer, trail use after sunset and before sunrise is the most desirable time of day to use the trails.”

She and others noted that the trail easements through the 110-home Canyon Ridge Estates were agreed to when the Town Council approved the development.

“Land owners in CRE knew of the trail easements amongst their properties…to try to change and limit the historic and current use of these trails goes against the culture and character of our town,” Montuori wrote.

Another Cave Creek resident, Korina Riggin, founder of the annual Cave Creek Trail Run, also fought the proposal.

“You can’t have one set of trail rules in one section of town and then another set in a different section,” she said. “A situation like that would be an absolute nightmare for the town to deal with.”

In the end, Francia and the council sided with the mountain bikes, runners and hikers at the Dec. 1 meeting.

“My citizens have a custom of under a full moon, they’re either out riding horses, hiking or bicycling,” he said. “If you’re in Cave Creek under and moon and you go out, you’re going to run into people. It’s one of those wonderful activities everyone takes advantage of.”

Michael Murphy