From October 2015 through the summer of 2017, Neil and Mark participated in an advisory capacity to a task force formed to create, nurture and propagate the Navajo Nation Trails Initiative (NNTI). Southwest Trail Solutions provided pro bono assistance and training in all aspects of trail system design and construction, with emphasis on “big picture” planning and principles of sustainability. Visiting the Nation monthly, Neil and Mark were able to reach many of the communities and share their knowledge.
The purpose of the NNTI is to provide trails to enhance community physical, emotional and spiritual health as well as distance trails to promote ecotourism.
The Navajo Nation, which is the size of New England, includes some of the most spectacular scenery in the world, and many routes will quickly become popular ecotourism destinations.
Southwest Trail Solutions adopted this project as a way of helping the Navajo People develop this system themselves. The objective was not to be some kind of “trails Santa,” but rather share skills and knowledge so the people who live in the Navajo Nation – and have an intimate connection with and knowledge of the land – can create a trail system that reflects their values and needs.