Mark Flint has been designing, building and maintaining trails since the early 1990s. He began in Oregon, and moved to Southern Arizona in 1997. He was been involved in the design of several segments of the Arizona National Scenic Trail. He has designed more than 300 miles of trail throughout much of Arizona, but also in Nevada and Vermont.
He was a member of the team that produced the “National Mountain Bicycling Strategic Action Plan,” a U.S. Department of Interior Bureau of Land Management planning document published in 2002.
Mark formed Southwest Trail Solutions in 2008. At that time, he was a part-time trails program coordinator for Pima County Natural Resources, Parks & Recreation, a position he held until leaving the county in 2019.
His experience designing and building trails began as a volunteer in the early 1990s; his first system design was in what is now the Bureau of Land Management Molalla River Recreation area, south of Portland, Oregon. Mark moved to Tucson in 1997, and immediately got involved in trail projects.
His first major trail design project in Pima County was in 2004, 35 miles of the Arizona National Scenic Trail between Saguaro National Park and the Santa Rita Mountains in the Coronado National Forest. His volunteer efforts on that project included planning, organizing, fund-raising, and supervising construction of the trail. This project, which took seven years, was done with volunteer labor from community volunteers, who contributed more than 100,000 hours of their time. Mark designed and built numerous trails and trail parks for the county, including the award-winning Sweetwater Preserve Trails Park.
In 2007 his manual, “Desert Design: Building Trails in a Harsh and Demanding Environment” was published by Arizona State Parks. It was revised and a second edition published in 2009. He has presented sessions on desert trail design and construction at the Arizona State Trails Conference (October 2007), the Professional Trail Builders Association conference in Reno (March 2008) and conducted a two-day design class for Arizona State Parks in March 2009. He has presented at the International Trails Symposium, most recently in 2017. He was a panelist for an American Trails webinar, “How They Did It: Advocacy, Planning and Creating Equestrian Trails Through Organization.” He presented a session on dealing with opposition to trails at the 2018 Share the Trails Conference in Scottsdale.
Mark Flint has been involved as a community volunteer for more than 30 years. His experience includes political campaigns, youth and adult sports and fundraising. He has worked as a volunteer leader in trails since the early 1990s, when he led the effort to build trails on BLM land in the Cascade Mountains between Salem and Portland, Oregon. That effort led to a nationally recognized partnership and trail system, the Upper Molalla River Corridor Trails.
Mark was involved in an ambitious project to build more than 30 miles of the Arizona Trail in Pima County, all with volunteer labor. In addition to doing trail design, he served as the project’s steering committee co-chair, project coordinator and volunteer coordinator.
The project garnered approximately $70,000 in cash and in-kind contributions and more than 100,000 hours of volunteer labor. His years of volunteer experience can help you:
- Develop a guerilla (low cost) marketing plan
- Work with media
- Create an organizational plan
- Develop templates for planning and organizing events
- Develop a plan for communicating with volunteers
- Provide incentives so volunteers keep coming back
- Train people to lead and motivate volunteers
Communications & Community Relations
Mark’s 30-plus years of experience in communications includes working as a newspaper reporter, editorial writer, editor and publisher. He also has worked as a consultant in community relations and communications for school districts, historical societies and private industry, including extensive experience in employee communications.
He has worked on election campaigns, helped fundraising campaigns in leadership position and served on the boards of numerous professional and volunteer organizations. He held a number of offices in the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), including president of the Tucson Chapter and director of the Pacific Plains Region.