Jun 042014

Community groups and residents are invited to participate with Navajo County and the White Mountain Youth Corps at a groundbreaking and trail clearing event for the two-mile Nizhoni Community Walking Path being constructed at the Navajo County Holbrook Complex on National Trails Day, Saturday, June 7, beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The event will feature the official groundbreaking of the community walking path, the first recreational path to be constructed in the area. After the groundbreaking, guests can help clear rocks and debris from the trail route, then be treated to lunch beginning at 11 a.m. The event is a great occasion for community organizations, youth groups and individuals seeking service and community involvement opportunities.

“We’re pleased to bring a new recreational offering to Navajo County by providing a path where our community neighbors and employees can enjoy a safe place to walk and enjoy the outdoors, away from traffic and distractions,” said Navajo County Manager James Jayne. “It’s rewarding to work with great partners to create an amenity that will improve our citizens’ quality of life and support employee wellness.”

The county held an employee contest to name the path, with the winning name of “Nizhoni” suggested by Lenora Spencer, data input specialist. “Nizhoni” is a Navajo word which means “beautiful.” The path route winds among the buttes that surround the Navajo County Complex, and through natural areas where recreationists may enjoy the desert flora and fauna. Four shaded rest stations will provide respite along the path, and a water fountain is located at the trailhead, which is adjacent to the racquetball courts. While the path is open to the public, it is also intended as an amenity for county employees’ health and wellness programs.

The path is being funded through a grant from the Arizona Game & Fish Heritage Fund program and Navajo County. The White Mountain Youth Corps, in conjunction with Arizona Conservation Corps, is constructing the path, with anticipated completion by early July.

“We’re inviting community members to join in clearing the trail for the walking path because we know how gratifying it is to take part in building facilities in our communities that we and our families and neighbors will enjoy for generations to come,” said Jayne.

The groundbreaking will take place at the path trailhead near the racquetball courts, at the county complex, located at 100 E. Code Talkers Drive in Holbrook. If you are interested in bringing a group to help with the trail clearing, please contact Lupita Banuelos at (928) 532-6050, ext. 5525, or lupita.banuelos@navajocountyaz.gov.