UniSource Energy Services is helping protect more than 400 miles of well-traveled trails across the red rocks of Sedona, which have grown even more popular during the pandemic.

A donation to Sedona Trail Keepers connects with UniSource’s philanthropic focus area of environmental stewardship and supports our employees’ commitment to preserving nature in their communities.

Because the U.S. Forest Service has limited resources to keep up with maintenance, UniSource is joining other local businesses in supporting the Sedona Trail Keepers to offset the costs of building, maintaining, and improving Sedona’s trails.

The effort is coordinated through the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau, which matches all donations with bed tax proceeds. Each Trail Keeper business pledges to give $1,000 annually for a five-year period.

“Trail Keepers is perfect example of how, when private, public and nonprofit organizations come together, we can accomplish great things,” said Michelle Conway, Interim President and Chief Executive Officer of the Sedona Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau. “This is a great way to alleviate stress on the federal system to take care of our loved and over-loved trails. We couldn’t do it if we didn’t have all the support from all partners, like UniSource.”

A check-presentation event was held in March. A UniSource sign will be placed at the West Fork trailhead in Oak Creek.

Trails and nature are of special interest to many UniSource employees, including Duncan Jakes, who initiated UniSource’s donation as the District Manager of our Verde Valley office.

A mountain biker and trail runner who is active throughout northern Arizona, Duncan found out about the call for donations through the Sedona Chamber, which is within his gas service territory.  Jakes, his wife, and their two daughters, ages 9 and 11, regularly run and hike out on the trails. They hit the trails of Sedona and Northern Arizona nearly every weekend.

Sedona is one of 39 communities in which UniSource provides gas or electric service. While Sedona’s permanent population is less than 10,000, the area attracts about 3 million visitors each year.

“With so many visitors coming to this area, the trails just need constant maintenance,” Jakes said. “If UniSource can help commit to promoting nice trails, it supports the whole economic and physical health of the region. If we have overrun trails, people won’t want to be out there.”

Conway said while residents rely on the tourism economy for their livelihoods, the services of utilities, including UniSource, make it possible for them to live there.

“Balancing a thriving visitor economy with environmental stewardship is paramount to our success and our future,” she said. “This kind of donation supports those values.”

This story is part of our ongoing series highlighting one of UniSource’s philanthropic focus areas – environmental stewardship. UniSource works with nonprofit partners to develop invitation-based

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