by Joel Elizaga

A team of AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) members is serving with the Sonoran Desert Mountain Bicyclists (SDMB) to maintain and construct Pima County’s first ever machine-built trail system, McKenzie Ranch. The group of young adults arrived on February 2nd, and have since finished the 6.5-mile North Loop of the Ranch, which is uniquely designed for cross-country mountain bike racing, with an eye towards flow and speed. They are currently finishing the first phase of the Ranch’s Hohokam Trail, which will be 3.4 miles of multi-use trail connecting to the Arizona National Scenic Trail. The McKenzie Ranch will be one of several trail systems crucial to the economic prosperity of Pima County.

“Having the help and the support of the AmeriCorps NCCC crew has been invaluable in completing the North Loop at McKenzie Ranch and first phase of the Hohokam Trail. Our volunteers work really hard, but this is a huge project and there are limits to what can be done with 100% volunteer crews. Having Sun 6 here for nearly 2 months is allowing us to compress a year’s worth of volunteer events into just a few months of crew work. The Tucson mountain bike community is incredibly grateful for their hard work and dedication,” remarks Evan Pilling, executive director of SDMB.

SDMB is a 501c3 non-profit whose mission is to promote the sport of mountain bicycling and view the sport as a vehicle for promoting low-impact outdoor recreation, conservation, and mountain bicycling opportunities that are environmentally and socially responsible. The all-volunteer organization maintains 300+ miles of trail around the city of Tucson, Arizona, hosting major riding/social events, and has donated over 3,000 volunteer hours to trail development.

AmeriCorps NCCC (N-triple-C) is a full-time, residential, national service program in which up to 2,200 young adults serve nationwide annually. During their 10-month term, Corps Members—all 18 to 24 years old—work on teams of eight to 12 on projects that address critical needs. Traditional NCCC members work on a variety of different six-to 12-week-long projects related to natural and other disasters, infrastructure improvement, environmental stewardship and conservation, energy conservation, and urban and rural development. AmeriCorps NCCC is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The Corporation improves lives, strengthens communities, and fosters civic engagement through service and volunteering. For more information about AmeriCorps NCCC, visit the website at

Joel Elizaga is an AmeriCorps NCCC corps member and media representative of his team, Sun 6. Sun 6 is currently partnered with the Sonoran Mountain Bicyclists in finishing multi-use and mountain bicycling trails around Pima County.

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