Pioneer Title Agency and the Arizona Trail are sharing 30th anniversaries this year. To celebrate, the Arizona-based, family-owned business committed to raising $30,000 for the Arizona Trail Association by asking their employees to “go take a hike.” It is the first-ever fundraising and employee wellness challenge to make use of the Arizona National Scenic Trail.
The Arizona Trail (AZT) is a continuous pathway that runs from the state’s border with Mexico to its border with Utah. Pioneer has more than 50 offices across Arizona; many of which are situated near the 800-mile trail. The trail is open to all forms of non-motorized recreation including hiking, running, backpacking, horseback riding and mountain biking.* In fact, Pioneer’s Sierra Vista home office is near Coronado Peak, where Dale Shewalter, considered the “Father of the Arizona Trail,” shared his dream of a cross-state trail with others about 30 years ago.
Through the unique partnership, Pioneer’s team of more than 375 people set the goal and will collectively hike, bike, run or ride all 43 passages of the AZT. Those who adopt a section aim to raise $700 per passage. Families, friends, customers and associates are also invited to participate, and the goal is to complete the entire program by early summer. In addition to the wellness benefits associated with time spent on the trail, the initiative hopes to encourage everyone to explore a segment of the Arizona Trail that they likely have not seen.
“My personal goal is to hike 100 miles of the Arizona Trail, and I’d like to hike sections that I haven’t hiked before,” explained Marcia Brown of Pioneer Title. “One passage, [Passage #26 Hardscrabble Mesa, a 12-mile section near Pine], I hiked last weekend.” That was Feb. 14, the kickoff of Pioneer’s “Take a Hike” challenge on Valentine’s Day and the 103rd anniversary of Arizona’s statehood.
To take part in the challenge, Brown, chief title officer in one of the three Pioneer offices in Flagstaff, adopted Passage #37, which traverses the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. She plans to raise money by soliciting sponsors who promise to pay per mile Brown walks or in one lump sum. Brown will also hike Passage #38, which stretches rim to rim through the inner gorge of the Grand Canyon.
“The initiative is really two-fold,” said Keith Newlon, president and co-founder of Pioneer Title, Agency in a press release. “While raising money for the Arizona Trail is important, we want to also raise awareness to all the trail offers – it’s a unique giant playground for us all to enjoy and we want to spread the word.”
“This program has [motivated] me to get outdoors,” said Brown. “I was planning on getting out hiking more this year because I’m planning on doing the Camino [a 500-mile pilgrimage in northern Spain] next year, and I’ll have to do a lot of hiking to get in shape for the Grand Canyon rim-to-rim hike. The challenge is helping me get out there.”
Brown reports that she and others in the office have already done more hiking because of the company’s wellness initiative. “Jody Rypkema [advisory title officer] is out hiking her section today. Doug Bell [title examiner] is taking the San Francisco Peaks area sections,” Brown said. Escrow Branch Manager John Kuban adopted Passage #38 Grand Canyon Inner Gorge.
“There are several things that people can do to get involved. They could support a Pioneer Title hiker with a financial donation, they could be a hiker themselves or they could get a corporate donation. Most of all, they can encourage us,” detailed Brown.
Matthew Nelson, executive director of the Arizona Trail Association said, “One of our goals for this challenge is that more Arizonans will fall in love with the natural wonders that exist along the Arizona National Scenic Trail. Pioneer’s commitment to covering the entire length of the trail is admirable and means that many individuals will get to experience some of the least traveled areas in our state.”
When complete, the $30,000 raised through the project will greatly assist the Arizona Trail Association in its mission to build, maintain, promote, protect and sustain the Arizona Trail as a unique encounter with the land.
“It seems very fitting that Pioneer Title Agency, being a local Arizona company with such a wide reach across the state, become involved with something as special as the Arizona Trail,” said Cindy Newlon, vice president and co-founder. “Arizona is a place where we live and raise our families, a place where we work and serve our local communities and also a place where we play. Getting out on the trail and connecting with people, our families and friends will be a wonderful, exciting and memorable experience.” FBN
For more information, or to make a donation to the Arizona Trail, visit www.aztrail.org/pioneertitle/pioneertitle.php.
Pioneer Title Agency – Elden
112 N Elden (P.O. Box 1885)
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Pioneer Title Agency – Marketplace
1370 W State Route 89A, Suite 10
Sedona, AZ 86336
Pioneer Title Agency – University
1120 University Ave, Suite 100
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Pioneer Title Agency – Williams
128 W Grant Street, Suite C
Williams, AZ 86046
Pioneer Title Agency – Woodlands
1016 W University Suite 101
Flagstaff, AZ 86001
*Biking is allowed only on portions of the AZT that are outside designated wilderness areas.
By Stacey Wittig
Flagstaff Business News