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Tonto Basin Ranger District Announces Seasonal Closures

For Immediate Release. Forest officials have implemented the following changes to campsites in the Tonto Basin Ranger District. Roosevelt Lake Bermuda Flat shoreline camping closed November 15, 2017, in observance of a seasonal wildlife closure. It is scheduled to reopen February 15, 2018 Cholla Bay shoreline is now open to provide an alternative shoreline experience Apache Lake Davis Wash and Upper Burnt Corral closed November 15, 2017, for the winter due to lower visitor numbers during the winter season as well as Forest officials’ desire to move limited staffing resources to other priority projects. The sites are scheduled to reopen February 15, 2018 Three Mile Wash, Lower Burnt Coral and Crabtree Wash are available for winter shoreline camping Burnt Corral Campground will remain open Additional camping information is available on the Tonto National Forest website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/activity/tonto/recreation/camping-cabins/?recid=35199&actid=29. Read More »

Heavy Smoke Advisory for Clay Springs Area – Nov. 6-8

As part of the Forest’s ongoing strategy to reduce catastrophic wildfire danger in Rim County, Tonto National Forest fire specialists are planning to conduct a 1,479-acre broadcast prescribed fire treatment in the Clay Springs area between forest roads 411 and 128.  Ignitions will commence on Monday, Nov. 6, and continue through Wednesday, Nov. 8.  This treatment will eliminate timber slash, dead and down woody debris, grass and brush.  During the day, smoke will impact Forest Lakes, 512 Road, commonly called the Young Road, the OW Ranch, and State Highway 260.  Residual smoke in the evening will impact Colcord Estates, Ponderosa Springs, Gordon Canyon, Young, and the OW Ranch.  Smoke may linger in these areas through Sunday, November 12, 2017. Residents and visitors to the area can expect to see and smell heavy smoke during these prescribed fire operations.  To minimize the impact of smoke, fire personnel will end ignitions each day by 3 pm.  Signs will be posted on roads likely to be impacted by smoke.  Motorists are urged to use caution and slow down for the safety of firefighters and the public. Broadcast fire treatments typically continue for several days and are conducted when weather conditions including wind speed and direction, temperature, relative humidity ... Read More »

Forest Offices to close for Columbus Day

All Tonto National Forest offices will be closed on Monday, October 9, 2017, in observance of Columbus Day. Offices will resume normal business hours Tuesday, October 10. For localized information, contact one of the following Ranger District offices during regular business hours: Tonto National Forest Ranger District Offices:   Cave Creek Ranger District, (480) 595-3300  Globe Ranger District, (928) 402-6200 Mesa Ranger District, (480) 610-3300 Payson Ranger District, (928) 474-7900  Pleasant Valley Ranger District, (928) 462-4300 Tonto Basin Ranger District, (602) 225-5395 When visiting the Tonto National Forest, consider the following: Check the weather for that specific part of the forest at http://www.weather.gov/ Practice good campfire safety Respect public lands by packing out trash Additional info can be found on the Tonto National Forest website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/tonto/. Read More »

Fall Weather Camping Opportunities on the Tonto National Forest

Fee machines have been installed and are available to pay fees for overnight camping on the Mesa, Cave Creek, Globe and Tonto Basin ranger districts.  Timber Camp Campground, on the Globe Ranger District, and Burnt Corral, Cholla, Frazier Horse, Schoolhouse and Windy Hill campgrounds are currently open on the Tonto Basin Ranger District.  The Tortilla Campground on the Mesa Ranger District opened for the winter on Sunday, Oct.1.  Fee machines are available at the Tortilla, Burnt Corral, Cholla, Schoolhouse and Windy Hill campgrounds to pay for overnight camping.  The fee machine for Frazier Horse Camp is located just down the road at the Windy Hill Campground.  The Mesquite, Horseshoe, Riverside and CCC campgrounds on the Cave Creek Ranger District are also open, however fee machines are located at the entrance to the Ranger District Office and at the Bartlett Lake overlook.  Make sure to pay for your camping site before you drive all the way out to the campgrounds. The following information may be helpful for planning winter activities on the Mesa Ranger District: Overnight use is allowed at Coons Bluff on Friday and Saturday nights Oct. 1, 2017, through March 31, 2018. Overnight use will also be allowed on the Sunday night before the following holidays:  Columbus Day ... Read More »

Draft Wilderness Inventory Map and Evaluation Criteria Available for Public Review

PHOENIX, September 13, 2017—Tonto National Forest officials have developed a draft inventory map as part of the ongoing Wilderness Recommendation Process. The map is now available for public review. The Tonto National Forest (TNF) developed the final inventory criteria used to produce the draft inventory map after listening to public comments during public meetings and analyzing written comments during two rounds of review. Read More »

Lizards and Prickly Pear Fruit: Learning goes on at Boyce Thompson Arboretum

Boyce Thompson Arboretum- Labor Day Weekend will soon be in the rearview mirror — Summer events are ending – and Saturday Sept. 9 brings your final chance to learn about lizards on a guided walk at Boyce Thompson Arboretum  (plus another  ‘Last Call’ opportunity to learn to pick, process and prepare prickly pear cactus fruit). Free to BTA annual members, weekend events are included with $12.50 admission for non-members.  Learn Your Lizards guided walk at 8 a.m. This entertaining guided tour around the gardens is not just for kids — popular lizard walks are for all who enjoy Arizona’s most common, colorful and charismatic little reptiles. There’s no additional fee to attend and no pre-registration necessary, just be in the Visitor Center breezeway at Eight O’clock  start time. Guides include AZ Game & Fish Department reptile researcher Dan Leavitt.       *    Prickly Pear Cactus Fruit Class with Botanist Patty West at 10:30 a.m.   Wish you knew how to pick a peck o’ prickly pears, turning the bright red fruits into syrup you can use in margaritas, smoothies – or a batch of tasty jelly or tangy BBQ sauce? Flagstaff ethnobotanist Patty West has been picking and preparing P’pears for over 20 years and has her own unique spin on cactus cuisine. Read More »

Tonto National Forest installs new automated fee machines

GLOBE-The Tonto National Forest has installed new Automated Fee Machines for your convenience at designated recreation sites. Starting Monday, August 14th 2017, the following campgrounds require camping passes to be bought at these fee machines. Senior and Access Interagency Pass holders receive 50% discount. The Tonto Daily Pass, Discovery Passes, and Interagency Passes are no longer accepted as a “camping” pass for these sites. Campsite fees must be purchased/paid at the designated fee machines. For complete Permit information visit TNF Here. Read More »

Reduction of golden algae in Saguaro Lake allows organizers to resume fishing tournaments

  PHOENIX –  With golden algae levels lower than previous samples, the Arizona Game and Fish Department informed the Forest Service on August 14 that Saguaro Lake can resume hosting fishing tournaments.   Fishing tournaments temporarily were suspended in June when golden algae (Prymnesium parvum) blooms developed over large portions of Saguaro Lake. Golden algae produces a toxin (prymnesin) that affects any organism with gills. Similar golden algae levels raised concerns at Apache and Canyon Lakes but a drop in levels by late July resulted in tournaments restarting at these two lakes.   According to Arizona Game and Fish Department officials, Golden algae blooms are not a public health threat. The toxins that golden algae produce are only harmful to gill-breathing organisms such as fish and clams, and there is no evidence they are harmful to people, livestock or other animals. However, as a precaution, fish that are found dead or dying should not be consumed. The Arizona Game and Fish Department will continue to monitor the golden algae at all the Salt River-chain lakes. Read More »

Tonto National Forest Fee Implementation Continues

PHOENIX, August 8, 2017—   New Developed Campground Fees Going into effect The Tonto National Forest continues to implement fee changes.  These changes were based on two years of public input regarding how recreational users and the public would like developed recreation sites managed.  Based on the public’s desire to keep sites open and operated by the Tonto National Forest, a new fee structure is being implemented in stages. Read More »

The Pinal Fire

Pinal Fire

On May 8, 2017, a discharge of cloud-to-ground lightning struck an oak tree in the Pinal Mountains. It was a dying tree with smooth grey deadwood in its canopy and offered little resistance to a bolt of super-heated lightning that delivered 50,000 degrees F. of fire- starting power.  The smoke was spotted by a resident in nearby Six Shooter Canyon and an engine crew was dispatched from the Globe Ranger Station to check it out. They found the tree burning at 6,700 feet on a steep, east-facing slope high above Pioneer Pass. A few days later, a photo of the tree’s charred shell was posted on Tonto National Forest’s Facebook page. You could almost smell the smoke lingering at its base. It was the origin of the Pinal Fire. This past winter, fire management officers, and other specialists at the Globe Ranger District and the five other districts on the Tonto National Forest, identified specific areas in the forest where the ecosystem would benefit from a naturally-caused wildfire. One of these planning areas was a north-facing swath of the Pinal Mountains that had not seen fire in over 60 years.    Read More »