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Forest Service updates users on recreational usage in TontoNationalForest

PHOENIX, April 3, 2020 —   In response to the rapidly changing circumstances related to the COVID19 pandemic, many day-use sites, restrooms and other developed recreation facilities on the Tonto National Forest are currently closed, however, the vast majority of the general Forest area will remain available to visitors who want to spend time outdoors.  Recreation opportunities on the forest include hiking and biking on trails, dispersed camping and other activities that support social distancing and small groups.

“Currently we have over 900 miles of hiking trails and nearly 4,000 miles of roads across the Tonto National Forest open for recreation,” Tonto National Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth said.

Trash receptacles at some sites are not going to be emptied. Trash overflowing the receptacles becomes litter and can be harmful to wildlife and attract predators.

Please pack all your trash out with you all the way home and dispose of it there. When you see that a restroom is closed, please do not deposit your solid wastes outside or surrounding the restrooms. This practice creates a health hazard for our employees and for other visitors.

To keep ourselves, our communities and our outdoor spaces safe and healthy please remember to Leave No Trace.  For more information on Leave No Trace and “The 7 Principles”, please visit https://lnt.org/why/7-principles/.

For detailed information about recreation opportunities on the Tonto National Forest, check out our website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/tonto.


“We know how much our communities and our visitors value all the recreation opportunities the national forests have to offer,” Bosworth said. “This decision was not made lightly, but we believe people understand the serious risks posed by facilities that draw large numbers of people into proximity with each other. We appreciate your patience and understanding of our efforts to mitigate those risks to protect public health and safety.”

Developed recreation site will remain shut down until further notice.

Visitors to national forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), such as practicing social distancing and limiting group sizes. For additional tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/about/prevention.html.

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