PHOENIX, April 8, 2020 — The past several weekends the Tonto National Forest saw forest-wide crowding at day use sites, parking areas, and along state highways within the forest. We ask that the public adhere to CDC and state, local city, and forest guidelines regarding physical distancing and group limits to keep public spaces safe and accessible to everyone.
“Easter weekend is often one of our busiest times at recreation sites on the forest,” Tonto National Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth said. “This year we are asking you to recreate responsibly, avoid crowded spaces and stay home if you feel sick.”
For visitors that do choose to recreate on the Tonto National Forest, we ask that you recreate responsibly and urge everyone to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), such as practicing social distancing and limiting group sizes.
“Our first priority is the safety and well-being of our employees, our communities and our visitors,” Bosworth said.
As a reminder, many day-use sites, restrooms and other developed recreation facilities remain shut down. However, there are other recreation opportunities forest wide that allow for social distancing. For more information, please visit our website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/tonto.
If you choose to visit the Tonto National Forest this weekend, or any time soon, please keep in mind the following:
- Avoid visiting the forest if you are sick and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Follow Arizona state public health orders and CDC guidance on personal hygiene and social distancing before and during your visit to the forest. Stay at least 6 feet away from other visitors and visit in groups smaller than 10 people.
- If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location. Also consider avoiding the forest during high-use periods.
- 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.
- Please use the restroom before or after your visit to the forest. When you see that a restroom is closed, please do not deposit your solid wastes outside or surrounding the restrooms. If necessary, bury human waste at least 6-8 inches deep and 200 feet away from water, trails and recreation sites to prevent health hazards to our employees and for other visitors.
Before you plan a trip to the Tonto National Forest, visit the Interactive Visitor Map at https://www.fs.fed.us/ivm/ for more information on available activities and what sites are open for recreational use.
For additional information on COVID-19, go to https://www.coronavirus.gov. Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available at: www.usda.gov/coronavirus. Updates on the Tonto National Forest response to COVID-19 will also be posted on the website at https://www.fs.usda.gov/tonto along with our social media sites.