Archive for March, 2012

Tres Rios Fest this weekend

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

Don’t have a behind-the-hike this weekend, but I did finish my taxes. Yes- it was a trade off.

I DO have a hike recommendation this week- or rather an acitvity recommendation – though I’m pretty sure it involves a fair amount of walking around in the sunshine.

Straight from the press release:

Enjoy the outdoors at the Tres Rios Nature Festival this weekend


March 8, 2012



The popular Tres Rios Nature and Earth Festival returns to Estrella Mountain Regional Park this Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11.

The family-friendly festival focuses on the rich diversity of wildlife, habitat, history and culture of the Gila River area in the West Valley. Attendees will be able to see live wildlife up close, go canoeing, try archery, fish, view local birds, hike, and learn about recycling and green living.

The festival will include a special area for children with hands-on activities centered around nature and the outdoors. There will also be a “recycling fashion show,” live entertainment and numerous other features.

Hours are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Estrella Mountain Regional Park is located at 14805 W. Vineyard, Goodyear, Ariz., 5.5 miles south of Interstate 10 off of Estrella Parkway. Signs will provide visitors with further directions. Admission to the festival is free, although a $3 per vehicle park entrance fee will be charged by the park. Some children’s rides will also require a small fee.

For more information, visit or call the Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce at (623) 932-2260.


Fossil Creek Road closed through Summer

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

The Payson Roundup is reporting that the Forest Service intends to extend the ongoing closure of Fossil Creek Road (going west from Strawberry down across the creek). According to the article (and all quotes below are from this article):

The soaring popularity of the pristine, restored travertine-rich stream has drawn a flood of weekend visitors to Payson, but also resulted in piles of litter, illegal campfires and fears of stream pollution.


The order said the closure would “provide for the public’s health and safety because of the treacherous and unsafe road conditions resulting from geologic instability on rock walls resulting in frequent rock falls and slides into the road. Also, to provide for the public’s and employees’ health and safety considerations of traffic gridlock along the Fossil Creek Corridor.”

Important to note that the main trail to the upper part of the creek – and the springs – is still open.

The steep Fossil Creek Trail will remain open. But that could increase the already substantial number of summer rescues on the arduous, waterless climb out of the canyon. Many people will likely arrive to find the road closed and be tempted to hike down the trail in flip flops without adequate water, a recurrent theme in last year’s rescues.

Maybe they should read my guidebook. 

Payson and the other Rim communities are pissed:

“They’ve taken the sledge hammer to hit the pin on the wall,” said Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce Manager John Stanton.

“What worries me is that this is coming out of (the Tonto National Forest headquarters) in Phoenix or Washington, D.C. and we have no control. Talk about a door slamming.”

To be fair, it’s a forest road going through the national forest. It would be unike the feds to ask permission, or even make a prompt decision.

This summer, the Forest Service projected that Fossil Creek would attract 60,000 visitors, making it a rival to the Tonto Natural Bridge State Park as the region’s top tourist draw.

The Forest Service set up a special team to develop the master plan for future use of Fossil Creek, but hasn’t yet released the results of that effort.


[Stanton adds,] “Part of the problem in Fossil Creek is of our own making: People have destroyed the place. So now we have to figure out what to do. (The Chamber) has a retreat on Friday to see if there’s anything we can do — at least protest to the Payson Ranger District.”

Years ago, covering the restoration of Fossil Creek fr the now defunct Inside/Outside Magazine, I wrote:

The resurrection of Fossil Springs is a feat of human community as rare and amazing as a river in the desert. Optimists might say it is a new paradigm of things to come, while pessimists point out that, by weight of history, this is simply an aberration. I say dip your feet in the water while you can, because the state’s population growth accelerates while the budgets of agencies which manage the wilderness continue to shrink.

Like all streams in the wilderness, Fossil Creek is endangered by the very people who enjoy it the most. Unless we reverse our attitudes about beer cans and Styrofoam coolers and disposable diapers, a hundred years from now, another extraordinary coalition will be forced come together to restore the creek — again.

The Resurrection of Fossil Creek”  Inside/Outside, June 2007.

I was wrong, of course. We will destroy that place in well under 10 years, much less 100.