Archive for the ‘Tonto News’ Category

April News Round-up

Saturday, May 2nd, 2009


Dripping Springs Fire, which has burned 100 acres near Pine AZ is 90% contained. The fire started early morning Monday [4/27] about six miles east of Pine.

AZ Central has the story here.

Started by a campfire. We’re not going to make it to Memorial Day without fire restrictions.

Forest thinning – to mitigate these sort of fires – has been practiced in varying degrees for years, but now the Forest Service is getting serious about it – preparing bid solicitations to thin out 300,000 acres over five national forests, including the Tonto.

Your stimilus dollars at work – eventually: Payson got the preliminary go-ahead from the Tonto NFS to build a pipeline from Blue Ridge Resevoir on top of the Mogollon Rim, along the banks of the East Verde River, to the town of Payson. The Forest Service clearance allows them to, well, get on with the other studies.

British mining conglomerate Resolution Copper wants to mine through and around an 3,000 acre parcel of the Tonto that includes the popular state campground “Oak Flats”. This campground is the nearest established campground to Phoenix that’s above 3500′. It is also popular with rock climbers.

In return, Resolution is donating 5000 acres of land (old ranches) they own to the Feds, though none of those parcels (as far as I can tell) are near the Tonto. This has been hotly contested by the climbing community, but it is probably a done deal.

$2500 reward if you know who shot the bats in an abandoned mine near the Peralta Trailhead.

Walking away from your mortage? Tonto is looking for campgroud caretakers for the summer.

News Roundup for March

Thursday, April 2nd, 2009

New thing: towards the end of every month, I’m going to digest news items relevant to the Tonto NF or Arizona hiking in general.

Fossil Springs is now open again. It has been for a month, but just sayin’ because now its warm enough to get to the TH without snow chains.

This is Wildfire Prevention Week, and according to the USFS press release:

BLM fire management specialist Ken Shaver observed, “There is some potential good news on the summer weather front.  The predictive weather services people are forecasting a wet monsoon season this year. If our summer season is like it was last year, the wildfire season in Arizona could again be on the quiet side.”

Your tax money at work, clearing out deadwood.

Quoted from the above source:

The Hazardous Fuel Reduction project areas include:

  1. Payson WUI ($870,000 for 2,537 acres)
  2. Pine WUI ($660,000 for 3,205 acres)
  3. Verde WUI ($400,000 for 481 acres)
  4. Lion WUI ($42,000 for 335 acres)
  5. Chamberlain WUI ($825,000 for 1,000 acres)
  6. Christopher/Hunter ($310,000 for 375 acres).

The Southwestern Region expects more projects to be approved for funding over the next few months.

Even though the reservoirs are at high levels and streams are reportedly flowing throughout the Tonto, I’d still figure on fire restrictions this summer.

The sad saga of Macho B, the jaguar (yes-really-a jaguar) that AZ Game and Fish accidentally captured, collared, tracked, rescued and ultimately euthanized suspecting a fatal kidney disorder continues into the finger-pointing stage. You can follow the story at Macho B’s website.

Finally, for those interested, my proposal for a D&O Coconino National Forest has been after much consideration, declined by Menasha Ridge Press. It was, to be fair, among the last proposals to be cut.  Everyone (that I talked to) liked the idea, they just couldn’t make the numbers work out.

A good freelancer, meaning one who can crank out readable copy on deadline, can expect a rejection rate of 11 out of 12 proposals. Mine runs a little better, but I write for beer money, and have the luxury of choosing my pitches with care. If this were my primary source of income, I’d be writing a proposal a day, and my rejection rate would be much closer to the industry norm (if not higher). If I take any of that personally, I’m done. Consideration for the writer’s supposed feelings noticeably declines at about $.10/word and is non-existent at national magazine rates.

My chief disappointment, then, is that it’s a lot easier to get out of my other obligations to go hiking when I have a guidebook in the works. So I am casting about for other ideas, and would value any input.

Meanwhile, the behind-the-hike series continues, for all of you 94+ people (and counting, I hope) who have bought a copy of my last excuse to get lost in the wilderness.