Posts Tagged ‘fire prevention’

Tonto News Round-up July 2009

Friday, July 3rd, 2009

Our monthly round-up of news affecting hiking and camping in general and the Tonto NF in particular.

Fire Restrictions Have Been Lifted in the Tonto National Forest – just in time for the hottest weekend of the year. Early monsoon humidity has reduced the overall dryness of, well, everything enough to allow open fires once more in the Tonto.

“Although campfires and smoking will now be allowed throughout the forest, visitors should properly extinguish cigarettes in ashtrays, and ashes in a campfire ring should be cold enough to touch before they are left,” said Tonto NF Fire Staff Officer Clay Templin.  “Campfires should be put out by drowning with water and stirring with a shovel to ensure the fire is cold.”

Forest Supervisor Gene Blankenbaker extended special thanks to the visiting public during the fire restrictions which began May 14.  “We want to thank everyone for their patience and understanding while we had to restrict access and activities on the Tonto during this fire season.  We appreciate our visitors’ support of the restrictions.”

Heading out to the desert lakes for the 4th weekend? Well – don’t forget your Tonto Pass, because there isn’t much you can do at any of the lakes without one. Also, be aware of stepped-up enforcement of drunk boating laws.

Oh – and the Bald eagle restrictions have been lifted from most of the desert lakes. As you may recall, portions of the lakes and other desert waterways are closed to traffice throughout spring to allow the more-or-less endangered Southwest Bald Eagles to nest in peace during breeding season. They’re done now. Have at it.

Look Out for Bears! Encounters between bears and humans are becoming more common in the high country, as humans expand their range and the bears stubbornly refuse to evaporate into thin air. The chief instigator in this would be food, which, from the bears’ perspective, includes the garbage.

“We don’t have any habitats devoid of humans. They don’t exist. Bears are large, powerful and unpredictable animals. If a bear constitutes a public safety threat in one location, a change in geography is simply not going to alter or diminish the threat,”

He adds later, “We don’t have any habitats devoid of humans. They don’t exist. Bears are large, powerful and unpredictable animals. If a bear constitutes a public safety threat in one location, a change in geography is simply not going to alter or diminish the threat,”

Speaking of human/animal conflict…

The deadline for the big game hunting Super-raffle has been extended to July 12th. You can stalk and kill (or attempt to anyway) all sorts of critters from elk and buffalo to bears and mountain lions – if you have a permit. More Information here.

One last thing: Native Fish Cam.


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.