Posts Tagged ‘news’

Slide (sigh!) Fire Update

Friday, May 23rd, 2014

So Oak Creek Canyon north of Slide Rock State Park is essentially on fire. This includes the West Fork of Oak Creek, and the famous and popular hiking trail that follows it.

Wilson Mountain and even Sterling Pass are not within the known fire boundaries, which starts just north of Slide Rock State park, and continues north up the canyon. At this writing, though, local particulate levels are listed as “Unhealthy”, AZ89A is closed, and very likely any local parking within hiking distance will be monopolized by service vehicles.

The press release says:

The Slide Fire, reported just before 4 pm May 20, is burning in Oak Creek Canyon just north of Slide Rock State Park. Closures include Highway 89A from Sedona to Fort Tuthill in Flagstaff and Forest Road 535 off Highway 89A. Power has been shut off by APS from Slide Rock, north through the canyon.   An approximate 2 to 3-mile stretch of area from Slide Rock State Park north toward the Sterling Springs Hatchery has been evacuated, as well as the East Pocket Forest Service Lookout Tower. Evacuees are being relocated to Sinagua Middle School in Flagstaff.

Photo from the US Forest Sevice

The InciWeb site can provide updates better than I can:


West Fork was chock full of gorgeous foliage of all kinds, but also of deadwood and dry brush. It will be decades before it becomes anywhere near the kind of scenery it was five days ago.




AZ Game & Fish on what’s open and what’s not

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

Straight from their press release:

Hunting and fishing opportunities abound in Arizona despite federal government shutdown

Many hunters, anglers and other outdoor recreationists have been wondering how the current federal government shutdown, which began Oct. 1, will impact their upcoming outings.

Despite closures by federal land management agencies of their administrative offices and some controlled access points and facilities, there are numerous opportunities available to Arizonans for outdoor recreation.

Please keep in mind that, with regard to federal lands, official information on closures is the responsibility of the respective federal land management agencies. The Arizona Game and Fish Department is providing this unofficial update as a service to constituents based on the best information we have available at this time, and that information is subject to change.


  • Most Forest Service and BLM lands where hunting was previously allowed should still be open to hunting, as long as it is in accordance with Arizona hunting laws. Areas with controlled access points (such as developed recreational sites and campgrounds) may be closed. Be advised that federal wildlife refuges are currently closed, as are national parks under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. Certain hunts begin this weekend in Arizona for turkey, quail, tree squirrels, ducks (mountain zone), and juniors-only javelina. Enjoy your hunt.


  • Great angling opportunities exist at these waters:
    • Lake Pleasant. The striper bite at this lake northwest of Phoenix is one of the state’s best right now. This is a great boating lake as well. Lake Pleasant Regional Park is under the jurisdiction of Maricopa County.
    • Lake Havasu. It’s an ideal time to visit this 19,000-acre impoundment in western Arizona that’s a haven for stripers, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass. It’s very popular with boaters as well. Most of the busier launch sites remain open, and Havasu is a community that welcomes and caters to anglers. For more information, visit and see how to “Play like you mean it.”
    • Alamo Lake, a 3,500-acre impoundment northwest of Wickenburg, is particularly excellent for largemouth bass, crappie and catfish.
    • Urban Fishing Program waters in Phoenix, Tucson and Payson are excellent for fishing. Fall catfish stockings have resumed at the Phoenix and Tucson Urban Fishing Program lakes, and those lakes are being stocked again with channel catfish this week (Sept. 30-Oct. 5).
    • Community ponds in Yuma, West Wetlands Park Pond, Fortuna Pond, Redondo Pond and the Council Park Pond in Somerton also are sure-fire fishing bets.
    • In the Tucson area, Cluff Ranch, Roper Lake, Dankworth Pond and Patagonia Lake all remain open and are viable fishing options.
    • Around Cottonwood, anglers can head to the lagoons at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, as well as to the Verde River.
    • The striper bite has picked up in the Colorado River below Davis Dam, in the Big Bend area.
    • In the Prescott Area, Fain Lake, Goldwater Lake, Watson Lake and Willow Creek Reservoir are options. It is the department’s understanding that an angler can still walk into Lynx and Mingus lakes from outside the locked gates (water is off and restrooms are locked).
    • Although Forest Service boat ramps are reportedly closed at Roosevelt, Apache, Canyon, Saguaro and Bartlett lakes, walk-in access is reportedly open at those lakes and on the Lower Salt River. Also, privately operated marinas and their launch facilities on those lakes are currently open, but some may involve fees. Call ahead to confirm.
    •  Boat ramp access to most lakes on Forest Service lands on the Mogollon Rim and in the White Mountains reportedly remains open at this time, but in the event this changes, walk-in access should still be available. Developed campgrounds and associated infrastructure (restrooms, trash containers) may be closed.
    • Mogollon Rim creeks such as Tonto Creek are open, and fishing for trout in the fall can be excellent. Dispersed camping is still available on undeveloped sites.
  • Arizona state parks, such as Lyman Lake State Park near St. Johns, Fool Hollow Lake in Show Low, and Patagonia Lake near Nogales are open for camping and fishing.
  • All Arizona Game and Fish Department offices, shooting ranges, fish hatcheries, wildlife areas, and other department facilities and properties will remain open during their normal business hours.

This is the most current information we have as of the time of this communication. Please use it as a GUIDE, not a definitive listing.

Also, it’s important for boaters and anglers to remember that, under Arizona law, boaters who take their boats out of waters designated as having aquatic invasive species must clean, drain and dry. This means wiping down your boat, pulling your plug and drying your watercraft and equipment for at least five days before launching your boat into a different water. For example, more boaters and anglers may be using Lake Pleasant during this period, and it’s imperative that they clean, drain and dry their boats to help prevent the spread of quagga mussels to non-infected waters. Other quagga-infected waters are Lake Powell, Lake Mead, Lake Mohave, Lake Havasu, and all lower Colorado River waters to the international border with Mexico. These waters are listed in the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) Director’s Orders located at

For more information on how federal land management agencies are dealing with the federal government shutdown, visit or

Updates will be posted at as they occur.


Arizona wilderness news round-up for November 2012

Wednesday, November 21st, 2012

Here’s what’s happening in and around the wilder country of Arizona:

Forest Service to Offer Workshop in Williams on Applying for Jobs

WILLIAMS, Ariz. – The Kaibab and Coconino National Forests are offering a workshop in Williams on applying for Forest Service jobs. The workshop is sponsored by the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests’ Civil Rights Action Group.

The workshop is scheduled for the following date, time and location.

• Nov. 28; 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.

• Williams High School Library, 440 S. 7th St., Williams

• Contact: Margaret Hangan, (928) 635-8342,

Participants in the workshop will receive guidance and training on applying for permanent and seasonal Forest Service jobs. Current employees will be available to help lead individuals through the application process.

The workshops are intended for anyone interested in applying for Forest Service jobs. However, to be considered for employment, applicants must be 18 years of age or older at the time they begin work.

Information will be available on local, nationwide, seasonal and permanent positions with the agency. Career fields within the Forest Service include fire, range, timber, recreation, wildlife biology, botany, geology, hydrology, law enforcement, human resources, budget administration and more.

To view information about employment on the Kaibab National Forest, please visit To view information about employment on the Coconino National Forest, please visit


Game and Fish launches new “Recreational Access Arizona” web mapping tool

The Arizona Game and Fish Department has launched an exciting new web-based mapping tool, “Recreational Access Arizona,” that provides hunters, anglers, and other outdoor recreationists with important information about access to and through private lands.

The free tool, which utilizes GIS mapping technology, is available at

Recreational Access Arizona was developed as part of the Game and Fish Department’s efforts to secure, maintain and enhance public recreational access to private lands, or to federal or state-owned lands that are “land-locked” by private lands. It provides a wealth of other information as well.

Want to see the boundaries of the Game Management Unit you’re in or where water catchments are located? Are you interested in what wildlife species are in a particular area? All the information is available with the click of a mouse anywhere on the map. The more places you click, the more information you can find.

To help get you started, just click on the “How to Use the Map” link in the upper right-hand corner of the page after you’ve logged on.

Even more exciting is that you can create your own map using this tool with a topographic map, aerial images, or street maps as the background. Just export the map you make and print it out on your home printer, or take it in to a printing service to print a large map.

Development and maintenance of this tool was made possible through a grant that Game and Fish received from the Voluntary Public Access and Habitat Incentive Program, which is a federal program authorized in the 2012 Farm Bill.

The department plans to add information that is useful to hunters and other outdoor recreationists over time, so users are encouraged to use the “Send Comments” link in the upper right-hand portion of the web page to e-mail comments for consideration.

For more information, visit

It is this author’s opinion that this site is actually really, really cool – but I look at maps for fun!


Tonto NF Has No Plan to manage wild horses

So rumors of a round-up/slaughter are just rumors. From Neil Bosworth, Forest Supervisor:

Phoenix (June 11, 2012) — There is apparently misinformation circulating on the internet and in the media that there is to be a “roundup” and “slaughter” of horses on the Tonto National Forest.

We have been contacted by many people to express their concerns and would like to reassure them:  There is no formalized plan for managing the horses on the forest. Forest specialists are still gathering information and looking at all options. No plan will be fully formalized until data gathering has been completed and options for herd management fully explored.

A multi-agency working group was formed in 2011 to effectively manage the growing horse population on the forest which is posing increased safety hazards to both horses and human visitors. During their initial meetings, the group focused directly on researching a contraception program which was being effectively used by the Salt River Pima Indian Community for horse herd management. That community’s program is considered a benchmark to evaluate the possible success of a contraception program for the forest horses.

After this year’s wildfire season is over, it is planned that the group will continue meeting as forest specialists continue to gather information, such as what size the herd is, what the age and gender count is, etc.

New guys in charge

Neil Bosworth is the new guy for Coconino NF:

Phoenix (July 10, 2012) — Neil Bosworth, new forest supervisor appointed to the Tonto National Forest, reported last month from his former position as a member of the Forest Service Legislative Affairs staff in Washington, D.C ., where he worked on national level policy issues such as climate change, fire and fuels, and wilderness designation.  He is accompanied in his re-assignment by wife Amy and two children, Reid and Maggie.

“Amy and I are thrilled to be back out West and I am excited to be leading one of the crown jewels of the Forest Service.  The Tonto National Forest is one of the most-visited, complex, and diverse national forests in the nation,” stated Bosworth.  “It’s just a fascinating forest, with its ecological diversity and high recreation use — a destination forest for Arizonians as well as visitors from all over the world.”


Jim Zornes is the new guy in charge of Apache/Sitgreaves:

The anticipation on who the next leader of the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNFs) is over. He’s already on the Forest! Deputy Forest Supervisor Jim Zornes has been named as the new ASNFs’ Forest Supervisor assuming former Forest Supervisor Chris Knopp’s position, who retired in November 2011. “We are fortunate to have Jim assume the role as Forest Supervisor. Jim’s two year tenure on the ASNFs will allow no time lost in continuing the important work being done there,” according to Southwestern Regional Forester Corbin Newman.

Before coming to the ASNFs Zornes was the District Ranger of the Mena/Oden Ranger District, Ouachita NF in Arkansas; before that he was District Ranger on the Leadville Ranger District, Pike/San Isabel NF, Cimarron and Comanche National Grassland in Leadville, CO. He began his career with the Forest Service in Oklahoma after graduating from college in Arkansas. His career took him to Oregon for nearly six years before leaving to purchase a farm in his native state of Arkansas before coming back to the USFS in 2001.

“I’m honored for the opportunity to live and work in the beautiful White Mountains of Arizona. I look forward to working with local leaders and the communities to engage in collaborative solutions to natural resource challenges and opportunities on the ASNFs. My wife Joan and I are pleased to continue being a part of the White Mountain community,” Zornes said.


Every NF in AZ still has Christmas Tree Permits

Except the Coronado NF – which never has them.

Outdoor Expo (garage Sale) in Payson
From the Payson Round-up:

Both seasoned and amateur fishermen will have a golden opportunity to rub elbows with some of the state’s finest anglers at the 2nd Annual Let’s Talk Fishin’ Outdoorsman’s Yard Sale on Dec. 8 at the Payson Senior Center, 514 W. Main St.

Professional anglers Clifford Pirch, Matt Sura and Andy Manahl will attend to share some of the secrets, as will Johnny Johnson of the television show, “Fishing with Johnny Johnson” that airs Sunday Mornings on Fox Sports Az.

All are expected to be on site most of the sale hours of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

In addition to the presence of the professionals and Johnson, a yard sale will feature new and almost new fishing items and free gifts will be awarded to children 14 years of age and younger.

The article has more info. For more information about the upcoming Outdoors Yard Sale, call Purtee at (928) 978-3659 or email: lets


US and Mexico agree on the fate of Colorado River flow

Might as well just read the Nat Geo article.


Leaving behind unilateralism, the two countries united to sign the most important bilateral Colorado River agreement since the 1944 Treaty.  The term of the agreement is short – five years– but the framework it sets and the tools it provides are exactly the kind of innovations that will be needed for both the river and the communities who use it to weather the impacts of climate change.

Good for all of us!