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Tonto National Forest Draft Plan Open for Public Comment (AZ)

Posted: 01/21/2020
By: Kestrel Kunz

The Tonto National Forest is revising their forest-wide Management Plan for the first time since 1985. On December 13, 2019 they officially released the Draft Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Assessment (DEIS) for a 90-day comment period ending on March 12, 2020. Forest Plans are vitally important as they are the blueprint for resource management and they provide an opportunity to secure better protections for rivers and their surrounding landscapes. As part of the plan revision process, the Forest Service is required to rely on public input to inform management direction, plan components, and new designated areas. 

The Tonto National Forest is home to some of America's most classic rivers and some unique gems. Three different sections of the Salt run through the Tonto on the eastern side of the Forest, including the Salt's classic multi-day run. The Wild and Scenic Verde River and Fossil Creek run through the heart of the Tonto National Forest north of Phoenix, with additional segments of the Verde being studied for Wild and Scenic Eligibility in this Draft Plan. Lastly, the Tonto National Forests boasts Arizona's classic gorge on Tonto Creek and just to the east lies the elusive and challenging Salome Creek. Each of these river segments are incredibly special and different and will require robust management direction in order to adequately protect them and the unique recreation opportunities that they provide. 

The Forest Service is hosting public meetings throughout the planning area in Arizona in January and February. If you live in the area or nearby, we strongly encourage you to attend one of these meetings to learn more about the Draft Plan and provide feedback to the Forest Service staff that are working directly on the plan. See the public meeting schedule below. All of the meetings will be held between 5pm and 7pm. 

  • Payson, AZ - January 22, Julia Randall Elementary School 
  • Superior, AZ - January 23, Superior Junior/Senior High School
  • Cave Creek, AZ - February 5, Desert Foothills Library 
  • Globe, AZ - February 6, High Desert Middle School 

If you can't make any of the public meetings this month, please consider submitting written comments to the Forest Service using the online comment tool or by mailing a letter to: Tonto National Forest, Attn: Forest Planner, 2324 E McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85006.

Remember that you have until March 12 to submit comments and so please take time to review the Draft Plan and write a thoughtful, unique letter to the planning team. Stay tuned for more information as our team continues to review the Draft Plan and DEIS. You can expect to see American Whitewater's detailed feedback on the plan revision in the coming weeks. 

Photo of Tonto Creek takeout, taken by Craig Irwin.

Kestrel Kunz

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