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Tonto National Forest Recreational Shooting and Hunting Plan

Arizona: Draft Forest Plan for the Tonto National Forest Addresses both Recreational Shooting and Hunting

Arizona: Draft Forest Plan for the Tonto National Forest Addresses both Recreational Shooting and Hunting

The US Forest Service has released a plan for the Tonto National Forest that will guide its management for the next 10 to 15 years. The nearly three million-acre national forest is located north of Phoenix and is the 5th largest national forest in the US. Since its establishment in 1905, the Tonto has become of the most visited “urban” forests with over 5 million visitors annually. The public is invited to submit comments now through March 12, 2020 on the draft plan/draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) that presents four management alternatives for consideration. While most of the Tonto will remain open to recreational shooting, there are proposed closures. The draft plan/DEIS states that most of the closures overlap existing areas under temporary closure orders. However, the implementation of a new Travel Management Plan could affect access to areas otherwise open to recreational shooting (See Table 23, Volume I of the DEIS, page 114). The draft plan can be read online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tonto/landmanagement/planning/?cid=fseprd595481

If you are a visitor to the Tonto, and especially if you depend upon the Forest for recreational shooting and/or hunting, you will want to take advantage of the open house meetings and/or public working days listed below. The Forest Service’s announcement says that educational materials and resource specialists will be available at the meetings to answer questions and talk about the management alternatives. The public working day meetings are informal and will give the public an opportunity to sit down with members of the planning team and discuss the draft plan and management of the forest.

Open house public meetings (all between 5pm – 8pm):

Mesa, AZ – January 8, 2020, Franklin Junior High School

Payson, AZ – January 9, 2020, Julia Randall Elementary School

Payson, AZ – January 22, 2020, Julia Randall Elementary School

Superior, AZ – January 23, 2020, Superior Junior/Senior High School

Cave Creek, AZ – February 5, 2020, Desert Foothills Library

Globe, AZ – February 6, 2020, High Desert Middle School

Public working days at Tonto National Forest offices (all between 11am – 2pm):

Globe, AZ – January 8, 2020, Globe Ranger District Office

Cave Creek, AZ – January 10, 2020, Cave Creek District Office

Phoenix, AZ – January 16, 2020, Tonto National Forest Supervisors Office

Tonto Basin, AZ – January 22, 2020, Tonto Basin Ranger District Office

Mesa, AZ – January 23, 2020, Mesa Ranger District Office

Payson, AZ – January 30, 2020, Payson Ranger District Office


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