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Tonto National Forest Travel Management Plan

Tonto National Forest releases final decision for Travel Management Plan

PHOENIX, October 5, 2021 — Tonto National Forest officials signed the Final Record of Decision for the forest's Travel Management Plan today.

Today's release of the Final Record of Decision is the culmination of a Forest-wide, multi-year planning effort that designates a more sustainable motorized transportation system for recreation, administrative and emergency response access.

Following several years of public input and analyzing comments and objections, Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth is releasing the Forest Service's decision on how motorized vehicle use will be managed on the 2.9 million-acre Tonto National Forest. This decision is part of a nationwide effort by the USDA Forest Service to address motorized recreation.

"While this decision is important to define a route system for a variety of purposes, it also represents a starting point for the continued improvement of motor vehicle use on the forest," Bosworth said. "In future coordination with the public and partners, we will seek to improve the route system to meet changing conditions and address potential adverse effects. The decision incorporates public comments received through the entire process and represents a combination of the best available science and public sentiment on proper land management."

The new travel plan delivers on several important updates found through public comment to include over 3,600 miles of roads and motorized trails open to the public, eight Off-Highway Vehicle (OHV) areas where travel off of designated system roads and motorized trails is permitted along with three permit zones.

Motor vehicle use solely for retrieving legally harvested elk and bear for all hunts up to one mile on both sides of all designated roads and motorized trails is also included. Motor vehicle use for dispersed camping will continue to be a priority with approximately 91 miles of full-sized motorized trails that access approximately 2,750 dispersed camping sites. For those seeking to continue to access areas for fuelwood, the use of motorized vehicles off of designated system roads and motorized trails will continue to aid in the collection of permitted personal fuelwood within appropriate areas designed for cutting and collection.

Tonto National Forest staff and volunteers are grateful for the public and partner engagement and feedback received at numerous points while developing this plan.

"We hope this plan sets forth a shared vision for how to manage travel on the treasure of Arizona that is the Tonto National Forest," Bosworth said. "I want to thank the public and our partners who have participated in this lengthy process and ask for their continued support to improve our transportation system in the future."

The Travel Management Plan, along with supporting documents, are available on the Tonto website at: https://www.fs.usda.gov/project/?project=28967.

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