Tonto National Forest to hold open houses on proposed Travel Management Plan

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November 9th, 2009

The Tonto National Forest is hosting a series of travel management planning open houses during the month of November to give the public an opportunity to share ideas about the forest’s system of roads, trails, and/or areas, review the proposed system, and submit comments about the proposal.

Two open houses have already been held in Tonto Basin and in Globe. Remaining open house locations and times in the various ranger districts are:

  • Cave Creek Ranger District, Monday, Nov. 9, 6:30-8 p.m., Black Mountain Elementary School, 33606 N. 60th St., Scottsdale

  • Pleasant Valley Ranger District, Thursday, Nov. 12, 6-7:30 p.m., Pleasant Valley Community Center, 47533 Highway 288, Young

  • Mesa Ranger District, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 7-8:30 p.m., Broadway Recreation Center, 59 E. Broadway Road, Mesa

  • Payson Ranger District, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 6-7:30 p.m., Julia Randall Elementary School, 601 S. Greenway Parkway, Payson

In a news release posted on the Tonto National Forest Web site, the Forest Service provides the following information:

In 2005, the Department of Agriculture enacted a new planning rule to manage motorized vehicle use on all national forests and grasslands. This rule requires the Tonto National Forest to designate those roads, trails, and areas that are open to motor vehicle use. Designations will be made by class of vehicle and, if appropriate, by time of year. The final rule will prohibit the use of motor vehicles off the designated system, as well as use of motor vehicles on routes and in areas that are not consistent with the designations.

Tonto National Forest officials will be presenting a proposed system of roads, trails and areas. Based on public input, the alternatives will then be proposed in a draft Environmental Assessment (EA) which will be released to the public for comment. The final product will be a Motor Vehicle Use Map that shows which roads and trails will be open to motor vehicle use.

“Public involvement at this time is a critical component in developing a motorized travel system,” stated Delvin Lopez, Public Services Group leader for the Tonto National Forest. “By having these open houses in a variety of communities, we are hoping to get representative viewpoints and suggestions from a cross-section of forest visitors.

“The purpose of the Motor Vehicle Use Map is to comply with the requirements of the Travel Management Rule, to reduce problems caused by uncontrolled off-road travel, and to improve the current system of travel routes for public access and enjoyment,” said Lopez. “The development of a Motor Vehicle Use Map is an adaptive process in which future changes can be made in the public interest.”

For a copy of the forest travel management proposed action, visit the Tonto National Forest Web page, or visit the Forest Supervisor’s Office at 2324 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix, Arizona, or one of the forest’s district offices. For more information, contact Genevieve Johnson at (602) 225-5213.

Written comments regarding the proposed action may be submitted through December 4, 2009. Comments should be mailed to Travel Management Team Leader, Tonto National Forest, 2324 E. McDowell Road, Phoenix, AZ, 85006.

For more information about the program, please visit the Tonto National Forest Web page call the Tonto National Forest at (602) 225-5200.

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