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Tonto NF - Finalized Travel Management Plan

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Without much fanfare, it appears that the 10 year long process of the Tonto National Forest's Travel Management Plan is now official (as of October 5th, 2021).

 

Here is an overarching map of the area with road status updates. The area is colossal, spanning Bulldog Canyon/Rolls through Lake Roosevelt, Horseshoe Reservoir, the Sierra Anchas, and much much more. 

 

  • You can read more about the TMP it here.
  • There are a number of detailed documents here
  • Multiple detail maps can also be found under the "decision" tab at the above link.

 

Notably, as of this post, the MVUM is not available on the Tonto NF website. Presumably for updating. It would be advisable to compare any trips in the area to the above linked maps until the official update to the MVUM is released. All approved Forest Service MVUM's can be found on this handy page here.

 

Personally, I'm pretty bummed out since this officially closes Cherry Creek Trail - an amazing run through some awesome countryside, creeks, and mountains east of Roosevelt. It will literally take an act of Congress to reopen the FR 203. You can read more about the issue here.

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☠️ RIP Cherry Creek and Red Creek trails - we've lost 2 very unique runs there. i've not yet had a chance yet to look at what else was taken away.

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I also just notice The Rolls has become a "permit zone". I haven't yet read what that means exactly, but if it's managed similarly to the Bulldog Canyon permit, then I think that's actually a good thing as it should cut down on the drunken yahoos that have plagued (and trashed) that area.

 

Everything between Needle Rock and Bartlett Dam Road is also becoming a permit zone (Desert Vista).

 

The area just West of Bartlett that was closed from a fire for MANY years appears to be reopening as yet another permit zone (St. Clair). That should include the long promised return of the very popular FR42 trail!

 

 

Edited by theksmith
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9 minutes ago, theksmith said:

I also just notice The Rolls has become a "permit zone". I haven't yet read what that means exactly, but if it's managed similarly to the Bulldog Canyon permit, then I think that's actually a good thing as it should cut down on the drunken yahoos that have plagued (and trashed) that area.

 

Everything between Needle Rock and Bartlett Dam Road is also becoming a permit zone (Desert Vista).

 

The area just West of Bartlett that was closed from a fire for MANY years appears to be reopening as yet another permit zone (St. Clair). That should include the long promised return of the very popular FR42 trail!

 

 

 

 

Page 19 of this document outlines the new permit areas:

 

I designate, the following three OHV permit zones, along with the continuation of the Bulldog Canyon OHV permit zone (Mesa Ranger District) as detailed under alternative C in Chapter 2 of the Revised FEIS. Within these OHV permit zones, motorized vehicles are still required to stay on designated routes and cannot travel cross-country.

  1. Desert Vista (Cave Creek Ranger District);

  2. The Rolls (Mesa Ranger District); and

  3. St. Clair (Cave Creek Ranger District).

I recognize that designated OHV permit zones are unique to the Tonto National Forest. However, the land within these zones have been negatively affected by off-highway vehicle use. That said, complete exclusion of off-highway vehicles from the lands within the zones is not currently desirable. A permit system is an effective tool for minimizing negative recreational impacts within high-use or sensitive natural environments. Within these designated OHV permit zones, individuals will need to acquire an OHV permit to use these areas for motorized recreation.

 

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Does the same permit cover all of these areas?

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1 minute ago, WILL E said:

Does the same permit cover all of these areas?

 

Unknown right now. I emailed the USFS to get some extra information on it and clarity around the "start date" on all of these changes.

 

Right now, the "new OHV areas" don't appear on the Recreation.gov permit site, and they don't have any information available on the Tonto website.

If there was something like a "Tonto Pass" that gave you access to everything, that'd be pretty user friendly - but I'd imagine they want to track usage in each area.

 

I'll let you guys know when/if they get back to me!

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2 hours ago, WILL E said:

So Cherry Creek is still open at this time?   Perhaps we should do a run.  I always liked that trail. 

 

That's how I'm interpreting it. We have a 1-1.5 year window. I shot Devin back a follow up question to that effect.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, theksmith said:

 

 

let's go!

 

Wow, Tonto NF is officially the most responsive government agency in existence!

Just got word back from the Tonto NF Program Manager over the TMP:

 

Hi Ryan. 

Effectively, yes.  

We’ll go through a short educational period and then expect motorized users to remain on the open route system.

Best,

Greg

 

To paraphrase, the trails are open until the new MVUM is published.

 

 

@theksmith want me to advance the run plans from 2022? lol  How does mid-December sound - or mid-January after the Holiday Party?

Edited by 4x4tographer

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Received another response from the USFS relating to the "grace period" between now and when the new MVUM is established for Tonto NF:

 

 

Hi Ryan,

 

Thanks for the follow-up question and you are very welcome Ryan.  As Greg stated below, the MVUM will give us the ability to enforce the decision.  We always encourage our recreating public/visitors to stay on signed routes so that motor vehicles are not operated in a manner which damages or unreasonably disturbs the land, wildlife, or vegetative resources.  This will ensure you aren’t breaking any other laws/regulations or causing any damage to the environment; resource damage has always been enforced by our law enforcement under 36 CFR 261. 

 

Take care and have a great day/week.

 

Devin Quintana 
Public Services Staff Officer

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