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Coconino And Tonto National Forests Propose Management Plans For Fossil Creek

Tonto Forest
Marcos Roybal/Coconino National Forest
handout | agency
Last year, the Forest Service implemented an online registration system to help curb the number of visitors. In 2013, there were 80,000 visitors.

Fossil Creek is a popular destination. Clear blue-green water, lush vegetation and wildlife attract tens of thousands of visitors every year. And the effects have become painfully obvious.  

Overflowing trash bins, piles of plastic bottles and human waste were some of the problems Coconino and Tonto National Forest rangers faced prior to implementing an online registration system.

Now, the Forest Service wants to go further and enact a more comprehensive management plan. There are five alternatives — A through E — and they range from doing nothing to restricting motorized vehicles.

"At this point, alternative E is what we see as a viable option for management of Fossil Creek in the long run that would give us flexibility to adjust our management approach in real time and accommodate, if appropriate, additional use demands in Fossil Creek moving forward," explained Marcos Roybal, who is the Fossil Creek project coordinator. As for the online reservation system, he says the Forest Service is pleased with how it's working. 

"We found the issues we were seeing with crowding and with trash being left in the Fossil Creek corridor were reduced to a large degree." he said.

The public now has 45 days to comment on the proposed plans.

Click here to learn more about the five alternative concepts at several public engagement opportunities.

Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.