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Forest Service scraps plans to issue commercial permits for Coconino National Forest

The Forest Service has scrapped plans for commercial outfitter and backcountry guide services on national forest land outside of Flagstaff.  Even the city’s mayor came out against the proposal.

The Forest Service planned to issue seven special permits that would have allowed guided hiking, cycling, Jeep tours and rock climbing in the Flagstaff ranger district. That’s a nearly 1 million acre portion of Forest Service land around the city. 

Flagstaff Mayor Becky Daggett was opposed to the plan. In a January letter, she warned of potentially "devastating consequences" for the city because commercial outfitters would be allowed to operate in the Mt. Elden and Dry Lake Hills areas still impacted by post fire-related flooding. And she said, federal law enforcement is too scarce to effectively manage it. 

The federal agency said it received more than 200 statements during the public comment period.

The agency's initial proposal is online at  fs.usda.gov/project/?project=62421.


Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.