Riparian Area Protections Implemented
Posted May 15, 2019
Payson — The USDA Forest Service, Tonto National Forest, Payson Ranger District have announced overnight camping restrictions along six stretches of streams and rivers located near Payson. Implementation of these restrictions will help allow grass and plants to grow along the stream banks. The roots from these plants hold the soil in place, prevent erosion, and keep soil from washing into the streams which will improve the riparian condition.
“Riparian areas are rare in the desert southwest, and we are working to protect these fragile stream banks, while continuing to allow for summer fun,” said Jeremy Plain, Acting District Ranger at Payson. “The Tonto National Forest is working hard to protect the streams and rivers for enjoyment now and in the future”. These restrictions will not affect day use, or scenic driving along the road corridors, only overnight camping within a 200-foot buffer on either side of the following streams:
- Bear Flat – The area 200 hundred feet on each side of Tonto Creek beginning at the Bear Flat private property line and extending downstream approximately .3 miles to where Tonto Creek Crosses the Hells Gate Wilderness Boundary. This area is accessed by travelling on Forest Road 405 from State Highway 260 to the Hells Gate Wilderness Trailhead Parking lot.
- Christopher Creek – The area 200 feet on each side of Christopher Creek, starting at the northern boundary of the Mountain Meadow private subdivision property line and continuing approximately .20 miles to 400 feet beyond the See Canyon Trailhead. This area is accessed by travelling on Forest Road 284 between Mountain Meadow private property to See Canyon private property.
- Sections of the East Verde River including
- Flowing Springs – The area 200 feet on each side of the East Verde River, starting on the east side of State Highway 87 and following the river upstream approximately 2.4 miles to the southern property of the Flowing Springs Estate private property boundary. This area is access by turning onto Forest Road 272 from State Highway 87.
- Verde Glen – The area 200 feet on each side of the East Verde River for approximately 1.4 miles between Whispering Pines and Verde Glen, as well as 200 feet on east side of both Dry Dude Creek and Dry Creek, 1.4 miles and 1.5 miles respectively. The area is accessed by traveling on Forest Road 1190 from the Control Road (Forest Road 64).
- Washington Park – The area 200 feet on each side of the East Verde River from the northern boundary of the Rim Trail Mountain Club private property line continuing approximately one mile to the intersection of the East Verde River and the Highline Trail (Forest Trail 31). The area is accessed by travelling Forest Road 32A from the Control Road (Forest Road 64).
- Tonto Creek – The area 200 feet on each side of the Tonto Creek Hatchery Road from State Highway 260 to Bear Flat.
- Webber Creek – The area 200 feet on each side of Webber Creek, beginning at the boundary of Geronimo Estates private property line approximately 2.8 miles to the Camp Geronimo private property boundary. The area is accessed by travelling on Forest Road 440 from the Control Road (Forest Road 64) to Camp Geronimo.
The decision to include overnight camping restrictions along these stretches of stream was taken after several years of public involvement and environmental analysis to determine effects of the proposal. The decision was signed in fall of 2018, and these overnight camping restrictions within 200 feet on either side of the above stream corridors were implemented on April 22, 2019. Vehicles will be allowed to park at designated pull-outs and trailhead or end of road parking areas.
As a reminder, First, Second and Third Crossings along with Water Wheel recreation sites on the East Verde River will remain day-use only. For additional details and questions, please contact the Payson Ranger District at (928) 474-7900 during business hours.