Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Protect Tonto National Forest

Tonto National Forest includes much of the desert, riparian areas, and forests around Phoenix. This volcanic plug, called Weaver's Needle, lies in the heart of the Superstition Mountains, which is part of Tonto National Forest. TNF contains some beautiful landscapes, rare desert wildlife, and wonderful hiking.

Unfortunately, the Forest Service is considering a new travel management agenda that could potentially open up areas of TNF to more motorized vehicle use. The plans are available here: http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/tonto/travelmgt/.

This is a terrible idea. This website shows what the desert suffers when exposed to unmitigated use: http://fourpeakspickup.blogspot.com/.

Every year a dedicated group of AZ residents get together for the Four Peaks Cleanup and attempt to undo some of the damage the desert suffers at the hands of irresponsible, destructive vandals. You'll see that there are a lot off-roaders at the clean-up. Of course, not all off-road vehicle enthusiasts abuse and destroy the land (though there is an inherent element of destruction in off-road vehicle use), but people are more apt to destroy and area they drive to with a vehicle loaded with guns and garbage than to pack guns and garbage on their back.

The Sierra Club has a form letter you can fill out and send to the Forest Service available here:

It would be great if you could take the time to quickly send the letter, especially if you're an AZ resident. Many of the citizens and politicians in this state are distressingly poor stewards of our unique and amazing desert environment, so we need to be more vigilant in protecting it.

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