The U.S. Forest Service has released a long-awaited management plan for Fossil Creek in central Arizona, a popular recreation site which is home to many rare and threatened species. KNAU’s Melissa Sevigny reports.
Fossil Creek is one of only two Wild and Scenic Rivers in the state and sacred to the Yavapai-Apache Nation. The plan formalizes a permit system that limits the number of visitors between April and October, and it authorizes a future increase from 148 vehicles at a time to 202.
Mike Dechter, spokesperson for the Coconino National Forest, the increase is "depending on the fact that there’s monitoring and that monitoring shows the current use or expected increase is not going to result in impacts to the outstanding and remarkable values that make Fossil Creek so special."
The plan also approves improvements to recreation sites, road and bridge repairs, and future additions like bathrooms and bike racks. These changes are contingent on funding.
The decision is currently open for objections from members of the public who previously submitted timely comments on the planning process. Site-specific objections are due by January 19. Objections to the Comprehensive River Management Plan are due by February 2. More information here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/FSEPRD860775.pdf