Forest Service plans camping crackdown along Arizona 260 and Salt Mine Road corridor

Photos of signs posted southbound about 1.5 miles north of the Grief Hill Trailhead in Camp Verde near the County Jail and near Out Of Africa off Cherry Creek Road at SR 260. VVN/Bill Helm

Photos of signs posted southbound about 1.5 miles north of the Grief Hill Trailhead in Camp Verde near the County Jail and near Out Of Africa off Cherry Creek Road at SR 260. VVN/Bill Helm

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Map courtesy Verde Ranger Dsitrict

CAMP VERDE – As cooler weather approaches Arizona, visitors begin to flock to the Verde Valley to enjoy their favorite outdoor activities. Many of these visitors enjoy dispersed camping in the Verde Valley on forest lands.

According to a news release from the Prescott National Forest, over the past few years, dispersed camping in these areas has become a major safety concern due to high use, overstay violations, abandoned property, trash, and illegal activities.

“In the last 10 years multiple strategies have been used from providing volunteer hosts, improving signing to ensure understanding of Forest Camping Policies and Regulations, to intensive monitoring and compliance in an attempt to keep the areas open,” the news release states.”These strategies have been ineffective as overstay violation, trash dumping, abandoned property, resource degradation and human waste issues continue to occur creating an unsafe environment for other forest users and continued resource degradation.

In order to address the issue of overcrowding and overuse in these areas on the Verde Ranger District, Forest Officials are issuing a two-year temporary closure that will start Jan. 7, 2019.

During this closure period,camping will be prohibited within the restricted areas adjacent to Highway 260 from Cottonwood to Camp Verde and Salt Mine Road in Camp Verde from the intersection with Highway 260 to Beasley Flats Day Use Area.

Over the next two years the district will be analyzing current dispersed camping corridors, areas of overuse and look at the long term management of these areas. This process will provide opportunity for public involvement and input.

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