Flagstaff AZ (February 11, 2019) – Coconino National Forest has issued an updated closure order which will increase recreation opportunities in the Flagstaff Watershed Protection Project area, which includes Dry Lake Hills and a large portion of Mount Elden.
A closure was first issued last month in order to keep the public safe from forest harvesting operations and is now being updated to increase recreational access while continuing to provide for visitor’s safety, safe helicopter logging and forest thinning operations.
A section of the Forest Road 420 is now open from the “Y” intersection at FR 557, to provide access to the Fort Valley Trail System via Chimney Trail. Also, FR 743 will be open to provide non-motorized access which temporarily reroutes the Arizona National Scenic Trail and provide access at the north end of the closure to the Waterline and Weatherford Trails.
“We know how important these trails are to the community,” said Matt McGrath, Flagstaff District Ranger. “We are committed to working collaboratively to minimize impacts of the closure, and will continue to reduce the closure area as soon as operations allow.”
The public is restricted from entering the closure area so that helicopter logging and forest thinning operations can be conducted safely.
Heavy equipment and truck traffic will be present on Schultz Pass Road (FR 420), Elden Lookout Road (FR 557) and U.S. Highway 180. Several miles of Schultz Pass Road with the closure area are closed, as well as Elden Lookout Road, for public safety.
The closure area also affects all or portions of trails, including:
- Brookbank Trail
- Elden Lookout Trail
- Little Bear Trail
- Little Elden Trail
- Little Gnarly Trail
- Lower Oldham Trail
- Rocky Ridge Trail
- Schultz Creek Trail
- Sunset Trail
- Upper Oldham Trail
Helicopter operations are expected to conclude at the end of April when this closure may be updated to restore even more recreational access to the area. Ground operations will continue through the summer and will require that some areas remain closed for an extended period of time.
Violation of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations and/or imprisonment for not more than six months.