Forest service examines permitting for Fossil Creek

By Eva Hernandez

For almost one hundred years, Fossil Creek was dammed because of a nearby power plant and reduced to a trickle. In 1999, the U.S. Forest Service and the Arizona Game and Fish Department restored the water flow.

Since 2005, the recreational use of Fossil Creek has been on the rise. The increased flow of visitors has impacted the soil, vegetation and wildlife. Safety issues and concerns need to be addressed with a sustainable plan to keep Fossil Creek accessible for recreational use.

Some of the proposed actions include a permitting system that would take effect May through September. Aravaipa Canyon in Southeastern Arizona has developed a successful permitting system and is being examined as a possible model for Fossil Creek.

“[Being environmentally responsible is] about being selfless, and that is why people are having a hard time [protecting Fossil Creek],” Sam Frank said.

Representatives from the Coconino and Tonto National Forests have been asking the public for their opinions. This is an opportunity for the community to get involved with their recreation rights.

More information on the proposal and how to participate in the planning process can be found at http://redrockcountry.org/fossil/proposed-action.shtml.

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