On Wednesday, December 6, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Deputies responded to reports of livestock on Walker Road, which travels through the Prescott National Forest near Lynx Lake. Responders found that livestock had exited through a hole cut in the fence by someone to gain access to an illegal recreation trail. Walker Road has a speed limit of 50 mph and motorists do not expect to see livestock on this road, making this a dangerous situation as livestock can easily run into the road, in front of a fast moving vehicle. Once they exit through a hole in a fence they will likely remain in the road corridor until they can be herded back. This situation is even more dangerous at night.
Forest officials want to remind the recreating public that it is illegal to cut fences, build makeshift gates, or disturb any property of the U.S. Forest Service. Violations are punishable by a Class B Misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of $5,000 and 6 months imprisonment. Trespassing on private lands to access forest trails is also illegal and creates issues for forest land managers, private land owners, authorized permittees, and forest visitors. It can also create long-term animosity between land owners and recreationists, reducing support for recreation opportunities in the area.
The Prescott National Forest encourages all trail users to consider their actions carefully while on public lands. Please use official Trailheads for access, and do not cut fences as you could be creating a much more dangerous situation than you intend. All visitors are encouraged to enjoy outings on their public lands; make memories, take photos, and leave no trace.