As Arizona lifts the shelter-at-home order, and as recreation sites begin to reopen, the Leave No Trace principles are more important than ever to ensure an enjoyable experience for everyone. Preparation and planning are key to reducing waste and minimizing natural resource damage. Respect wildlife and be considerate of other visitors. Leave what you find and take home with you what you brought.
Before visiting a national forest, Know Before Your Go. It will keep you and wildlife safe and the forests clean. For information such as road closures, trail conditions, wildland fires, fire restrictions, and animal dangers, visit the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests webpage, Facebook, Twitter, or contact the district office for the area visiting. An interactive visitor map is also available and displays campsite and trail status.
Know Before You Go Tips: Always tell someone when you are leaving and check in with them upon return. Check the weather, wear appropriate clothing and bring plenty of drinking water. Bring enough food that will last a little beyond the trip and store it in animal-proof containers. Carry a compass and a map, because you cannot rely on cellphone navigation and pack a first aid kit. Avoid parking over dry vegetation to avoid unintended fire starts.
With some developed recreation sites reopened over the past week with reduced services, the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests developed campgrounds are at capacity. In the past, it was possible for a visitor to drive to the forest without a reservation and find an available developed campground site. However, with record visitation over the past month, developed campground reservations (www.recreation.gov) are strongly recommended.
Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests campfire ban order is still in effect and prohibits igniting, building, maintaining, attending or using a fire, and applies to all charcoal grills, barbecues, and coal and wood burning stoves. Pressurized liquid or gas devices (stoves, grills or lanterns) with shut-off valves are exempt from the campfire ban in an area at least three feet from any flammable materials.
All Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests offices and ranger stations will close Monday, May 25 in observance of Memorial Day. Virtual business hours will resume on Tuesday, May 26. Fire personnel and law enforcement officers will be on duty throughout the Memorial Day holiday for the safety of visitors.