Memorial Day Weekend on Coronado National Forest

Some recreation sites reopen, shooting and fire restrictions in place, offices closed May 25


TUCSON, AZ, May 20, 2020 – Some developed recreation sites on Coronado National Forest will reopen Thursday, May 21. Campfire, smoking and recreational shooting restrictions are in place. Offices and virtual services will be closed on May 25 in observance of the Memorial Day holiday.

Nationwide, most national forests and grasslands remain open for visitors to enjoy, and Forest Service staff look forward to the day when all locations can safely reopen. Every effort is being made to expand access while following CDC guidance and state and local government orders to protect people and employees. We are working closely with our state and local partners to collectively determine the best path forward to safely reopening sites closed in response to the pandemic.

The following developed recreation sites will reopen Thursday, May 21 at 5:00 p.m: Douglas Ranger District

  • Herb Martyr Campground (restrooms will be open)
  • Rustler Park Campground (restrooms will be open)
  • Sycamore Campground (restrooms will be open)
  • Nogales Ranger District – no sites reopening at this time.
  • Sierra Vista Ranger District
    • Reef Townsite Campground and Group Site (restrooms will be open)
    • Ramsey Vista Campground (restrooms will be open)
  • Safford Ranger District
    • Arcadia Campground (portable toilets will be in place)
    • Noon Creek Campground (restrooms will be open)
    • Riggs Flat Campground (portable toilets will be in place)
  • Santa Catalina Ranger District
    • General Hitchcock Campground (restrooms will be open)
    • Peppersauce Campground (restrooms will be open)
  • Concessionaire sites to re-open with the exception of group sites:
    • Rose Canyon Campground (concessionaire will open restrooms)
    • Spencer Canyon Campground (concessionaire will open restrooms)

Throughout the Memorial Day holiday weekend, Coronado National Forest officials expect large numbers of visitors to dispersed recreation sites and recently reopened developed sites. Visitors are reminded to practice social distancing and maintain a distance of six feet between individuals. The following are tips for safe and enjoyable weekend outings.

Campfires, Smoking, Shooting and Fireworks.  Campfire, smoking and shooting restrictions are currently in place on Coronado National Forest to prevent human-caused fires requiring a response from firefighters.  Vegetation is dry in places and wildfires can easily be ignited. The following are prohibited:

  • Building, maintaining, attending, or using a fire, campfire, charcoal, coal, or wood stove including fires in developed campgrounds or improved sites.

  • Smoking, except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
  • Discharging a firearm except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal, or tribal laws and regulations.
  • Operating any internal combustion engine, except operating motorized vehicles on designated roads so long as you park in an area devoid of vegetation within 10 feet of the roadway.
  • Welding, or operating acetylene or other torches with an open flame.
  • Using an explosive.
  • Fireworks are always prohibited on National Forests.

Weather. Daytime temperatures are warming up, although weather systems passing through bring sporadic relief from the heat and can rapidly cool the higher elevations. Recreationists are encouraged to check weather forecasts and plan for expected conditions in areas they plan to visit. This includes taking weather-appropriate clothing, plenty of drinking water (one quart per hour per person is the minimum recommendation, with one to two quarts per hour recommended for those engaged in strenuous activity such as hiking), snacks, sunscreen, and sturdy shoes.

Camping.  Campers are encouraged to be good neighbors and recognize “quiet time” at 10:00 p.m.; to avoid low spots and pitch tents in areas that are well-drained; to bring drinking water, as not all areas supply potable water; and to remove trash and leave clean campsites.

WildlifeThe Coronado is home to many wildlife species.  Visitors should avoid contact with wildlife and utilize “bear aware” principles.  Bears and other animals may be attracted to human food and trash. Recreationists should maintain clean campsites, store food out of sight and smell range of bears and utilize locking metal storage boxes for food and garbage in developed recreation sites.  Cookware and dishes should be washed in designated areas away from camping sites and stored promptly after meals.  Odorous products such as toothpaste or lotions and clothing with food or cooking odors should not be taken into sleeping areas. Wildlife should not be fed intentionally or accidentally. For their safety, pets should be leashed at all times. Prevention of wildlife encounters is encouraged. “Keep Wildlife Wild.”

International Boundary Travel Caution.  Forest visitors traveling in remote areas of the Coronado National Forest in the vicinity of the International Border with Mexico are advised to remain alert to their surroundings as illegal smuggling activity is known to occur in some areas. This is not cause for alarm, rather for situational awareness, as those involved in illegal activity generally try to avoid detection. Visitors are advised not to attempt to intercede should they witness suspicious activity, but to contact the nearest law enforcement agency with a location, descriptions of persons, vehicles, date and time and other pertinent information.                        

Dispersed Use/Off Highway Vehicles.  Dispersed picnicking and camping outside of developed recreation areas on the Forest is allowed unless otherwise posted.  Visitors must provide their own water and pack out their garbage using the “pack it in, pack it out” principle. Off-road/off-trail vehicle travel is prohibited.

For Ranger District and Recreation Area Information: “Know Before You Go.”

  • Douglas Ranger District (Chiricahua Mountains, Dragoon Mountains) - (520) 364-3468.
  • Nogales Ranger District (Santa Rita Mountains, Madera Canyon; Atascosa Mountains; Tumacacori Mountains) - (520) 281-2296.
  • Safford Ranger District (Mt. Graham) - (928) 428-4150.
  • Sierra Vista Ranger District (Huachuca Mountains, Miller Peak Wilderness) - (520) 378-0311.
  • Santa Catalina Ranger District (Mt. Lemmon, Sabino Canyon) - (520) 749-8700.