Trail Closures Due to Thinning Operations along Copper Basin Road

Contact(s): Debbie Maneely: 928-443-8130

For the last three months, a contractor has been using heavy equipment to thin trees on 505 acres of Prescott National Forest land. The Francis Stewardship Project is located west of the City of Prescott between Copper Basin Road and Thumb Butte Road. The contractor has been making progress and will be expanding operations along Thumb Butte Loop.


Area Map


Thinning operations are dependent on weather and soil conditions, but visitors can expect equipment to be in the area for the next 2 months. Several sections of the project are located adjacent to the Prescott Circle Trail. As the contractor moves through the area, portions of the Circle Trail and other system trails will be periodically closed, and trail users will be re-routed to other system trails. The Aspen Creek Trailhead and the Copper Basin Trailhead, located on Copper Basin Road, are still closed in order to ensure public safety.


As the operator moves through the project area, numerous signs will be posted to make trail users aware of thinning operations, the status of trail closures as well as alternate routes. Measures will be taken to protect the surface of trails and impacts will be remedied by the contractor and the Forest Service as needed. In addition, there will be increased truck traffic along Copper Basin Road, Thumb Butte Loop and Thumb Butte Road.


Portions of Trail 393, 327 and 322, which make up the Prescott Circle Trail, as well as Trail 392, 391, 387, 366, 333, 326, 321, 48 and Forest Road 51 beyond the gate will be closed in order to maintain public safety. Thumb Butte Loop Road and Copper Basin Road are other alternative routes that can be utilized; however, users should be aware that there will be increased truck traffic on these roads.  


The good news for trail users with this project starting is that the new trails and trailheads approved for construction in the Greater Prescott Trails Plan can begin when this project is completed, providing numerous new trail recreation opportunities in the area.


Prescott National Forest personnel will also ensure that agency approved events will experience only minimal interruptions. Until mechanical operations are concluded, estimated to be in spring of 2020, Forest Managers recommend that visitors take advantage of recreational opportunities on the north side of Thumb Butte Road, Spence Basin, Granite Basin Recreation Area, or the Lynx Lake Recreation area.


The intent of the project is to improve the health and resiliency of fire-adapted ecosystems while reducing hazardous fuels that pose a threat to life and property in the Wildland-Urban Interface.


Visitors of the Prescott National Forest can obtain additional information via the following: