Outfitter & Guide Prospectus

The Tonto National Forest covers nearly three million acres ranging from Saguaro cactus-studded desert to pine-forested mountains beneath the Mogollon Rim. This variety in vegetation and range in altitude (from 1,300 to 7,900 feet) offers outstanding recreational opportunities throughout the year. As the fifth largest forest in the United States, the Tonto National Forest is one of the most-visited “urban” forests in the U.S. (approximately 5.8 million visitors annually). Its boundaries are Phoenix to the south, the Mogollon Rim to the north and the San Carlos and Fort Apache Indian reservations to the east.

The Tonto National Forest Land and Resource Management Plan, 1984, limited the number of outfitters in designated areas.  That capacity was reached and a moratorium on any further permitting of outfitters and guides has been either restricted or limited.  An analysis was completed in 2013 which re-evaluated the capacity and opened the doors to new outfitting and guiding business opportunities.  The results of this assessment are now being applied to the management of the outfitter/guide program; namely, a percentage of total recreation capacity shall be allocated to commercial outfitter/guide use. The Assessment also identifies which new outfitter/guide activities will be solicited via prospectus.

While several outfitter and guides are currently permitted, the Forest has determined that there is a public need for additional commercial outfitting and guiding services. Because it is known that competitive interest exists, the Forest Service must use the prospectus process for selecting applicants and awarding permits.

Outfitter and Guide Prospectus