Restricted Areas - Closed Developed Recreation Sites in The Southwestern Region

To protect public health and safety, and the health and saftey of our employees and volunteers, and reflecting federal and state guidance to limit the spread of COVID-19, developed recreation sites are currently closed and group sizes are limited in other areas. 

Celebrating 75 Years of a Beloved Fire-Prevention Icon

Here in the Southwestern Region, we feel a particularly close connection to Smokey Bear and his message of fire-prevention. We are the home of the orphaned black bear cub that would become a living symbol. While we celebrate 75 years of Smokey Bear as an integral part of the nation’s popular culture, let’s take a look back at his captivating story!

2018 Tinder Fire

The Tinder Fire was sparked by an illegal campfire during Stage I fire restrictions following an extremely dry winter and spring. The fire was burning in the East Clear Creek drainage east of C.C. Cragin Reservoir. In Red Flag weather conditions, it quickly grew, encroached into nearby communities, destroying 33 residences and 54 minor structures.

Mormon Fire Staff Ride

On Aug. 8, 2017, personnel from the Forest Service and other partner agencies gathered for the Mormon Fire Staff Ride to study and discuss decisions made and consequences of the Mormon Fire of 2016. A Staff Ride is essentially a case study that is conducted on the ground where the event happened.  In application, leaders revisit the scene of past fires to examine and analyze the decisions and actions that occurred on those fires.

Roving Ranger Programs

Presented to you by a partnership team comprised of both National Park Service and Forest Service rangers and volunteers, the Roving Rangers provide free ranger programs that are a fun and entertaining way to learn about and experience the great outdoors with family, friend, and your neighborly park and forest rangers! Come exploring with us today!

National Public Lands Day: Re-opening Deer Hill Trail

The Coconino National Forest's Flagstaff Ranger District, Arizona Conservation Corps (AZCC), Recreation Equipment, Inc. (REI), and a fantastic group of volunteers met at Deer Hill Trail for a special National Public Lands Day trail project on September 30, 2017. Deer Hill Trail is a 4.6 mile long trail running along the base of the eastern side of the San Francisco Peaks, devastated in the summer of 2010 by the Schultz Fire. This final day of trail work was the culmination of over three years of effort by numerous volunteer organizations and sponsors, hundreds of local volunteers, and the Flagstaff Ranger District to clear and repair the trail to safe standards for equestrians, hikers, and mountain bikers.

2017 Pedals vs. Pistons Volunteer Trail Day

Read about this fantastic annual volunteer trail work event that brings together a variety trail users—including mountain bikers, motorcycle riders, hikers, and equestrians—to contribute back to the Coconino National Forest by performing much-needed trail maintenance and building projects. This year's event was held on Upper Moto Trail in the Fort Valley Trail System on the San Francisco Peaks. (Story by Sean Golightly)

Employees pitch in to return a rogue motorized trail back to nature

On August 16th, 2017, employees permanent and seasonal, from offices of the Flagstaff Ranger District and Supervisor, congregated on National Forest near the Mountainaire community south of Flagstaff. Led by Brian Poturalski, head of the Flagstaff Ranger District Recreation department, able hands divided into teams charged with the naturalization of a rogue motor trail as well as the construction of new infrastructure. Read the article for the full story, photos, and video! (Story by Sean Golightly)

Volunteer Ron Krug receives governor's award for avocational archaeology

Sedona resident, and long-time volunteer on the Coconino National Forest, Dr. Ronald Krug has been selected to receive the 2017 Governor’s Archaeology Advisory Committee’s Award in Public Archaeology in the category of Avocational Archaeologist.

Dr. Krug has volunteered for the Coconino National Forest and has been an Arizona site steward for more than 15 years. He will be presented the governor’s award at the Arizona Historic Preservation Conference on June 16 in Oro Valley.

Coconino National Forest selected as a Leave No Trace Gold Standard site

The Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics selected the Coconino National Forest as one of just ten public land recreation areas across the country demonstrating successful Leave No Trace ethics, showcasing strong organizational commitment to the promotion of outdoor skills, ethics, and stewardship that help preserve and protect their natural landscape for generations to come. The new Gold Standard designation recognizes outdoor spaces demonstrating the highest standard of practicing and promoting Leave No Trace ethics. The Coconino National Forest will ultimately act as one of the models for other public lands across the country to emulate.

We are honored to have earned this special designation, and are immensely proud of all the dedicated recreation staff, patners, and volunteers who have worked diligently to implement Leave No Trace principles and ethics on the Coconino National Forest.

Dexter Allen named 2016 Wild and Scenic River award winner

Red Rock Ranger District's Dexter Allen has been honored once again by the U.S. Forest Service for his tireless efforts on the Fossil Creek and Verde River Wild and Scenic Rivers. He recieved the 2016 National Wild and Scenic River Award, naming him an Outstanding River Ranger. He received this previously in 2011.

We are proud to have Dexter given this national recognition. His dedication and hard work caring for these special rivers has truly earned him this award.

Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund donated $100K for trail maintenance

The Red Rock Ranger District of Coconino National Forest recently received $100,000 from the Sedona Red Rock Trail Fund to conduct essential maintenance on trails surrounding Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek.


“It’s great having such supportive partners in the Sedona community,” said Red Rock District Ranger Nicole Branton.. “This district gets millions of visitors a year, and the trails in the area are a mecca for mountain bikers, hikers and nature lovers. Due to high use, sandy soil and intense monsoon storms, the trails require a lot of attention and maintenance—so these funds will go a long way in sustaining local trails.”

Fossil Creek: Geology In Real Time [Payson Roundup]

Fossil Creek, whose waters were diverted for nearly a 100 years to generate electricity now flows free as an officially designated Wild & Scenic River. Home for only native fish, Fossil Creek waters are once again doing what they have done for thousands of years — slowly building back the travertine deposits that formed the many terraces and pools that existed when Fossil Creek was first discovered — from which it drew its name. Article by by Greg McKelvey, geologist and president of Rim Country Camera Club appeared in the Payson Roundup on April 5, 2016

Thank you to Troop 217 for helping keep the forest clean!

Troop 217 came up from the Valley of the Sun to the winter wonderland of Arizona's high country to camp, hike, and help clean up the forest! Lane Spencer sent us this lovely thank you note and photos of the scouts picking up trash around the forest.

Fossil Creek management planning

The Coconino and Tonto National Forests are developing a long-term management plan to guide future management and development of the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River corridor. Learn about the planning project and get the details on the proposed management plan. Public comments closed January 27, 2017.

Red Rock Country Trail Maps

Heading to Sedona or Oak Creek Canyon for to hike, bike, or take the horse out for a ride? Download the new Red Rock Country trails maps! Six maps show detailed trails and recreation site information for Oak Creek Canyon and the Red Rock Country around Sedona. Plus, find recreation guides, trail descriptions, maps, and more!

Back to Nature: Potato Lake restoration and resource protection work in 2015

Learn about the efforts by the Coconino National Forest and partners to restore the damaged landscape, protect sensitive habitats, and help restore the nature around Potato Lake.

Employees pitch in to help protect Bebb's willows

During September 2015, Coconino National Forest employees from the Flagstaff and Mogollon Rim Ranger Districts rolled up their sleeves to plant Bebb's willows and make improvements to help protect Bebb's willow communities. Bebb’s willow is a sensitive species for the Coconino National Forest. These young willows were grown locally by Northern Arizona University Research Greenhouse from locally collected seed.

Walnut Canyon Special Study

January 2014 -- The U.S. Forest Service and the National Park Service jointly conducted a special study to explore management options for an area of land surrounding Walnut Canyon National Monument.

Flagstaff Ranger District Proposes Major Trail Changes

November 2013 -- The Coconino National Forest plans to revamp the Dry Lake Hills and Mount Elden trail systems, and needs the public to provide information about what they value most. The goal for this project is to accommodate the needs of all users – from bicyclists to climbers to equestrians and hikers – while establishing a sustainable system of trails.

2016 Stakeholder Report

At the beginning of each year we produce a Stakeholder Report that reports on various projects of the previous year, which gives a snapshot of the wonderful work going on across the Coconino National Forest. 

Employee Work Day in the Mayflower Mexican Spotted Owl Habitat

Employee work day project at the Mayflower Mexican spotted owl protected activity center. The area is not far from Mormon Lake, a corridor renowned for its incredible wildlife populations, including elk, bald eagles, mule deer, black bears, and goshawks. A portion of the area had been hand-thinned with chainsaws. The scattered slash combined with the existing dead and down trees made the area difficult to apply prescribed fire safely. Employees came out to pile the new slash so it can be safely burned before broadcast burn operations.

Fuels Crew 4 tackled the Climb to Conquer Cancer!

Fuels Crew 4 from the Coconino National Forest participated in the American Cancer Society fundraiser Climb to Conquer Cancer of Flagstaff on August 20, 2016. Nearly 4,000 people walked the seven-mile road to the Arizona Snowbowl Ski Resort.

Pedals vs. Pistons vs. Horseshoes vs. Hiking Boots 2016

Pedals vs. Pistons vs. Horseshoes vs. Hiking Boots is an annual trail work event put on each year by local recreation groups and the Coconino National Forest Flagstaff Ranger District. Hikers, mountain bikers, runners, equestrians, and motorcyclists gather for this friendly competitive event and trail work day in the Flagstaff area.

The 2016 Pedals vs. Pistons vs. Horseshoes vs. Hiking Boots was held at the western end of Secret Trail, a multi-use motorized single track trail in the Fort Valley Trail System at the base of the San Francisco Peaks. 45 volunteers enthusiastically donned hard hats and helmets, grabbed pick mattocks, and dug into trail reroutes and improvements. The work on two trail reroutes 20 drainages improved trail flow for wheeled riders and improved drainage along the trail.

Happy 100th Birthday to the National Park Service!

The National Park Service celebrates 100 years of service during 2016! While you're out celebrating our local national monuments, visit some of these nearby sites on the Coconino National Forest.

If you fly, we can't! Do not interfere with wildfire fighting operations!

When you fly your remote controlled quadcopter, helicopter, or other aircraft around a wildfire, you are endangering lives and property. Your RC aircraft poses a serious danger to the emergency aircraft and firefighting crew both in the air and on the ground. When you fly, we must ground our helicopters to keep from further endangering the lives and safety of fire fighters, pilots, and everyone else in the area.

Whether you are an enthusiast or a member of the media, flying an RC aircraft around a wildfire interferes with critical emergency operations. Quadcopters being flown around a wildfire has already created situations that resulted in serious property damage.


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