About the Forest

Black RiverThe Apache and the Sitgreaves National Forests were administratively combined in 1974 and are now managed as one unit from the Forest Supervisor's Office in Springerville. The two million acre Forest encompasses magnificent mountain country in east-central Arizona along the Mogollon Rim and the White Mountains.

What makes this Forest so special? Its the water...lots of it...draining the high mountains and forming numerous lakes and streams...a fisherman's paradise in the arid Southwest.

The Apache-Sitgreaves has over 30 lakes and reservoirs, and more than 1,000 miles of rivers and streams, which is more than any other Southwestern National Forest. The White Mountains contain the headwaters of several Arizona rivers including the Black, Little Colorado, and San Francisco.

The Sitgreaves was named for Captain Lorenzo Sitgreaves, a government topographical engineer who conducted the first scientific expedition across Arizona in the early 1850's. On the Sitgreaves, the major attractions for visitors from the hot valleys of Phoenix or Tucson are the Mogollon Rim and the string of man-made lakes. From the Rim's 7600-foot elevation, vista points provide inspiring views of the low country to the south and west.

Big Lake at SunsetIn the last century, the US Army established a series of forts in New Mexico and Arizona. To supply these forts and settlements, a military road was built linking Sante Fe, New Mexico and Camp Verde near Prescott. Part of this road, called the General Crook Trail, runs almost the length of the Sitgreaves and in many places follows the brink of the Rim.

The Apache National Forest is named after the tribes that settled in this area. It ranges in elevation from 3500 feet near Clifton to nearly 11,500 feet on Mount Baldy. The congressionally proclaimed Mount Baldy, Escudilla, and Bear Wallow wildernesses and the Blue Range Primitive Area make the Apache one of America's premier backcountry Forests. The Apache is also noted for its trout streams and high-elevation lakes and meadows.

The management concerns on the Apache-Sitgreaves include the health and restoration of the watersheds, sustaining the Forest's ecosystems, improving customer service in our recreation areas, reducing the dangers associated with wildfire in the urban interface, and maintaining the National Forest road system to desired standards.

Archeological Resources
Prehistoric site types range from the remains of hunting and plant collecting areas to large pueblos with enclosed plazas, much like those seen today at Hopi and Zuni... more


A Heritage to Tell

The Apache-Sitgreaves Heritage Team's role is to protect, preserve and interpret the Forests' archaeological and historical resources. Our goal is to meet the Secretary of Interior's challenge "to provide opportunities to appreciate past craftsmanship, understand past ways of life, and better comprehend people's adaptations to changing natural, physical, and social environments during prehistoric and historic times".

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Arizona's Mount Baldy

Mount Baldy, called Dził Łigai Sí'án (“white mountain”) by the White Mountain Apache people, is reverred by the Apache Tribes and others as a holy site.

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