Small waterfall in a creek within the floor of a wooded forestSaguaro cactus with rugged mountain sin background

Tonto National Forest Plan Revision

The Tonto National Forest has a new Land Management Plan!

Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth signed the Record of Decision for the revised Tonto National Forest Land Management Plan (land management plan) on December 8, 2023.  The Record of Decision documents the rationale for approving the land management plan. This revised plan will replace the existing 1985 land management plan (1985 forest plan) effective 30 days from December 8, 2023.  

Each National Forest and Grassland is governed by a Land and Resource Management Plan in accordance with the National Forest Management Act (NFMA). The Tonto National Forest began revising its Forest Plan in 2014 using the 2012 Planning Rule for the National Forest System. 

The land management plan describes desired conditions, objectives, standards, guidelines, land suitability, and monitoring guidance for project and activity decision-making and will guide all resource management activities on the Forest. The development of the revised land management plan was shaped by the best available scientific information, current laws, and public input. This webpage provides information on the forest plan revision process.  

Project documents including the Record of Decision, land management plan, and environmental impact statement can be found on the associated project page

Projects approved under the 1985 forest plan will continue under the direction of that plan through completion. All new projects must comply with the revised land management plan. 

Related Documents and Links

GIS data are available by request by contacting the Tonto National Forest

Forest Plan Revision Schedule

The Tonto National Forest began revising its Forest Plan in 2014 using a collaborative approach and best available scientific information. The following table outlines the planning phases, process, and activities, as well as provides links to key documents or information for each phase of the plan revision process.

Process/Product Description Date
Assessment The Forest initiated the forest plan revision process in early 2014. After collaboration with the public, tribes, partner agencies, and other stakeholders, the Forest released an Assessment of Ecological, Social, Cultural, and Economic Conditions, Trends, & Risks to Sustainability. For more information visit the Assessment page.  March 2017
Species of Conservation Concern (SCC)

Under the 2012 planning rule, the Forest is required to compile a Species of Conservation Concern (SCC) list. It is comprised of native species whose long-term future on the forest is considered at risk but are not currently protected under the Endangered Species Act. For more information visit the SCC page.

Concurrence Received in February 2022
Notice of Intent (NOI) and Needs to Change (NTC)

The publication of the NOI in the Federal Register to revise the land management plan posted on April 6, 2017. It initiated a 45-day formal scoping period highlighting the Needs to Change, which outline specific parts of the 1985 Forest Plan to be updated or supplemented in the revised plan. For more information visit the NOI and NTC.

April 2017
Wild & Scenic Rivers Eligibility Process

As part of the forest plan we will be identifying eligible Wild & Scenic River segments, providing the basis for making the eligibility determination, documenting information supporting why or why not a segment was determined eligible, and identifying the proposed classification and location of the eligible segments. For more information visit Wild & Scenic Rivers Eligibility Process.

Completed in March 2022
Wilderness Recommendation Process

As part of forest plan forests are required to identify lands that may or may not be suitable for the National Wilderness Preservation System. The process of identifying suitable areas occurs in four primary steps: Inventory, Evaluation, Analysis, and Recommendation. For more information visit Wilderness Recommendation Process.

Completed in March 2022
Preliminary Proposed Plan (PPP)

Formal comments on the Preliminary Proposed Plan (PPP) were received between November 6, 2017 – January 12, 2018. This was accompanied by a round of public and partner meetings. For more information visit PPP.

November 2017
Draft Forest Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

Development of a draft forest plan and a draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) that analyzes the described affected environment and the environmental effects of each of the plan alternatives. The draft forest plan and DEIS was released on December 13, 2019, initiated a 90-day comment period. Comments are being used to prepare a final forest plan and final environmental impact statement (FEIS).

December 2019
Final Revised Land Management Plan (LMP), Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS), and Draft Record of Decision (ROD)

Comments on the draft land management plan (forest plan) and DEIS are analyzed and reviewed in the development of a final forest plan and FEIS. The FEIS outlines any needed changes between the draft and final EIS.

The draft record of decision (ROD), Final Forest Plan, and FEIS were made available with the publication of the notice of opportunity to object (NOO) in the Federal Register on March 25, 2022. 

March 2022
Objection Process 

Prior to approving the preferred alternative, the public raises issues related to final revised land management plan (LMP), draft record of decision (ROD), and final environmental impact statement (FEIS) and suggests ways to improve the decision. 

The legal notice of opportunity to object (NOO) for the final LMP, draft ROD, and FEIS was published in the Arizona Capitol Times on July 8, 2022, reinitiating a 60-day objection period for this project, in compliance with 36 CFR 219. A federal register notice was also published on the same day.

Objections are posted in CARA. The Regional Forester has reviewed objections following the end of the objection-filing period and has rendered written responses. This concluded the objection process. Final instructions were given to the forest as a result of the objection process and administrative review. These final instructions included changes the forest must make to the final plan or supporting documents before the Forest Supervisor may sign the Record of Decision and implement the new plan.

Completed May 2023
Final Record of Decision, Final Revised Land Management Plan, and Final Environmental Impact Statement

 Based on objection review and response, the final record of decision was made by the Tonto National Forest Supervisor. All final documents can be found on the plan project page.

December 8, 2023
Implementation & Monitoring

Forest Service implements the revised land management plan and begins ongoing monitoring. 


Contact Us

If you have questions or concerns about the plan revision process, contact the planning team at 602-225-5200 or You can also reach us at 2324 East McDowell Road, Phoenix, AZ 85006.

Contact Us


Travel Management

The Final Record of Decision for the Tonto National Forest Travel Management Plan was signed on October 5, 2021. 

Forest Supervisor Neil Bosworth released the Forest Service’s decision on how motorized vehicle use will be managed on the 2.9 million-acre Tonto National Forest. This decision is part of a nationwide effort by the USDA Forest Service to address motorized recreation. 

The 2005 Travel Management Rule requires that all National Forest System lands designate roads, trails, and areas for motor vehicle travel. 

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