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Arizona: Draft Forest Plan for the Tonto National Forest Addresses both Recreational Shooting and Hunting

Monday, January 6, 2020

Arizona: Draft Forest Plan for the Tonto National Forest Addresses both Recreational Shooting and Hunting


The US Forest Service has released a plan for the Tonto National Forest that will guide its management for the next 10 to 15 years.  The nearly three million-acre national forest is located north of Phoenix and is the 5th largest national forest in the US.  Since its establishment in 1905, the Tonto has become of the most visited “urban” forests with over 5 million visitors annually.  The public is invited to submit comments now through March 12, 2020 on the draft plan/draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) that presents four management alternatives for consideration.  While most of the Tonto will remain open to recreational shooting, there are proposed closures.  The draft plan/DEIS states that most of the closures overlap existing areas under temporary closure orders.  However, the implementation of a new Travel Management Plan could affect access to areas otherwise open to recreational shooting (See Table 23, Volume I of the DEIS, page 114).  The draft plan can be read online at https://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/tonto/landmanagement/planning/?cid=fseprd595481

If you are a visitor to the Tonto, and especially if you depend upon the Forest for recreational shooting and/or hunting, you will want to take advantage of the open house meetings and/or public working days listed below.  The Forest Service’s announcement says that educational materials and resource specialists will be available at the meetings to answer questions and talk about the management alternatives.   The public working day meetings are informal and will give the public an opportunity to sit down with members of the planning team and discuss the draft plan and management of the forest.


Open house public meetings (all between 5pm – 8pm):


Public working days at Tonto National Forest offices (all between 11am – 2pm):


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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.