Fri 22 Apr 2011
Fossil Creek is a recently restored tributary of the Verde River located north of Phoenix between Camp Verde and Payson/Strawberry and receives a large number of recreational users every summer. It flows between two national forests and through two wilderness areas — Fossil Springs Wilderness and the Mazatzal Wilderness — and is almost entirely within federal public lands.
Fossil Creek is one of only two Wild and Scenic Rivers designated in Arizona. Because of this designation, the Forest Service is required to identify and protect its outstandingly remarkable values (ORVs). The agency is currently working to create a management plan and is holding public meetings to solicit feedback. Additionally, a group of environmental stakeholders have written an alternative plan to better manage the native fish and aquatic habitat, wildlife, geology, history and traditional uses, and the water, and to emphasize these values in all areas of the creek.
Before Fossil Creek is loved to death, recreational use needs to be managed by controlling access, implementing limits on the number of users at one time, placing seasonal limits on the type of recreational opportunities available in the corridor, and paving parking areas. Managing the number of cars and people is imperative to address safety, resource damage, congestion, and lack of available areas for parking.
Fossil Creek open houses have been scheduled for the week of April 25. Please attend one of these meetings to learn more and to speak up for strong protections for this important waterway.
Monday, April 25, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Payson Public Library — 328 N. McLane Rd. (map)
Tuesday, April 26, 4:30-7:30 p.m.
Radisson Woodlands Hotel — 1175 W. Route 66 (map)
You can review the Proposed Action put forth by the Forest Service, which favors increasing recreation opportunities at the risk of native fish and other wildlife, as well as a proposed action developed by stakeholders, including Arizona Rivers, Center for Biological Diversity, and the Sierra Club. Both of these are available on the Fossil Creek website.
Sample letter in support of alternative proposal (please personalize with your experiences):
Dear Fossil Creek Planning Team,
Fossil Creek is a truly valuable natural resource and deserves increased management of recreation and long-term protection and monitoring. Therefore I strongly support the Proposed Alternative Scenario developed by Fossil Creek stakeholders.
The Alternative Scenario proposes prioritized management of fish, wildlife, geology, history/traditional uses, and water as Outstandingly Remarkable Values (ORVs) for the entire Wild and Scenic corridor. As a recently restored river system with restored native fish communities, the Forest Service should provide a strong emphasis on protecting native fishes and a commitment to maintaining the fish barriers that can help keep the non-native species from reinvading the stream. Water in the creek must be protected from groundwater pumping through quantified federal reserved water rights.
To maintain and enhance the natural resource ORVs, the Forest Service must insist on strong management of recreational use in the Wild and Scenic River corridor. In this regard, I support the Alternative Scenario. Unlike the Forest Service plan that limits visitors to shuttle buses during the summer months, the Alternative Scenario allows a limited number of recreational users to come and go as they please. Recreational use needs to be managed by controlling access, implementing limits on the number of users at one time, placing seasonal limits on the type of recreational opportunities available in the corridor, and paving parking areas. Managing the number of cars and people is imperative to address safety, resource damage, congestion, and lack of available areas for parking.
Because full implementation of a comprehensive resource management plan may take up to three years, current management–which includes camping and campfire restrictions–should continue.
Thank you for considering my comments and doing your utmost to protect this riparian treasure.
[City, State ZIP]
How to Comment
Comments are welcome at all stages of the CRMP planning process, but to be most useful in developing alternatives to the current proposal, comments need to be received no later than May 6, 2011.
Comments may be submitted via the following methods:
- Given at the public open houses
- Email to: firstname.lastname@example.org – please put “Fossil Creek” in the subject line.
- Or Mail to:
- Lynn Humphrey
Fossil Creek Planning Team Leader
4077 SW Research Way
Corvallis, OR 97333
- Lynn Humphrey
- Or Fax to: (541) 750-7234 (attention: “Lynn Humphrey”)
If you would like hard-copies of any of these documents, you can call or email a request to Lynn Humphrey, Fossil Creek planning team leader at 541-750-7158 or email@example.com.