Forest Service to Host Public Meetings for Arizona National Scenic Trail

Albuquerque, NM – The Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture will host six public meetings in August throughout Arizona to discuss development of a comprehensive plan for the Arizona National Scenic Trail.

The comprehensive plan is being developed in partnership with the National Park Service, Bureau of Land Management, Arizona State Parks, local governments, and the Arizona Trail Association. The plan will guide management of the trail for the next 15 to 20 years.

The Arizona National Scenic Trail stretches over 800 miles from Mexico to the Utah border. Thousands of hikers, runners, mountain bicyclists, and horseback riders enjoy the trail each year. It stretches through seven Arizona counties, four National Forests, one state park, four National Park Service sites including Grand Canyon National Park, and two Bureau of Land Management units. The Arizona National Scenic Trail was added to the National Trails System by Congress in 2009. It is one of only 11 National Scenic Trails nationwide.

“This trail has been a community project from day one,” said Laura White, Forest Service Trail Administrator. “We hope supporters of the trail will take this opportunity to help us craft a long-term vision for its management and protection.”

All public meetings are open house format and run from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. A short presentation on the plan will begin at 6 p.m. Meeting dates and locations are:

  • Tuesday, August 8, 2017
    Julia Randall Elementary School Gymnasium 600 S Green Valley Pkwy., Payson, Arizona
  • Wednesday, August 9, 2017
    Kanab City Library Multipurpose room, 374 N Main St., Kanab, Utah
  • Thursday, August 10, 2017
    Flagstaff Aquaplex Community Meeting Room A, 1702 N. Fourth St., Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Tuesday, August 15, 2017
    Patrick K. Hardesty Midtown Multi-Service Center, 1100 S Alvernon Way, Tucson, Arizona
  • Wednesday, August 16, 2017
    Superior Chamber of Commerce, 165 Main St., Superior, Arizona
  • Thursday, August 17, 2017
    Pyle Adult Education Center – Multipurpose Room B, 655 E Southern Ave., Tempe, Arizona

Topics covered at each meeting include trail management, connectivity with local communities, access for recreation, and long-term protection. Attendees will be able to review the preliminary Forest Service proposed action and provide feedback.

The meetings are scheduled during a 60-day comment period that begin August 1.

Information on the Arizona National Scenic Trail Comprehensive Plan can be found at:

The National Trails System is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2018. More information can be found at:

For more information on the Arizona National Scenic Trail, please contact Laura White at (520)-388-8328 or

Multi-Agency Rescue of Injured Person in Chevelon Canyon July 23

FOREST LAKES, AZ – At approximately 11:40 a.m. on July 23, the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office was notified by the Arizona Department of Emergency and Military Affairs that there was a personal locator beacon activation in the bottom of Chevelon Canyon near Telephone Ridge. The Sheriff’s Office, Coconino County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, Forest Lakes Fire District, U.S. Forest Service, and the Arizona Department of Public Safety Central Air Rescue Unit responded to the call. The response was impacted by severe thunderstorms in the area making travel on roads and trails hazardous.

Search and Rescue personnel located an injured fisherman in the bottom of the creek at approximately 5:00 PM. It was determined that the 48 year old male subject has sustained an ankle injury rendering him unable to hike out on his own. He had activated the personal locator beacon shortly after his accident and then established a make shift shelter as storms came through the area. The personal locator beacon transmitted his location via the SARSAT system to the US Air Force Rescue Coordination Center who alerted the State of Arizona of the incident. SAR personnel used radio direction finding equipment to locate the subject.

SAR personnel and USFS personnel treated the subject on scene and then performed a litter carry to a nearby meadow in the bottom of the canyon. DPS Air Rescue responded from Phoenix after the storms had passed and landed in the meadow to pick up the subject at 6:30 PM. The subject was then flown to a waiting ambulance from Forest Lakes Fire District so that he could be transported to Payson Regional Medical Center for treatment.

This incident was another good example of the cooperative relationships between several emergency response organizations. The subject was well prepared for the situation which aided in his comfort while waiting for rescue.

Search and Rescue would like to remind those recreating in the outdoors to be aware of the weather forecast and be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions. In addition it is recommended that everyone recreating in the outdoors carry at least the 10 essentials which includes water, food, extra warm clothing, navigation equipment, headlamp/flashlight, first aid kit, shelter material, fire starting kit, pocket knife/multi-tool, and signaling equipment.

California couple drowns at Lake Havasu

PHOENIX — The drowning of two adults at Lake Havasu on Friday, July 21, is a sad reminder that everyone—regardless of age—should wear a life jacket when out on the water. Although Arizona requires that children 12 and younger must wear a properly fitting life jacket any time a boat is underway, everyone should wear a life jacket at all times while on the water.

The Mohave County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) reported that 41-year-old Esmeralda Gonzalez of Monrovia, Calif., jumped from a boat in an area near Crazy Horse Cove to go for a swim. She was not wearing a life jacket and began to panic in the water. Her husband, Raul Gonzalez, 44, jumped into the water to rescue her but he also was not wearing a life jacket. They were seen struggling in the water, according to the MCSO, prior to both going under and not resurfacing.

Esmeralda was pulled from the water at about 3:25 p.m. and brought to the Crazy Horse Docks where off-duty Los Angeles County deputy sheriffs administered CPR. She was pronounced dead by Lake Havasu City Fire Department personnel.

At about 3:45 p.m., Raul was located in 12 feet of water by the Lake Havasu City Police Department and the San Bernardino County, Calif., Sheriff’s Department marine units. He was transported to the Crazy Horse Docks and pronounced dead.

The MCSO reported that the accident remains under investigation and alcohol may have been a factor.

U.S. Coast Guard statistics show that drowning was the reported cause of death in 80 percent of recreational boating fatalities in 2016 and that 83 percent of those who drowned were not wearing life jackets.

“Wearing a life jacket is a critical and simple step that people can take in order to stay safe when out on the water,” said Josh Hoffman, boating safety education coordinator for the Arizona Game and Fish Department. “Don’t just keep life jackets onboard for everyone — take the next step and wear them.”

The Arizona Game and Fish Department recommends that watercraft operators and their passengers take a free boating safety course in Phoenix or Lake Havasu City to learn the information and tips needed to stay safe while on the water.

For more information on boating safety or to register for a hands-on or online safety course, visit

North Zone Pine Hollow Fire update

FREDONIA – The Pine Hollow fire continued to grow today and is now just under 500 acres, the fire did receive moderate precipitation over the weekend and more is forecasted for tomorrow.

Tomorrow’s planned strategy is to take advantage of recent wetting conditions and blackline perimeters around sensitive areas within the 10,295 acre planning area boundary. “We’re going to do so on our terms, when we’re not being pushed and can control the intensity of fire behavior in and around sensitive areas that we want to protect,” said Type IV Incident Commander Dave Veater.

· Name: Pine Hollow Wildfire
· Started: Wednesday, July 19, 2017
· Cause: Lightning
· Location: The fire is west of Big Springs Field Station in the vicinity of Little Mountain on the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest
· Size: ~ 500 acres
· Fuels: The wildfire is burning in ponderosa pine fuel type and debris left from the Pipeline Fire of 2009
· Resources: 2 Type-6 engines and 2 Type-3 engines
· Expected Actions: Continue monitoring fire behavior, identify containment lines and values at risk

Additional fire activity updates will be provided as new information becomes available, and may be obtained through the following sources:

· Kaibab National Forest Website:
· InciWeb:
· Kaibab National Forest Fire Information phone line: (928) 635-8311
· Text Message – text ‘follow kaibabnf’ to 40404
· Twitter: @KaibabNF
· Facebook: @KaibabNF

2017 fall hunt draw results now available

PHOENIX – The waiting is over for hopeful hunters who applied for a 2017 fall hunt permit-tag.

There are three ways to obtain draw results for the deer, fall turkey, fall javelina, bighorn sheep, fall bear, fall bison and pheasant seasons:

  • Sign in to your AZGFD customer portal account.
  • Visit, then click on “View Results and Bonus Points.”
  • Call (602) 942-3000 and press “2.”

A record 90 percent of all applicants applied online (131,457), compared to 10 percent who filled out a paper application (14,309).

For those who were unsuccessful in the draw process, a list of about 2,300 leftover permit-tags is posted at The department will accept applications for leftover permit-tags—by mail only—beginning Monday, July 31. Leftover permit-tags will be available for purchase on a “first come, first served” basis at all department offices beginning Monday, August 7.

All permit-tags are scheduled to be mailed by Aug. 4; all refund warrants by August 11.

Paving scheduled on Interstate 17 near McGuireville next week

Motorists traveling southbound on Interstate 17 near McGuireville should allow extra time while paving is underway on three miles of roadway. Construction is scheduled from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, July 24, through Thursday, July 27. A single-lane restriction will be in place to accommodate work between mileposts 293 and 296, located near the McGuireville Road exit.

Drivers should use caution and watch for construction personnel and equipment while paving is underway.

Schedules are subject to change based on weather and other unforeseen factors. For more information, call the ADOT Project Information Line at 855.712.8530 or email For real-time highway conditions statewide, visit ADOT’s Traveler Information Site at, follow ADOT on Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) or call 511, except while driving.

Mayer American Red Cross Shelter closing

PHOENIX – The American Red Cross Evacuation Shelter at the Mayer High School in Mayer, AZ is closed effective immediately.

For those people in the community who need help recovering from the flood, please visit the Individual Assistance Service Center located at Mayer Recreation Center, 10001 S. Wicks Ave. Mayer, AZ 86333. Hours of operation will be Sunday, July 23, 2017 and Monday, July 24, 2017, from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm, each day.

If immediate assistance is needed, please call the Red Cross at 1-800-842-7349.

ADOT Blog: Arizona’s silver-screen highways reel in filmmakers

[Please visit the ADOT Blog to see a multimedia presentation of this article.]

Hollywood loves Arizona’s highways and picturesque landscapes.

Filmmakers have been bringing their lights, camera and action to Arizona highway locations for more than 75 years. Director John Ford sent a crew here in 1939 to shoot “Grapes of Wrath” on Route 66, and last year Michael Bay filmed scenes in Arizona for the fifth installment of the “Transformers” series.

Parts of “Transformers: The Last Knight,” which opened June 21, were filmed at Luke Air Force Base, a Valley junkyard and along Loop 303 and State Route 88. Paramount Pictures obtained a permit from the Arizona Department of Transportation to shoot its highway scenes (you can see the 303 ever so briefly at 2:14 in this preview).

“We had numerous action sequences that involved specialty vehicles, aircraft and pyrotechnics on ADOT highways,” said Denton Hanna, “Transformers” location manager.

He praised ADOT for its assistance and problem-solving while Paramount was filming in Arizona.

“I cannot overstate the importance of ADOT in the success of filming these action road scenes in Phoenix,” Denton said.

Arizona’s proximity to Hollywood, clear weather and scenic highways across a variety of terrain lure filmmakers here for big budget films, westerns, documentaries and commercials. Many of those shoots involve highway scenes that require an ADOT permit.

ADOT officials work with the Arizona Office of Film & Digital Media, to assist film and other media productions.

ADOT issues no-cost permits for filming along its highways with the understanding that film productions generate significant spending within the state.

The “Transformers” production had close to 300 people working at Arizona locations for three weeks, boosting the economy through buying meals, lodging, fuel and other ancillary spending.

ADOT’s requirements for film permits, including adequate liability insurance, safeguard the state’s investment in its highways and ensure there are no costs to taxpayers.

The agency issued 12 film permits in 2015, another 18 in 2016 and 12 already this year through this month, according to Jennifer Cannon, ADOT manager of statewide permit services.

ADOT tries to accommodate film productions even when a producer’s stunts get outlandish. One crew tethered a vehicle from a crane off the Navajo Bridge in an automobile “bungee jump.”

Every precaution was taken to prevent damage to the bridge or debris falling into the Colorado River, Cannon said.

“We don’t generally say no,” she said. “We try to figure out a way to make it happen.”

That can involve a lot of back and forth between ADOT and location managers to protect the traveling public and still get the shots filmmakers want.

ADOT is working with a filmmaker for a complicated shoot recently with multiple cameras and hundreds of extras marching along State Route 80 from Bisbee to Lowell in a historical re-enactment. Typically, the highway can only be closed for short intervals.

“Overall, we want to keep traffic and business flowing,” Cannon said.

A recent shoot south of Sedona involved short closures of SR 179 to film a bicycle rider near Bell Rock and Courthouse Butte. The footage is for a pharmaceutical commercial.

Cannon ticked off a handful of car brands that have recently filmed commercials in Arizona, including one on US 93 near Hoover Dam.

Of course, big budget movie productions get the most attention when they visit the state, spending millions of dollars and hiring local workers and contractors.

Arizona’s motion picture history covers a road atlas of locations for films like “Little Miss Sunshine,” and “Kingdom” from a decade ago to “Forrest Gump” and “Three Kings” in the 1990s.

In “The Kingdom,” filmed in 2006, a stretch of the Loop 202 was a stand-in for Saudi Arabia with highway signs in Arabic temporarily posted on overpasses.

In 1994, Tom Hanks as Forrest Gump was filmed running in downtown Flagstaff. In another scene, he’s shown jogging past the giant twin arrows at the Twin Arrows Trading Post west of Winslow. He ends his epic three-year super-marathon on US 163 in Monument Valley just north of the Arizona line.

Downtown Flagstaff and other Northern Arizona highway locations were also used for location shots in “National Lampoon Vacation,” the 1983 comedy starring Chevy Chase, that featured a humorously brief visit at a Grand Canyon scenic overlook.

Route 66 and US 89 figured prominently in two counter-culture road movies. In “Easy Rider,” (1969) Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper cruise on motorcycles across Northern Arizona and the Navajo Reservation before they connect with Jack Nicholson in New Mexico.

Musicians James Taylor and Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys hit the Arizona road in a high-performance 1955 Chevy for “Two-Lane Blacktop,” (1971) a road movie that flew under the radar gun when it was released.

Going way back to “Grapes of Wrath,” Route 66 was briefly featured in bookend scenes with the Joad family from Oklahoma entering Arizona at Lupton and leaving the state on the Old Trails Bridge in Topock.

After filming “Transformers” in Arizona last summer, Wahlberg gave a shout-out to Arizona on Instagram: “Hey Arizona. Thanks for letting us shoot T5 here. It’s been awesome. Amazing, amazing state here.”

Coconino County earns National Achievement Awards for innovative programs

FLAGSTAFF — The National Association of Counties (NACo) awarded Coconino County multiple Achievement Awards and other recognitions. The awards honor innovative development within county government programs that enhance services for residents.

“We are honored to be among one of the counties to receive achievement awards from NACo” said Chairwoman Liz Archuleta. “We’re very glad to be recognized by NACo for our County Departments and the innovative programs they implement to improve the lives of the citizens of Coconino County. On behalf of the County, I would like to thank NACo President Bryan Desloge for his recognition, and congratulate all other award winning counties for their hard work and dedication.”

The following Coconino County programs were recognized by NACo and received Achievement Awards:

  • Adult Probation Distance Learning in the category of Criminal Justice and Public Safety
  • Collective Impact Initiative in the category of Human Services
  • Diversity and Inclusion Program in the category of Personnel Management, Employment and Training
  • Professional Development Academies in the category of Personnel Management, Employment and Training
  • The use of video directly observed therapy in the treatment of Tuberculosis in the category of Health
  • Rural County Outreach to Special District Partners for Annual Compliance and Service Improvement in the category of County Administration and Management
  • Teen Clinic Accessibility in the category of Health

The following program received the Achievement Award Best in Category:

  • Adult Probation Distance Learning

NACo 100 Brilliant Ideas at Work for the following programs:

  • Adult Probation Distance Learning in the category of Criminal Justice and Public Safety
  • Collective Impact Initiative in the category of Human Services
  • Diversity and Inclusion Program in the category of Personnel Management, Employment and Training

Digital Counties Survey Top Ten for counties with 150,000 people or less – Identifying the best technology practices among U.S. counties, including initiatives that streamline delivery of government services:

  • Coconino Information Technology Services

Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the comprehensive services counties provide.

NACo President Bryan Desloge said, “Counties overcome complex challenges, provide essential services and constantly do more with less. We applaud these Achievement Award-winning counties for outstanding efforts to improve residents’ quality of life.”

The National Association of Counties (NACo) unites America’s 3,069 county governments. Founded in 1935, NACo brings county officials together to advocate with a collective voice on national policy, exchange ideas and build new leadership skills, pursue transformational county solutions, enrich the public’s understanding of county government, and exercise exemplary leadership in public service.

Paving on Interstate 40 west of Williams begins Monday

WILLIAMS – To address the beating a section of Interstate 40 just west of Williams has taken over many winters, the Arizona Department of Transportation will begin reconstructing five miles of roadway in both directions on Monday, July 24.

The $34 million project, which will start with the eastbound direction between mileposts 156 and 161, will literally rebuild the roadway from the ground up, including laying a new foundation.

Drivers heading east on I-40 toward Williams and Flagstaff will cross the median on a temporary road and share lanes with westbound I-40 traffic through the project area, with one lane of travel in each direction. Drivers should slow down and budget for extra travel time.

Crews will rebuild the westbound side of the interstate next summer.

ADOT is currently repaving 12 miles of I-40 in each direction closer to Flagstaff between mileposts 179 and 191. The $13.9 million project, which is about halfway complete, includes minor bridge repairs at the Bellemont, A-1 Mountain and Riordan overpasses as well as new guardrail.

Drivers should use caution and watch for construction personnel and equipment while paving is underway.

Schedules are subject to change based on weather and other unforeseen factors. For more information, please call Coralie Cole, ADOT senior community relations officer, at 602.501.4899 or email: For real-time highway conditions statewide, visit ADOT’s Traveler Information Site at, follow ADOT on Twitter (@ArizonaDOT) or call 511, except while driving.