North Kaibab Ranger District announces changes in winter hours, closures

FREDONIA – Forest staff would like to remind visitors of the following changes for the upcoming winter season.

DeMotte Campground: The last night to camp is Oct. 14. This campground is scheduled to close for the winter season on Oct. 15 at noon.

Jacob Lake & Group Site Campgrounds: The last night to camp at these campgrounds will be Oct. 18. Both campgrounds are scheduled to close for the winter season on Oct. 19 at noon.

Big Springs & Jumpup Cabin Rentals: The last night to camp at Big Springs or Jump Up cabins is Nov. 2, unless inclement weather forces an earlier closure.

Information regarding campsites reservations, cabin rentals, and cancellations may be found at https://www.recreation.gov/.

Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center: Beginning Oct. 21 through Nov. 26, the Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center at Jacob Lake will only be open on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. During these hours, fuelwood permits will be available to purchase at the Visitor Center.

2017 Personal-Use Fuelwood Cutting Season: Permits are still available at the district office during regular business hours. As a reminder, all unused personal-use fuelwood cutting permits will not be valid after Nov. 30. Wood cutting permit sales will resume in May 2018 pending appropriate weather conditions. Additional information on fuelwood permits is available at https://go.usa.gov/xncXn.

Want to learn outdoors skills?

PHOENIX — Are you a beginner interested in learning more about hunting, fishing, camping and other outdoors activities, but don’t know where to start? Do you have a need to be directly connected with your food source and the experience?

The Arizona Game and Fish Department, along with an extensive network of partnering organizations, offers dozens of events throughout the year to suit almost everyone’s needs through the Outdoor Skills Network. The events are organized based on skill level and interest: introductory, beginner, developing, intermediate and experienced.

You can find a schedule of upcoming events, see a description of the skill levels, and sign up for events online at www.azgfd.gov/outdoorskills. The online registration system is mobile-friendly.

“Keep in mind that the event types and descriptions are merely guidelines to help you choose what is best for you — they are not prerequisites,” said Doug Burt, the department’s hunting and shooting sports program manager. “In the end, we want attendees to have the right expectations and the right experience. That’s the key to keeping folks engaged in hunting and traditional outdoor recreation activities.”

There is no cost to Arizona taxpayers for this program. Game and Fish does not receive any of the state’s general tax funds and operates under a user-pay, public-benefit model. The program is an investment in the continuance of wildlife conservation efforts and outdoors recreation participation in Arizona.

North Kaibab Ranger District to open campgrounds on May 15

FREDONIA – Recreational campgrounds on the North Kaibab Ranger District will open May 15 and remain open until Oct. 15.

Both the Jacob Lake campground and the DeMotte campground will be open and available for public recreation and overnight camping. The Jacob Lake campground is located 30 miles southeast of Fredonia, Ariz. on U.S. Route 89A at roughly 7,900 feet. The DeMotte campground is located about 25 miles south of the Kaibab Plateau Visitor Center on Arizona Highway 67 at roughly 8,700 feet.

A complete list of amenities may be found at Recreation.gov by searching for the specific campground. Campers are reminded to be mindful of any rules associated with the campground and always maintain fire safety when making a campfire. To stay current with any fire restrictions in Arizona go to firerestrictions.us/az.

Additionally, the Kaibab Camper Village, which is privately owned and managed but surrounded by Kaibab National Forest, is also scheduled to be open from May 14 through Oct. 15. Kaibab Camper Village offers full RV hookups and tent sites, and is located just 40 miles from the Grand Canyon National Park North Rim. For more information on Kaibab Camper Village, please visit kaibabcampervillage.com or call 928-643-7804.

To make reservations at the Jacob Lake campground or the DeMotte campground, please visit Recreation.gov or call 877-444-6777. For additional information on all of the Kaibab National Forest recreational sites please visit fs.usda.gov/recmain/kaibab/recreation.

Will open camping bring more trash?

WILLIAMS – You might remember in January when people came to enjoy the snow. They left the area in the same condition that they would not allow at home and even report to their local police. To be fair, some of this trash is even be from locals.

The lake camp sites are starting to open later this month, but people have already started camping and trashing camp sites open along the roads.Early in April, we found this tent at a camp site we visited. It is an Ozark Trail 4 person Instant Dome Tent. The tent was actually usable except of the fiberglass rods that held the tent up. One of the rods was broken. The unfortunate design of the tent did not allow the replacement of the rod, so the happy camper just left it and the carrying case laying at the camp site.

Later in the month we found several trash bags laying at a camp site deeper in the forest. We continually find beer bottles, cans, dog bowls and other trash laying around camp sites and on trails and in the forest.

Another problem we have seen is RVs parking in parking lots designed for trails or parking to block open roads.

We welcome visitors to Williams and enjoy seeing people from all over the world. We like hunters who come to use our facilities. We ask, however, that you observe the common courtesy you expect others to show you.

  • Do not park in roadways so that you block others from using the camping sites.
  • If you hike our trails, don’t drop your water and beer bottles and cans and other trash on the ground. Pack it out.
  • Anglers please do not leave your fishing material and trash behind. Some of the lakes have tubes in which you can put fishing line. They all have trash cans. Please pick up after yourselves.
  • Do not leave your trash behind. Williams provides receptacles you can use for trash.
  • While driving, do not throw trash and cigarettes out of the window.
  • If you are having a party anywhere, do NOT release balloons into the air. They not only trash the forest, a balloon knocked out power in Bellemont when it hit a power transformer.

We ask that you keep our home clean.

Campgrounds scheduled to open for season on Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts

WILLIAMS – With summer recreation season rapidly approaching, Kaibab National Forest recreation facilities on the Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts will soon be opening to the public for a variety of outside activities.

Williams Ranger District

Kaibab Lake – Kaibab Forest Service Photo

Kaibab Lake Campground –The lower loop will open on April 22 and sites will be available on a first come first served basis. The entire facility will be open on April 28.

Dogtown Lake – NAG Photo

Dogtown Lake Campground – Fully open April 28.
Whitehorse Lake Campground – Fully open April 28.
Cataract Lake Day Use Area – Effective April 15, this site will have a host and a schedule of hours open to vehicle access. The entrance gate will open daily at 7 a.m. and be closed at sunset each evening. Foot travel into the site is allowed.
Spring Valley Cabin – does not close seasonally and remains open throughout the year. Reservations can be made at www.recreation.gov.

Tusayan Ranger District

Ten-X Campground – Fully open May 26. The late opening is due to current improvements being made to the facilities and infrastructure. Two large group sites and a portion of single-family campsites are available by reservation at www.recreation.gov. Campers are encouraged to arrive early in the day for first come first served sites as this campground fills up quickly.

Russell Tank Day Use Area – Has been stocked with rainbow trout for the first time in many years providing excellent fishing opportunities this summer.

Hull Cabin – will open May 1 and is available by reservation only at www.recreation.gov.

General Information

Forest visitors are invited to camp year round at dispersed sites across the entire Kaibab National Forest, however motorized vehicle use is restricted in some areas, so visitors should be prepared by knowing the regulations.

Motorized Visitor Use Maps are available for free at any of the district offices or can be downloaded from www.fs.usda.gov/detail/kaibab/maps-pubs/?cid=fseprd490027

Additionally, camping corridors on the Motor Vehicle Use Maps have expanded to allow motor vehicles up to 100 feet off the center of designated roads for dispersed camping.

“Among many of the improvements you may see this summer is the reconstruction of the amphitheater at Kaibab Lake campground. New seating will replace the current benches,” said Recreation Program Staff Officer Lisa Jones. “Water levels are at a historic high this year which has made piers accessible, greatly enhancing boating and fishing activities at many of our locations.”

To obtain more information about recreational programs on the Kaibab National Forest contact Lisa Jones at (928) 635-5619 or Dutch Maatman at (928) 635-5661

For additional information on the Kaibab National Forest, visit www.fs.usda.gov/kaibab or call (928) 635-8200.

Kaibab National Forest proposing fee increase to rent Spring Valley Cabin

WILLIAMS — Managers of the Kaibab National Forest are proposing to increase the fee for renting Spring Valley Cabin north of Parks, Ariz., on the Williams Ranger District.

Spring Valley was added to the popular “Rooms with a View” cabin rental program in 2001. Since then the site has undergone significant upgrades and renovation including new foundations for both buildings, all new plumbing, all new bedding, a new furnace and hot water heater, a new water system with pressure tanks and pumps, new decking around the exterior, an accessible bathroom, a new kitchen, and exterior and interior paint.

With the updated features and the fact that the cabin and bunkhouse can house up to 17 people, the current rental fee is lower than other rentals offering similar amenities. The cabin has a full kitchen with modern appliances, hot water, walk-in shower, propane heat (with woodstove backup), on the grid power, and running water year-round. Fees are assessed based on the level of amenities and services provided, cost of operation and maintenance, market assessment, and public comment. Fee receipts generated from the rental of Spring Valley Cabin are used for the operation and maintenance of these recreation sites.

The Kaibab National Forest is proposing that the cabin fee increase from the current $100 per night to $165 per night. The cabin has six bunk beds and two futons sleeping up to 10 people. Visitors may also rent the bunkhouse for an additional fee of $50 per night. The bunkhouse has six bunk beds and a futon for another seven people. The bunkhouse can only be rented combined with the cabin. Currently the cost of renting both the cabin and bunkhouse is $150 per night ($100/cabin plus $50/bunkhouse). The new proposed price for both the cabin and bunkhouse would be $215 per night ($165/cabin plus $50/bunkhouse).

Anyone interested can provide input on the proposed fee increase at any time prior to Feb. 28, 2017. Comments should be submitted to Lisa Jones, recreation program manager for the Williams Ranger District, at lljones@fs.fed.us or (928) 635-5619. Once the public review period has ended, the proposed fee and all comments received will be considered by a Recreation Resource Advisory Committee prior to a final decision and implementation.

Spring Valley Cabin offers spectacular views, unparalleled opportunities to see wildlife, and convenient cross-country ski and hiking trails. The Kaibab National Forest has several cabins available for overnight rental for people seeking a unique camping and outdoor experience. Find out more at Kaibab Cabin Rentals. Follow the Kaibab National Forest on Twitter and Facebook @KaibabNF.

Fire restrictions to be lifted tomorrow on North Kaibab Ranger District

WILLIAMS — Due to the decreasing risk of fire danger, the North Kaibab Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest will lift campfire and smoking restrictions, also known as Stage 1 Fire Restrictions, at 8 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday, July 27).

To date, many areas of the district have received the adequate amount of precipitation needed to warrant conditions being lifted. However, visitors are always expected to use caution with campfires and other potential ignition sources.

“Although not widespread, we’ve had wetting rain events over the past week throughout portions of the Kaibab Plateau,” said North Zone Fuels Specialist Dave Robinson. “So we urge our forest visitors to remain vigilant and utilize proper campfire safety techniques and precautions – drown and stir until the campfire is cold to the touch.”

The Kaibab National Forest is committed to educating visitors about camping responsibly and being fire safe. Never leave a campfire unattended, even for a few minutes. Additional tips on camping responsibly are available at www.fs.fed.us/visit/know-before-you-go/responsible-recreation, which include answering nature’s call, being fire safe, avoiding interaction with wildlife, and respecting and protecting archaeological sites so that our National Forest and grasslands may be enjoyed for future generations.

Bear claws camper near Cherry Creek in Young

PHOENIX — A man in his 20s was injured early this morning when a bear scratched him through his sleeping bag in a dispersed camping area near Cherry Creek in Young, Ariz.

The bear was investigating the man’s camp and was thought to have injured the man when the animal pawed at the sleeping bag. Bear spray was used and the animal retreated.

The man was seen at a local hospital and released.

Based on the injuries and description, Arizona Game and Fish Department officers believe the bear was small and possibly young.

The camp area is used by the Anasazi Foundation as part of its program. After the incident, other campers and Anasazi members advised Game and Fish officers that several bears had been seen in the campground area over the Memorial Day weekend. At least three different bears were identified by the campers as coming into camp and raiding food sources, and not fully retreating when bear spray was used. Campers did not notify officials of this bear activity, vacate the area or remove the food sources after the sightings.

Arizona Game and Fish has a highly-trained team investigating the situation and will set traps in the vicinity to attempt to capture the offending bears. The department also will work with the Tonto National Forest on possible area closures.

If the offending bear(s) is captured, it will be lethally removed because of the habituated behavior it demonstrated and the public safety threat it poses.

The department asks that any nuisance bear activity be immediately reported to Game and Fish or local officials and recommends that all campers take a few simple precautions to protect both people and bears, including securing all potential food sources. Campsite food sources can include uncleaned BBQs, used plates, discarded wrappers, food stores and pet food. Bears have a very keen sense of smell – approximately seven times better than a bloodhound and 100 times better than a human.

Take these immediate steps to minimize bear encounters and keep wildlife wild:

•    Keep a clean camp. Store food items and trash away from your tent or sleeping area. Even an empty food wrapper can attract a bear from a long distance.
•    Wash up before going to bed to eliminate odors.
•    Put food waste and garbage in a secure location such as a bear-proof dumpster.
•    Carry bear spray.
•    Encourage others to take these precautions. Discouraging bears from a campground requires everyone do their part.

If you encounter a bear, try to scare the bear away by making yourself look as large as possible, making loud noises and throwing objects towards it. Do not run. In the rare event of a black bear attack, fight back aggressively and use bear spray.

Arizona has had one fatal bear attack, which occurred in Pinetop in 2011. However, there are numerous reports each year of bears in close proximity to humans that could lead to serious injury or even death.

For more information or questions on living with bears and keeping wildlife wild, visit the department’s website at www.azgfd.gov/urbanwildlife.