Proposed new wilderness areas to boost Verde Valley protections

The Black Mountain proposal aligns north of SR260 to the east and west, and includes escarpments, valley plains and hills, the Historic General Crook trail, Clear Creek, 13-Mile Rock and Black Mountain Canyon, south of the existing West Clear Creek Wilderness.

The Black Mountain proposal aligns north of SR260 to the east and west, and includes escarpments, valley plains and hills, the Historic General Crook trail, Clear Creek, 13-Mile Rock and Black Mountain Canyon, south of the existing West Clear Creek Wilderness.

FLAGSTAFF -- The Coconino National Forest will hold two public meetings to solicit public feedback on 10 potential Wilderness areas. Many of the proposals are located east of Camp Verde north and south of SR 260.

The areas being evaluated include: Strawberry Crater, Railroad Draw, East Clear Creek, Barbershop, Walker Mountain, Cedar Bench, Black Mountain, Cimarron-Boulder, Hackberry, and Davey's. The forest has also posted a draft Potential Wilderness Area Evaluation Report for public review on-line at http://www.fs.fed.us/r3/coconino/projects/plan-revision/index.shtml.

Public meetings will be held July 26 in the Coconino National Forest Supervisor's Office, 1824 S. Thompson St., Flagstaff.

A second meeting will be held July 27 in Red Rock Ranger District Office, 8375 State Route 179, Sedona.

Both are scheduled between 5:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The meetings will begin with a short presentation followed by a question and answer period, and then an open house style format to allow the public to browse posted materials, talk to Forest Service personnel and provide feedback. Two of the proposals are near Flagstaff, two in the east of Coconino County, but most near the Verde Valley.

Six of the proposed wilderness areas lie in a north-south alignment east of Beaver Creek to 10 miles east of Camp Verde to the Verde River on the South, near the Verde Hot Springs.

From north to south, the proposals include the Walker Mountain proposal, 6,378 acres, which includes the Walker Basin Trail, and lies South of the Wet Beaver Creek Wilderness.

South of the Walker proposal is the Cedar Bench proposal of 5,867 acres that includes wildlife viewing and scenery north of Bull Pen Ranch including Cedar Mountain.

The Black Mountain proposal aligns north of SR260 to the east and west, and includes escarpments, valley plains and hills, the Historic General Crook trail, Clear Creek, 13-Mile Rock and Black Mountain Canyon, south of the existing West Clear Creek Wilderness

On the South Side of SR 260 is the proposed Cimarron-Boulder proposed wilderness with elevated hills and mountains that encompasses the existing Cimarron-boulder roadless areas, north of he Cimarron Hills.

The Hackberry area is largest wilderness proposal at 26,223 acres, lying north of the Verde River around Hackberry Mountain, stretching along the river to the Verde Hot springs, north of Childs.

The Davey's proposal at 1,902 acres follows the power line northeast from Childs, wrapping north of the existing Fossil Creek Springs wilderness.

Comments on the draft report or on-the-ground knowledge will be greatly appreciated and most useful if received by August 2, 2010. Public comments provided will become part of the public record.

For more information, please contact Ms. Yewah Lau, Forest Planner, by phone at (928) 527-3411 or email at ylau@fs.fed.us. Send comments to: Coconino National Forest, Attn: Plan Revision Team, 1824 S. Thompson St., Flagstaff, AZ 86001. Or email to: coconino_national_forest_plan_revision_team@fs.fed.us.

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