Forest Service seeks public input on Slide Rock proposed fence and guardrail

SEDONA — The Coconino National Forest’s Red Rock Ranger District seeks public comment, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act, on a proposal by Arizona State Parks and Trails to install a fence 1,650 feet in length and a functioning guardrails on Slide Rock State Park’s permitted portion of state Route 89A.

The public is invited to comment through Dec. 10 on the project’s proposed action. The intent is to install a fence and guardrails that address ecological and safety concerns.

The proposed Slide Rock State Park project would install a fence to deter visitors from parking and walking along state Route 89A and would replace failing post-and-cable fencing with guardrails. Multiple user-created trails exist at this heavily-visited recreation site because the flow of people is unmanaged, often scrambling down a steep, rocky slope separating the road from Oak Creek.

The project would help protect the riparian habitat by guiding walkers to follow a path along the west side of state Route 89A, aligned with the proposed fencing, to the state park. Public access to Slide Rock would be unavailable from state Route 89A for the length of the fence.

Installation of a fence on the west side of the road and guardrails on the west and east sides of the road would minimize erosion by foot traffic throughout the riparian landscape, which includes narrow-headed gartersnake habitat. The proposal also would address safety concerns of pedestrians being hit by cars. Fence and Guardrail Specifics

The fence would be a six-foot-tall chain-linked fence for 1,650 feet adjacent to Slide Rock State Park and erected along the west side of state Route 89A. The fence is planned to run parallel to and just west of the road, beginning at Slide Rock Bridge going north to the U.S. Forest Service parallel parking lot.

The fence would be placed on the inside of improved guard rails and to the west edge of an existing user-created trail. The fence would be placed between 3 feet and 50 feet from the road. The fence would be placed behind existing vegetation, when possible, to minimize scenic impacts.

Guardrails would be improved to replace existing failing fencing on both the west and east sides of state Route 89A in the project area implementing the park’s coordination with Arizona Department of Transportation. Also, the proposal would modify Slide Rock’s special-use permit boundary to include the fence and guardrail footprint.

• Email to comments-southwestern-coconino-redrock@fs.fed.us (subject line “Slide Rock Installation”).

• Mail to Coconino National Forest, Attn: Slide Rock Installation, P.O. Box 20429, Sedona, AZ 86341.

• Fax to (928) 203-7539.

• Deliver in person to Red Rock Ranger District Office, 8375 state Route 179, Sedona, AZ 86351.

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