Camp Verde, Ariz., Feb. 28, 2017 — The public can begin making reservations through a seasonal permit system to visit Fossil Creek starting tomorrow.
Seasonal reservations are required from April 1 through Oct. 1, 2017, for day-use visitation in the Fossil Creek Permit Area, located within the Coconino and the Tonto national forests.
Permits will now be available to reserve one month in advance on a monthly basis, which is a change from the 2016 season. For example, reservations for the month of April can be made beginning March 1, and reservations for the month of May can be made beginning April 1 with a limit of one permit per person per month. This change was made to provide people with a better chance of reserving a parking space at their preferred location and to reduce the number of unused reservations (“no-shows”).
The Forest Service created a Fossil Creek permit reservation system in 2016 to manage high recreational use. The permit system allows for 148 designated parking spots or approximately 740 visitors per day within the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River corridor. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from visitors using the first year’s permit system to plan a trip within Fossil Creek.
“The reservation system was very successful last summer. The amount of trash, the numbers of vehicles waiting to park, and the volume of law enforcement incidents all declined substantially, and visitors were very happy to know they had a guaranteed parking spot,” said Nicole Branton, district ranger for the Red Rock Ranger District. “By making a reservation in advance, people can avoid driving long distances to get to Fossil Creek, only to be turned around because the area is full.”
The public can access the reservation system online by searching “Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River” at www.recreation.gov or by calling (877) 444-6777, beginning tomorrow. Permits cost $6, entitling the permit holder to a single day pass that reserves a parking spot for the day in a specific parking lot.
Visitors may only park in the parking lot assigned on their parking pass for the day reserved. Parking permit locations within the main river corridor include Mazatzal, Purple Mountain, Sally May, Homestead, Fossil Creek Bridge, Tonto Bench, Irving, and the Waterfall Trailhead. To access these parking locations, visitors should enter through Camp Verde on Highway 260 to Forest Road 708 (aka Fossil Creek Rd).
In addition, permits can be reserved for the Fossil Springs Trailhead parking lot through a “park and hike” permit or a horse trailer parking permit. Visitors seeking to reserve the Fossil Springs Trailhead permit should be prepared to do an eight-mile roundtrip strenuous hike if seeking water access and should enter through Strawberry off of Highway 87.
Additional Key Information
For more information about visiting Fossil Creek, please visit http://tinyurl.com/GoToFossilCreek, where you can download a Fossil Spring map and brochure in English or Spanish. The Fossil Creek Hotline is also available at (928) 226-4611.
John Stewart Managing Editor - 4x4Voice - 4x4Wire - MUIRNet.net Natural Resources Consultant - California Four Wheel Drive Association - http://www.cal4wheel.com Board of Directors - BlueRibbon Coalition http://www.sharetrails.org
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