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KAIBAB NATIONAL FOREST — Located south of the Arizona/Utah border, Kaibab National Forest offers various camping locations and forest service officials are proposing to add several miles of camping corridors and roadways in the area and want the public’s feedback.
In 2010 and 2011, the Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts decided to designate roads as open or closed to motorized use and provided spur roads for access to popular camping areas, the proposal said. The previous plan designated that motorized vehicles could only drive 30 feet off-road for camping.
However, “based on several years of monitoring and documenting public concerns about recreational access and other issues,“ Kaibab National Forest officials said they found that the current program didn’t meet the public’s need for access to dispersed motorized camping opportunities, according to the proposal.
“Restricting motorized camping to within 30 feet of open roads does not provide access to many of the historically used (and therefore already impacted) campsites,” the proposal said.
As a result, Kaibab National Forest officials are considering whether “to provide increased opportunities for dispersed motorized camping and forest access” for the Williams and Tusayan Ranger Districts, according to its website. The proposal would designate around 223 miles of camping corridors along several road systems on both districts, with 159 miles on the Williams Ranger District and 64 miles on the Tusayan Ranger District, the Kaibab National Forest website said.
The corridors would extend 200 feet from either side of the public road, except for when it’s limited by private land or had resource concerns, according to a Kaibab National Forest news release.
The proposal would add 15 spur roads to the main road system on the Tusayan district, totalling an additional 1.3 miles of road that would provide better access to motorized camping areas, the news release said. The proposed plan would also add another 16 miles of roads to the open road system across both districts, including 12 miles of formerly closed roads and four miles of routes that were “user created.”
“We have listened to the concerns of the public regarding the lack of opportunities for motorized dispersed camping on the Williams and Tusayan districts,” Kaibab National Forest Supervisor Mike Williams said in a news release. “We made a commitment to our communities to be responsive and refine our transportation system over time. We believe this proposal will help us to better meet the recreational needs of forest visitors.”
However, the changes would close nine miles of currently open roads across the two districts, the news release said. With the proposal, the forest service plans to develop a strategy to make future changes to the transportation system for the two districts based on changing needs.
The proposal is open to public comment until May 11 and comments can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or mailed to the Williams Ranger District at 742 S. Clover Road, Williams, Arizona, 86046.