Fossil Creek’s Wild and Scenic Management Plan is under evaluation. Coconino and Tonto National Forests are currently taking input from the public. These are the following recommendations and concerns from a whitewater kayaker and outdoorsman that has boated Fossil creek over 100 times throughout all seasons of the year, over a 9 year period, and at various flows and weather conditions. In additional I have hiked most trails in the area, camped numerous times in the Childs area, and boated numerous sections, and flows of the Verde River over the past 14 years. The proposals can be viewed under the Coconino National Forest web site, under Fossil Creek Comprehensive Management Plan Coconino National Forest - Planning . Alternatives B and C will essentially eliminate kayaking as a recreational activity in this area. We will request that Coconino National Forest consider other alternatives to their current plans. These are the necessary considerations in planning to allow us to continue kayaking on Fossil Creek. You may write your own letter to Coconino National Forest, or you may simply email, text, or call me to add your name to the list of boaters, boater sympathizers, or simply someone that is simply concerned with maintaining our rights as Americans to access our rivers. We must act quickly as the public comment period ends next week. This is the letter I intend to send to Coconino National Forest. American Whitewater is already on board and they are sending their own letter to the Forest.
Coconino National Forest, We are a group of boaters, whitewater enthusiasts, and outdoorsmen. Once the base flow was restored an estimated 2,000 kayaking descents of this creek have been performed. We would like you to consider that kayaking/boating was overlooked as an Outstandingly Remarkable Recreational Value in the original assessment of Fossil Creek, and some of the alternatives that you are proposing will effectively eliminate the ability for boaters to enjoy this jewel in the desert.
1.Kayaking should be considered for special recreational designation as an Outstandingly Remarkable Value (ORV) on Fossil Creek for the following unique reasons. a.This is the only creek that is easily accessible, and has reliably boatable flows year round in the entire state of Arizona. b.This creek is one of the few in the nation that is overall safe for intermediate boaters and yet still challenging for more experience kayakers, due to a combination of the clear, warm water, consistent low volume flow (43 CFS), and steep gradient (185 fpm). c.This is the only reliably accessible travertine creek in the United States that is regularly kayaked. Less than a handful of travertine rivers in the world are boatable. The other travertine creeks in the United States are in difficult locations to kayak, the volume is too low to kayak, or are found in areas where kayaking is not allowed. d.Kayakers have the unique ability to reach areas of the stream for trash cleanup that would otherwise require swimmers to traverse the entire length of the creek. Kayakers have removed truckloads of trash from the “actual creek” and will continue to help maintain the river in the future, provided they are granted the privilege to access the area. e.Kayaking is a very low impact recreational activity on the fossil creek environment, and provides entertainment to hikers on the creek.
Currently Action Plan A is the only plan that would allow us to continue to enjoy Fossil Creek. Both B and C CRMP Action Alternatives would effectively eliminate the ability for boaters to kayak on Fossil Creek. These are the following recommendations and issues with current Action Alternatives:
The Oak Trail (Currently the Waterfall Trail) must remain open. The most commonly run section of Fossil creek is from the 20 foot waterfall to “double drop” at the Irving Power Plant. Approximately 60% of this run is accessed from the proposed Oak Trail.
The 708 Forest Service Road must remain open to the Oak Trail Head. If this road was closed at the homestead area, this would require kayakers to carry their kayaks approximately 2.5 miles to begin their trip. This would effectively eliminate the ability of kayakers to enjoy this area of the creek.
We request equal opportunity for access to the creek.
We request that FR 502 remain open. This road is vital to river access on the Verde River. This access point is required for boaters traveling from Beasley Flats to Childs, and boaters traveling into the Wild and Scenic area of the Verde River system.
Dr. Bill Langhofer, 7311 E Thomas Road, Scottsdale Arizona, 85251 [email protected] 480-945-8484
Please send me your name, address, email, and +/-phone to be added to this letter that will be sent to the Coconino National Forest. Thanks for your part in securing our future.
It would be great to show the FS that people outside the state care for and respect this truly unique place and that the kayaking community is a strong one and is beneficial to our waterways. Thanks Bill!
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