Florence Junction trail closures

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Jan 30, 2003
All over Arizona
Just picked this up from the other Landcruiser club. This is getting up close and personal. We ARE loosing trails! I cannot attend this meeting, but I hope MOST of you can. These closures will just keep happening little by little until the trails are ALL closed!



Tues, APRIL 14, 2009

6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

1826 W. McDowell, Phoenix

Arizona Game & Fish building at the Fairgrounds located at the junction of I-17 & I-10

PLEASE NOTE: Entrance gate off McDowell (just east of 19th Avenue) will be the only gate open. As entering the gate you will have to explain to the guard you are there for a meeting at the Game & Fish building. Continue straight past the Coliseum and then turn left. You may have to hunt for a parking space as the fair opens the next day and they are worried parking may be difficult. The Game & Fish building is a large building just east of the coliseum.

Wear RED if you chose………….. the important issue is to have NUMBERS. We will get nothing if we don’t show interest!

BLM will be in attendance with the maps. We will not be able to “speak” but BLM will take written questions/issues/concerns at which time they will read and answer to the group as a whole. Hopefully this will help everyone understand the detailed issues and how each of us can help make this work for both sides. I believe BLM have helped make this a quality recreation area but it’s going to be up to all of us to keep it this way as well as improving it as we move forward. Pinal County has supported the MGCP in maintaining this area for recreation……………… We are not going to agree with everything but all in all we certainly haven’t lost like California has. Below are a few of the questions that have been put to me over the past couple of weeks. Please feel free to add to them. I will have paper available if BLM does not. Following this meeting it is asked each of you write comments to BLM. DUE by MAY 8, 2009.

The proposed CLOSED trails:

Lower Woodpecker

Martinez Canyon

Woody’s Wash


Broken Ankle

Jawbreaker (this trail has been officially closed for a number of years)


Page 5 of the Summary Plan, paragraph a: WHO will be responsible for maintaining roads? Will all roads be maintained “annually” as stated?
What if we don’t want roads to be improved unless it’s a safety issue or resourse issue?
Page 5 of the Summary Plan, paragraph b: What are “primitive roads”? How do these trails apply to the stated “annual maintenance”?
WHY 139.3 miles of CLOSED ROUTES? My concern is by closing this amount of existing trails it only puts more impact on the trails remaining open and it looks as though the ATV’s and bikes have fewer places to ride thusly putting them on the 4x4 technical trails or major routes. This is a safety issue.
Are there any plans to designate trails only to ATV’s or UTV’s or bikes?
Page 6 of the Summary Plan, paragraph c: Please explain the last paragraph relating to 12.6 miles of routes related to rock crawling to be identified as specialized recreation sites? Does this mean that in the area of the trail the sides or rock obstacles are part of the trail?
Page 7, paragraphs 3 & 4: you refer to route widths, intensity, surface, curves etc……. Why would you enhance the problems with managing these issues by closing so many miles of trails. It seems most of the trails on the ground today are due to “supply and demand”. These numbers will not lessen.
Will OHV vehicles be restricted from major ingress/egress routes that “hauling trucks” use? If so how will the recreational vehicles be warned?
Page 9, paragraph 5b: I don’t find specific plans or proposals regarding the Great Western Trail. Is it specified on the maps?
Page 3, paragraph 5c: How do the Pinal County Trails along the river affect OHV recreation? Can OHV no longer access camping sites along the river?
Will there be any approved river crossings for OHV?
Page 11, paragraph 2: WHO makes the site plans? Many of the “OHV SITES” shown on the maps are simply 4x4 trails. They are not technical trails and do not require any special equipment. WHY do ALL these trails fall under a “special site” designation?
Page 12, paragraph D; I note some of the 139.3 miles of closed routes are self claiming…… why are the remaining trails being closed? Many of these depicted trails should be designated for ATV, UTV or bike routes.
Due to the fact the State Land Dept. has put so many stipulations regarding access to Trust lands will BLM lands offer anything in the way of “staging areas”; or “camping or event areas”. If not, how do we move forward with getting some of these areas implemented into the area plans?
Page 14, paragraph 5 of the Summary Plan it states “pull off a designated route up to 100 ft on either side of the centerline”. What exactly does this mean?
Page 15, paragraph I of the Summary Plan talks of issuance of a Record of Decision and map. Please explain and what is the timeline for all of this to take place? Are the existing trails open to our use until such time all this is final?
It is my understanding we can propose to BLM additional trails for future use. HOW do we do this and how long does this take?
Can we propose reopening trails as the OHV numbers increase?
I’m assuming NEPA must be done on any “new trail proposals”. Will this also include trails that are now on the inventory? Will we just be told such things as: “No money, time or personnel to do the required work for new trails?”
Regarding dollars for funding NEPA, trails, etc can we, the public, write grants with BLM supporting them?
It is my understanding BLM regulations state you need “reasons” for closures. Will you give us the specific reasons for the closures of: Martinez, Lower Woodpecker, Woody’s Wash, Overdose and Broken Ankle?
It is my understanding Broken Ankle was suggested for closure by the OHV reps in the evaluation portions of this procedure because it was felt it was unsafe for a novice driver. Can we replace another of the closed trails by rebuilding this trail to be of equal difficulty to replace our loss?
I am specifically interested in the reason behind the closure of Martinez. There have been years of accusations towards OHV regarding damage to the structures and resources. I know for fact the damage at the cabin has nothing to do with OHV and the crossing of the stream just above the ponds has been ruled by BLM fish specialist to not be a problem. OHV offered a number of years ago to help rebuild or stabilize the house………… at our cost by the way, but we were never allowed to do anything. We were recently accused of destroying the rock outbuilding where it shows definitively that Mother Nature did the damage. We asked for a partnership proposition of “gating by permit for 3 years” to give time to rebuild and restructure the canyon while being able to monitor who goes into the canyon. By closing out only the OHV only allows the RAVE groups and campers to do whatever they wish. The only thing it does is take the blame off OHV. If this canyon is to be closed it needs to be closed to EVERYONE.
If Lower Woodpecker is closed do we have use of the Middle Woodpecker area as a “play area” or just a pass through to Upper Woodpecker without traveling the main road?
Please add additional questions or concerns so everyone sees and understands the issues.


On Fri, Apr 10, 2009 at 8:00 AM, Joe Chott <jrchott@pobox.com> wrote:

I am relaying this message from Sandee McCullen (one of our most credible and hard working Off-Highway Vehicle [OHV] representatives), concerning needed support for the upcoming BLM meeting this coming Tuesday -- see below. There are many trails in this area, ranging from mild to WILD, and they are talking about closures. Sandee needs our help to try and offset some of these closures, and prevent additional closures of OUR trails.

If you can't open the .docx file, choose "Display as HTML".

Joe Chott


Member since 1996

Arizona OHV Recreationists……..

Attached is notice of a meeting with BLM next week Tues (APRIL 14, 2009) regarding the travel plans for the Florence Junction trails. Please pass this information on to your clubs, friends, family or anyone interested in OHV recreation. Also post on any/all OHV boards.

As most of you know the Florence Junction area is one of the two largest OHV recreation areas in the state…………………. We do NOT want to lose it.

We NEED NUMBERS to make this work. PLEASE take a few minutes from your time to attend this meeting. Although we do not “have a voice” we can WRITE our questions/concerns and BLM will read and answer the issue so all can hear or relate to.

Thanks, Sandee
Im going to try to make it.. I know quite a few people from TTORA will be there.. The more to show up the better as numbers count...
So anyone try to do your best to show up...
Howdy! UPDATE! This is from one of the AzLCA members. Please read and heed! There is no doubt that there will be trail closures within the next couple of years. Yea, I'm just cryin "WOLF!" again, but the wolf is real, and getting closer and closer. Even if you can't make it to the meetings, here is your chance to make a difference. Send an email in to save your favorite trails. Even if your on the West side of the valley, or in Tuscon, it will affect you. If these trails get closed down, the traffic will be coming your way, until they close those trails too.

This is pretty long, but bear with me -- this issue is very critical. We have all sorts of opportunities here in AZ for four wheeling, much better than in most other states. We need to let BLM know that we care about these trails, and give them specific information on why they should be kept open. This process will eventually be used on all BLM areas (and four wheel drive trails) in Arizona.

Tuesday night Marcel and I attended a special meeting between the BLM and the four wheel drive community, to discuss their proposed plans for the trails in the Florence Junction area. The comment period on this plan closes on May 8, 2009. The BLM must have a plan for this area, so there is some urgency for us to get four wheel drive comments to them before that date.

There are 263 miles of identified roads or primitive roads on over 96,320 acres of BLM land in this area. Interspersed in this area are private land and AZ State Trust Land, which will not be covered by the BLM management plan. The proposed BLM plan can be found at Documentation & Maps .

At the beginning of the meeting there was a short presentation of the proposed BLM plan, and then a question/answer session started. All questions were required to be written down, so they could become part of the formal comments. As you may have read in some of the introductory information sent out prior to this meeting, there are some closures proposed (but we may be able to delay or stop them, if we get our comments in by May 8). No action on your part implies quiet agreement with their plan!

The BLM has to answer to the various groups who might be using this area: environmentalists, biologists, archeologists, miners, ranchers, OHVers, etc. They are open to suggestions, but if there is extensive damage being caused, they will need to stop it, one way or another. There are native fish in the area, archeological sites/ruins, wildlife (desert tortoise, bighorn sheep, etc.), etc. that need to be taken into account. Once the plan is finalized later this year, it may take some time to implement the improvements and enact the closures.

One of the most critical areas that could be closed is the Martinez Canyon area, for various reasons. There are archeological sites being dug up, there is vandalism of buildings, there is private property in the middle of the loop, new road building, trash, etc. Some of these issues are probably caused by irresponsible four wheelers. The mining structure on the lower section of the four wheel drive loop is PRIVATE property, and the owners do not want people trespassing and vandalizing their property. BLM cannot solve this issue. Maybe they can keep the first part of this trail open, rather than totally closing it.

Other potential trail closures are Lower Woodpecker, Woody's Wash, Overdose, and Broken Ankle (Jawbreaker has been closed for some time). Some of these trails are extreme rock crawling trails. The maps on the website indicate where these trails are located.

BLM seemed to be trying to reach compromises, but when the damage is too great, there only option is to close the area. They did leave some hope that some of the trails might be reopened sometime in the future, with some type of controlled access. There was also discussion on the installation of gates (like Bulldog Canyon) where you could only enter if you register to get the combination, etc. This technique tends to restrict entry (letting more responsible four wheelers in), and minimizes damage due to troublemakers.

In my opinion, some of these proposed plans would actually be significant improvements (trail signage, trail ratings, entry road improvements, more on the ground enforcement, etc.). They need our assistance to help them in various areas. There will be an Adopt-A-Trail program started very soon where a club or group can sign up to run a trail a specified number of times per year, cleaning up trash, fixing eroded areas, etc.

Some of the reasons for closure or changes were given as: intrusion on desert tortoise habitat, erosion, safety, bighorn sheep habitat, damage to archeological areas, oil/fluids polluting nearby streams, cutting new roads, etc.

If you want to give BLM some feedback (positive or negative), you need to make sure your comment (or comments) is received by May 8. One of the easiest ways is to send an E-Mail to: mgc_travel@blm.gov . They would like specific comments (this trail has this ujnique feature..., On page xx of the plan, I disagree ..., Access to this trail can be controlled by ...). General comments like "All trails should be kept open" don't really help since there is certainty that some trails must be closed for legal reasons. Signing a form letter or a petition won't help either since each letter or E-Mail must be unique. Multiple E-Mails are encouraged, as long as they are on separate subjects.

At the meeting there were several questions about enforcement. BLM indicated that they needed our assistance in monitoring activities out on the trails since they cannot be everywhere. We will have more success by working with them than be working against them. The easiest thing for them is to close areas, and we don't want them to take that approach.

Joe Chott


Member since 1996

Arizona Land Cruiser Club Association
This covers a much greater area than just the "classic Florance Junction" trails, from my brief review of the maps lots of trails are being closed. For example the Walnut Canyon loop we did over New Years, the road along the river (SE4113) is being closed (along with a bunch of others) so that loop would be only a pair of in and out spurs, with no access to the lower canyon.

Unfortunately I don't have the time that I would like to study all of the routes.:eek: The best maps that I saw are under Map 3 Proposed Route Designations. Please down load them, review and post anything that (with route number) that you see so we can be more effective in our letter writing.

Documentation & Maps

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