Yup, you read that right. Several Forest orders in effect since December 2, 2000, have just expired on the first of the year.
Several forest orders in the Coconino National Forest expired on the first of the year. These forest orders have been holding many of northern Arizonas best 4×4 trails and campsites hostage. As far as we can tell, some of these roads are still open on the MVUM.
Forest order 04-00-146 was put in place by Coconino national forest supervisor James W. Golden. The order identified several areas where motorized use would be prohibited. A total of 11 places were identified around Stoneman Lake, Rim Rock, Cornville, Sedona, Camp Verde, and several other areas throughout the Coconino National Forest.
Forest order 04-99-09 was also put in place by supervisor James W. Golden on October 7th, 1999. It puts limits on group sizes, occupancy limits at certain campgrounds, and a prohibition on more than 2 unoccupied vehicles in a campground. This order sets a 7-day camping limit on several developed campsites in and around Sedona.
You can find information on forest order 04-99-09 HERE.
It’s unclear if USDA officials are going to reissue the forest orders. We do know Travel Management planning has been completed in the Coconino National Forest. Therefore, some of these roads remain closed and further motorized prohibitions may not be necessary. However, there are a few areas where the MVUM shows some of these roads are open. Some of the closed roads are redundant routes, dispersed camping areas, or adjacent to residential areas.
You can view the motor vehicle use map (MVUM) with closed roads using our new Interactive Adventure Planner. This map allows you to compare the current MVUM with closed roads clearly marked in red.
It’s likely that if these orders are reinstated, they will require a public commenting period. Its also highly likely that no more motorized access prohibitions will be reinstated because of the current travel management planning. Only time will tell.
As far as 04-99-09 goes, most of these places appear to be closed under new forest orders due to public safety concerns and China Flu restrictions. These restrictions will be lifted in March. The original prohibitions under this order now fall into resource management planning
Let us know what you think in the comments below.