PHOENIX —Effective noon today (Friday, July 21), Tonto National Forest officials closed East Verde River day use sites as well as segments of East Verde River and Ellison Creek to protect visitors’ health and safety.

The Closure Order encompasses all National Forest System (NFS) lands interior to those East Verde River day use sites known as First Crossing, Water Wheel, Second Crossing, Third Crossing, and Cold Springs Trailhead. It also includes those NFS lands immediately adjacent to each East Verde River day use site within a 500 foot corridor either side of the wetted edge of the East Verde River and Ellison Creek:

· For the East Verde River corridor area: beginning at the southern private property line of the Whispering Pines private subdivision extending south to the northern private property line of the Beaver Valley private subdivision.

· For the Ellison Creek corridor area: beginning at the western private property line of the Cold Springs Ranch private property extending west to the confluence of Ellison Creek with the East Verde River (e.g. Cold Springs area).

According to Neil Bosworth, Forest Supervisor, Tonto National Forest, the closure eliminates the potential for the public to enter these areas along the East Verde River while incident investigation and area safety assessment operations take place.

Forest Service East Verde River day use site information signboards and folding signboards located at the intersection of Forest Service Road (FSR) 99 and each day use site access road as well as the FSR 199/FSR 420 intersection will indicate restrictions and/or closures as necessary.

The Closure Order will remain in effect through August 31, 2017, unless terminated sooner.

Forest officials emphasize that violations of these prohibitions is punishable by a fine of not more than $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations, imprisonment for not more than six months, or both.   back...
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