Don’t have plans this Memorial Day weekend? Well, we’re pleased to report that Escudilla Wilderness and other areas in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest will be open this weekend.
The Escudilla Wilderness Area Emergency Closure Order is being lifted on the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests (ASNF) after nearly a year since last May’s historic Wallow fire. “The resilience of the Escudilla Wilderness is truly remarkable! Escudilla is no stranger to fire, as it was nearly 61 years ago when fire swept across its landscape. But, as you will see, meadows are green, aspen groves are springing up, and some areas have mixed conifer. We are asking the public not to loose sight that there are still a lot of hazardous conditions when entering any forested area, burned or not,” ASNF Forest Supervisor Jim Zornes stated.
Many areas of the Apache National Forest at a glance will look pretty similar, but the Forest wants to remind campers, hikers and all visitors to Look Up, Look Down, and Look All Around. What to look for? Look for stump holes, unstable trees and if there is a chance for rain, the possibility of flash flooding may occur. When strong winds occur, which is typical of the White Mountain area; hikers and campers may want to stay out of burned areas just as a precautionary measure. “We aren’t telling people that they that can’t go into the burned areas, we are just encouraging people if there’s another place to hike or camp they may want to do so,” according to Eric Flood, Alpine Ranger District recreation staff officer.
NOTICE: Low clearance vehicles and those pulling trailers are being advised not to use FR276 through the East Fork Recreation Area that will be open, because of the number of deep drainage ditches and salvage logging occurring on the north end of the road between FR249 and FR37. Visitors should access the East Fork area via US191, and take FR26 west, and then FR24 north, or follow FR 24 south from the Big Lake area.
Routes to (re)open: NFSR #81 (Auger Canyon Rd.) and NFSR #276 along the East Fork of the Black River.
Recreation Sites to (re)open: Aspen Camp Ground (CG), Deer Cr. CG, Buffalo Crossing, Diamond Rock CG, Horse Springs CG, and Raccoon CG, Rainbow CG, and South Fork Day Use Area (the area was a campground, but is now closed to all overnight camping).
Areas that will remain CLOSED to Dispersed Camping Until Further Notice: Auger Creek Closure Area, Fish Creek Closure Area, Middle Mountain Closure Area, Milligan Valley Closure Area, Prime Canyon Closure Area, and West Fork Closure Area.
Recreation Sites that will remain CLOSED Until Further Notice: West Fork Dispersed CG