Our friends at the Arizona Game and Fish Department need your help to catch vandals at the Saffel Canyon OHV staging area in the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests. We hope you’ll help spread the word by sharing this post.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) is asking for the public’s help investigating multiple acts of vandalism at the Saffel Canyon OHV staging area. Vandals destroyed at least two sections of wood-pole fencing around the Saffel Canyon “tot-lot,” a training area designated for inexperienced OHV and motorcycle users. Vandals used the broken fence sections to enter the tot-lot on more than one occasion and cause damage to the facility.
“It appears that the person or persons responsible used a large pickup truck to destroy the fencing, and then used their vehicle to carve deep ruts into the tot-lot,” said Game and Fish OHV Officer Nancy Huser. “This learning facility was paid for through the state’s OHV decal program, and seeing it damaged this way is disappointing to the thousands of responsible Arizona OHV riders who pay into the fund.”
According to Officer Huser, the fencing was first broken in December, 2013, but vandals didn’t begin driving through the broken fence until February. After the area received precipitation on March 2, the vandals returned, drove their vehicle through the broken fence and onto the tot-lot, causing resource damage and tearing up large parts of the riding area.
The Apache County ATV Roughriders, a group of local OHV enthusiasts and volunteers, teamed up with AZGFD to repair the fence with a grant from Arizona State Parks. But until the perpetrators are caught, Mel Schweigert, president of the ATV Roughriders, says his group fears the vandals will return.
“We’re seeking information on who is responsible for vandalizing the Saffel Canyon ATV Staging Area,” said Schweigert. “Saffel Canyon is one of the most beautiful places in Arizona. There are hundreds of miles of roads in Apache County that can be used by four-wheel-drive vehicles, so it is uncertain why these vandals felt the need to break down the fence and destroy this OHV area.”
Officer Huser says the area is under surveillance, and she is confident the vandals will be identified. “Local law enforcement agencies are working together with Game and Fish, and with assistance from the public, we hope to soon identify the vandals,” said Huser. Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to call the Arizona Game and Fish Department’s Pinetop-Lakeside Regional Office at 928-367-4281, or toll-free at 1-800-VANDALS.