The Arizona Game and Fish Department is seeking input from
the public on how it would like to see the state’s road less
areas managed. A series of informational open houses will be
held around the state in July and August, and written
comment will be accepted until Aug. 31.
The input will assist Gov. Janet Napolitano and the
department in developing Arizona’s petition to the USDA
Forest Service requesting specific management requirements
for some or all of 1.2 million acres of inventoried road
areas in six national forests in Arizona.
"Arizona is fortunate that Governor Napolitano is
committed to developing recommendations that conserve the
integrity of our road less areas, establish provisions for
current public and administrative uses, and allow management
actions that ensure the long-term health of the public land
and resources," says Director Duane Shroufe of the Arizona
Game and Fish Department.
"The public input phase is an important part of
developing these recommendations."
The Forest Service originally issued the Road less Area
Conservation Rule in January 2001. The rule essentially
prohibited new road construction and development on 58.5
million acres of inventoried road less areas on Forest
Service lands across the country. Several states filed
lawsuits over the rule, and a federal court struck it down
The Forest Service issued a revised rule in 2005 that
allows state governors to petition the Secretary of
Agriculture with specific management recommendations for
inventoried road less areas in their states. The states have
until November 2006 to complete the petition and submit it
for review and approval.
The original Road less Rule (and the interim directive in
place until states complete their petition processes)
conserves road less values while allowing for current public
access and recreational opportunities, including hiking,
camping, hunting and fishing; management of habitat for more
than 1,500 species of fish and wildlife, including
threatened, endangered or sensitive plant and animal
species; and protection of clean water from forest
headwaters and streams.
The rule also allows construction of temporary roads
under specified circumstances, such as to fight forest fires
or to implement actions that reduce the risk of wildfire,
for public safety and resource purposes. The rule doesn’t
change states’ or private landowners' rights to access their
The management of any existing roads within the
inventoried road less areas will be evaluated during the
transportation planning process associated with the future
revision of individual forest land management plans.
At the request of Gov. Napolitano, the Arizona Game and
Fish Department is conducting the public input phase of
Arizona’s petition process. A series of informational open
houses has been scheduled to help the public better
understand road less management issues and the state’s
"The meetings will include a presentation about road
areas, the state petition process, and potential management
options for inventoried road less areas in the national
forest closest to the local community," says Bob Broscheid,
habitat branch chief for the Arizona Game and Fish
Department. "The public will have an opportunity to view
maps, ask questions and provide written comment, but no oral
comment will be taken at the meetings."
All open houses will be held from 6-9 p.m. on the
following dates and will discuss the road less areas in the
national forest land listed in parentheses:
Wednesday, July 5 - Safford
(Coronado/Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests), Graham County
General Services Building, 921 Thatcher Blvd.
Thursday, July 6 - Tucson (Coronado National
Forest), Arizona Game and Fish Department Tucson regional
office, 555 N. Greasewood Road.
Monday, July 10 - Phoenix (all National
Forests), Arizona State Fairgrounds Wildlife Building, 19th
Avenue and McDowell Road.
Tuesday, July 11 - Mesa (Tonto National
Forest), Arizona Game and Fish Department Mesa regional
office, 7200 E. University Drive.
Wednesday, July 12 - Payson (Tonto/Apache-Sitgreaves
National Forests), Payson Inn Conference Room, 801 N.
Thursday, July 13 - Globe (Tonto National
Forest), Gila County Fairgrounds, 3 miles north of Globe on
Tuesday, July 18 - Kingman (Prescott
National Forest), Arizona Game and Fish Department Kingman
regional office, 5325 N. Stockton Hill Road.
Thursday, July 20 - Prescott (Prescott
National Forest), Yavapai County Board of Supervisors
Office, 1015 Fair St.
Tuesday, July 25 - Springerville-Eagar
(Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests), Eagar Town Council
Chambers, 174 S. Main St.
Wednesday, July 26 - Pinetop (Apache-Sitgreaves
National Forests), Arizona Game and Fish Department Pinetop
regional office; 2878 E. White Mountain Blvd.
Tuesday, Aug. 8 - Flagstaff (Coconino/Kaibab
National Forests), Radisson Woodlands Hotel, 1175 W. Route
Wednesday, Aug. 9 - Fredonia (Kaibab
National Forest), Fredonia Courthouse Building, 110 N. Main
Written comment can be submitted by e-mail to
or by U.S. mail to Arizona Game and Fish Department, Attn:
Road less Petition Comment, 2221 W. Greenway Road, Phoenix,
AZ 85023. All comments must be received by Aug. 31 to ensure
adequate consideration prior to developing Arizona’s
Additional information on roadless areas is located on
the Arizona Game and Fish Department Web site at
www.azgfd.gov/roadless or the USDA Forest Service’s Web