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Tonto National Forest – Volunteer Vacations 2021

October 10 - October 16

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In 2020 more than 125 miles of the Arizona National Scenic Trail was impacted by wildfire. The largest of the fires to impact the trail was the Bush Fire in central Arizona which consumed more than 190,000 acres and closed 40 miles of the AZT through the Four Peaks and Pine Mountain. As initial assessments have been completed it is clear that the recovery from the fire will be long and will require a massive effort from volunteers and paid crews alike to open the trail and keep it safe for users. The need is critical and the work will help us keep a piece of beloved trail from fading back into the wild. Our efforts will concentrate on the area between El Oso Road and Boulder Creek, stabilizing creek crossings, repairing switchbacks and clearing any deadfall that has blocked the trail. There’s little brush left, so the majority of the work will be digging and tread rehabilitation. All tools and instruction will be provided – if you’ve always wanted a chance to work with big rocks – this is it!

CURRENT COVID TRAVEL RESTRICTIONS/REQUIREMENTS FOR STATE (Link)

Hiking/Access

Backpacking 8 miles to basecamp (Day hiking up to 3 miles each work day)

Project Rating

Strenuous

Minimum Volunteer Age

18

Maximum Group Size

10

Area and Attractions

There are few places in the west more rugged and dramatic than the Mazatzal Mountains. The Pine Mountain passage of the Arizona trail has always been that unexpected gem that one finds in the middle of territory so intimidating that many dismiss it out of hand. Boulder Creek is an oasis where we find not only sparkling pools of water but also the namesake piles of massive rocks. Humans have been trying to scratch out a place in these mountains since as early as 800 a.d., constantly battling the harsh landscape and arid climate. Boulder Creek has evidence of many phases of inhabitants from prehistory through early settlers, cowboys and now thousands of Arizona Trail enthusiasts. We're close to the Four Peaks and Mazatzal wildernesses and their miles of trails, OHV roads and recreation sites. While in the area, don't miss Tonto National Monument with it's 700 year old cliff dwellings or Roosevelt Lake, Arizona's largest reservoir with excellent fishing and boating opportunities. October in this part of Arizona can be beautiful, with days beginning to cool off and nights still comfortably warm. If the weather's been good, leaves may be just starting to change on the trees that survived the fire in the creek drainage. Our camp will be supported by our equestrian friends, so we can hike in with lighter packs and save our energy for the trail. Our camp is deep in the backcountry so be prepared to bring everything you'll need for the week. It's the perfect chance to unplug, unwind and enjoy the feeling of being tired, dirty and completely happy.

Accommodations Description

Volunteers will be backcountry camping in a dispersed camping setting. Due to recent fires we do not recommend hammock camping at this location. Availability of water will be dependent upon seasonal rainfall in the area. If the pools do not have adequate water we will have water carried in by pack stock. If water is available we will provide a group water filter system. Meals will be provided and prepared by a camp host familiar with COVID protocols. Volunteers should bring their own tent, sleeping bag/sleeping pad, cup/bowl/mug/eating utensils, and personal gear.

Travel

Airport pickup may be available depending on interest. Details will be shared with final trip confirmation. The closest airport is Sky Harbor International Airport. Meeting times will be sent to registrants when the trip is confirmed.

Venue

Tonto National Forest – Arizona National Scenic Trail
Sunflower - Bushnell Tanks Trailhead, AZ 85263 United States
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