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Mon, Oct. 14

Meetings help map future of Verde Valley public lands

The Prescott National Forest and Arizona State Parks Department are inviting the public to help plan for future recreational use of public lands in the Verde Valley.

The agencies and local governments are sponsoring public meetings in Cottonwood Monday and Camp Verde Thursday. The Cottonwood meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the city's Public Safety Building at 199 S. 6th St., while the Camp Verde meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Forest Service's Verde Ranger Station at 300 E. Highway 260 on the east side of town.

"Anyone with an interest in the future of public lands recreation in the Verde Valley is welcome to participate," said Dee Hines, Verde District Ranger on the forest.

The Prescott National Forest and Arizona State Parks are major landowners in the Verde Valley, and both recently acquired new parcels along the Verde River.

"The expected product will be a comprehensive recreation strategy for the area," Hines said. "This integrated strategy would then lend itself to a systematic project-by-project implementation as opportunities arise."

For example, the agencies want to coordinate trail plans so recreational trails can connect to each other.

"We plan to develop a clear set of priorities and implementation plans," Hines said. "Through a community-wide discussion about forest-based and river-based recreation interests and issues, we want to develop concrete priorities and next steps for moving forward to realize the Verde Valley Landscape Vision."

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