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Thu, March 21

Black Canyon City residents have their say on recreation plan

Brainstorming session in progress at the April 5 public meeting in Black Canyon City for Prescott National Forest Service proposed Recreation Strategy Planning.<br>
BBNPhoto/Diana Baker

Brainstorming session in progress at the April 5 public meeting in Black Canyon City for Prescott National Forest Service proposed Recreation Strategy Planning.<br> BBNPhoto/Diana Baker

The Black Canyon City Community Association conducted a special community workshop on April 5 at the Albins Civic Center for the Sustainable Recreation Strategy Program in the Southern Bradshaw area of the Prescott National Forest Service.

About 30 BCC residents attended the session. Tom Christensen, Recreation Project Manager for Independent Resources of the U.S. Forest Service, opened the meeting by giving a brief overview of the time line and goals of the program.

"We are in the Part 1 stage now asking 'Where are we now?'" Christensen said. "The next two months we will be deciding 'Where we want to go' and during June and July we will be working on 'How will we get there?'"

"The PNFS is one of three forests chosen for this collaborative planning effort," he continued. The others are Colville Forest in Washington State and Shawnee Forest in Illinois.

"All agencies need to work together for the future and we need to hear your input," Christensen stressed. "No one can do this alone anymore - everyone needs to get together for improved future recreation."

Christensen asked the audience what type of recreating they would like to do on the public lands and what visitors to the area might enjoy.

The answers included walking and hiking; horseback and bicycle riding; 4-wheeling, ATV and rockcrawling; target shooting, prospecting and rock collecting; and visiting ghost towns and archaeological sites.

The PNFS Sustainable Recreation Strategy area is broken into three segments. Zone 1 includes the Agua Fria, Black Canyon City, Crown King area; Zone 2 is the Prescott/Chino and Drake section; and Zone 3 is the Verde Valley.

Mike Leonard, acting District Ranger for the PNFS, said, "This recreation strategy is a spin-off of the Land Use Plan. But there are no mandates or deadlines for this. It's as good as you, the public users, make it."

The audience then split into four groups to brainstorm ideas to improve recreation in this area and how to achieve it.

Tahnee Robertson, director of Southwest Decision Resources, facilitated the meeting each group had its own facilitator and local resident to capture all the ideas on a large flipchart.

After about an hour of lively discussion each table's group had filled several pages.

Access to public lands was a high priority for everyone, as was litter control, no land trades, the Black Canyon Trail and trails for motorized and non-motorized users, and designated target shooting areas.

Other suggestions included more ranching and grazing to improve the health of the land and reduce wildfire danger, responsible management of mining sites, more public education about land ownership, equestrian parks to include water areas, more signage for land ownership, kiosks for information on the area, and more volunteers and youth groups.

Robertson and Christensen thanked everyone for the great ideas and said, "We will be working on developing strategies from tonight's workshop."

Bob Cothern, president of the BCCCA and secretary of the Black Canyon Trail Coalition, concluded the meeting saying, "We need help from the community to stay involved in this process. Not just for tonight but in the future."

Additional workshops were planned in Mayer and Crown King later in the week. For additional information visit the website: sites.google.com/site/recreationstrategypnf

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