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Tue, Oct. 15

Forest officials want to hear from the public about recreation needs

The Prescott National Forest and its partners are conducting several meetings to hear what kind of recreational opportunities citizens desire on the forest.

People can choose one of four workshops to attend in this region Wednesday and Thursday:

• Chino Valley - Wednesday at 6-8:30 p.m. at the CV Activity Center, 1527 N. Road 1 East.

• Prescott - Thursday at noon-2:30 p.m. at Yavapai Community College, Building 19, Room 147.

• Prescott Valley - Wednesday at 10 a.m. to noon at the PV Library's Chrystal Room.

• Prescott Valley - Thursday at 6-8:30 p.m. at the StoneRidge golf course, 1601 N. Bluff Top Drive.

Workshop organizers will discuss their approach and the current recreation situation on the Prescott Forest, then people will break into small groups to discuss how they like to recreate in this area and to relate their concerns, desires and ideas.

The U.S. Forest Service is working with local governments and recreation groups on "collaborative leadership teams" to create a sustainable recreation plan for the Prescott National Forest.

"It's an inclusive effort to say, 'Let's all work together and understand all of the challenges,'" explained Melissa Jackson of Prescott's parks and rec department, who is a member of one of the three collaborative leadership teams.

The three teams represent three regions surrounding the forest: the western/northern part of Yavapai County (including Prescott), eastern (Verde Valley) and southern (from Dewey-Humboldt to Crown King).

The workshops are an effort to identify recreational activities on the forest with minimal adverse effects and maximum economic impacts for local communities, added Kelly Schwartz, also a member of the Prescott-area collaborative team.

Schwartz is a member of the Prescott Saddle Club and Backcountry Horsemen of Central Arizona.

"It's an important issue for horseback riders," she said of recreational opportunities on the forest. "The Prescott National Forest has narrow trails shared by bikes, horses and people."

She is interested in finding ways to reduce conflicts between different kinds of trail users.

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