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5:11 PM Wed, Sept. 19th

BLM to lead tour of Badger Springs area

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is offering a tour on the Agua Fria National Monument Tuesday to discuss proposed improvements in the Badger Springs area.

People interested in the two-hour tour should meet at 10 a.m. at the entrance to the Badger Springs area. From Cordes Junction, drive south on Interstate 17 to the Badger Springs Exit #256. Meet at the information kiosk just east of the exit.

The BLM is starting to work on the Badger Springs Recreation Plan, and the tour is an opportunity for the public to talk about the plan on site with BLM officials.

The BLM wants to add two more trails in the Badger Springs area, for a total of three. The trailhead would feature a small camping area, equestrian staging/camp area, shaded tables for day-use visitors, and an informational kiosk.

One of the proposed trails would lead to an ancient pueblo. Extensive ancient American Indian sites are a major reason why the monument was created.

The rugged 71,900-acre monument in southeast Yavapai County currently has only two short trails and no designated camping areas. BLM officials say visitors have requested more amenities.

"It's really an ideal entryway to the monument, and a great location for a really nice trailhead," Monument Ranger Nancy Stallard said of the Badger Springs area between Cordes Junction and Black Canyon City.

The Badger Springs Recreation Area proposal is part of the BLM's effort to implement its 2010 management plan for the monument, said Pamela Mathis, BLM district public affairs specialist.