Originally Published: March 4, 2018 6 a.m.
Beginning the week of March 5, a contractor will be using heavy equipment to thin trees on 695 acres of Prescott National Forest land. The Schoolhouse Stewardship Project is located south of the City of Prescott between White Spar Road and Senator Highway. Thinning operations are dependent on weather and soil conditions, but visitors can expect equipment to be in the area for the next 2-3 months. Several sections of the project are located adjacent to Goldwater Lakes Trail #396, which makes up a portion of the Prescott Circle Trail. As the contractor moves through the area, portions of the Circle Trail and other system trails will be periodically closed and trail users will be re-routed to other system trails. In addition, the 396 trailhead, located on White Spar Road, will be closed during a portion of this time. Numerous signs will be posted to make trail users aware of the thinning operations and the status of trail closures as well as alternate routes. Measures will be taken to protect the surface of the trail and impacts will be remedied by the contractor and the Forest Service where needed. In addition, there will be increased truck traffic along White Spar Rd and Senator Highway. Prescott National Forest personnel will also ensure that agency approved events, such as the Whiskey Off-Road Race, will experience minimal interruptions. Until mechanical operations are concluded, estimated to be in early May, Forest Managers recommend that visitors take advantage of recreation opportunities in the Granite Basin Recreation Area or Thumb Butte Day Use Area.
The intent of the project is to improve the health and resiliency of fire-adapted ecosystems while simultaneously reducing hazardous fuels that pose a threat to life and property in the Wildland-Urban Interface. For more information, contact the Bradshaw Ranger District at 928-443-8000, or online at fs.usda.gov/prescott.