PIMA COUNTY, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Large numbers of campers and picnickers are expected to visit the Coronado National Forest over the Labor Day weekend.
One reminder to visitors is that the Forest Supervisors Office and all Ranger District offices will be closed on Monday, Sept. 5 for the holiday. The Sabino Canyon Visitor Center will remain open for business on Monday and throughout the holiday weekend.
U.S. Forest Service officials want to remind the public of the following tips (for a safe and enjoyable weekend):
Storms. With summer monsoons come thunderstorms, which can be isolated in nature and materialize quickly. Recreationists are advised to check weather forecasts when preparing for outings, and to seek shelter in buildings or vehicles during storms (avoid sheltering under trees). Visitors should avoid low-lying areas, washes and streams which can quickly become flooded without warning.
Camping. Campers are encouraged to be good neighbors and recognize "quiet time" at 10 p.m.; to pitch tents in areas that are well-drained and avoid low spots; to bring drinking water, as not all areas supply potable water; and to remove trash, and leave clean campsites. Campers are reminded to store food and garbage out of sight and smell range of bears, utilizing metal "bear boxes" if they are available. Recent bear activity has occurred in some areas, and prevention of wildlife encounters is encouraged.
Campfires, Smoking and Fireworks. Fire or smoking restrictions are currently not in effect on the Coronado National Forest. However, vegetation is dry and human-caused wildfires are still being ignited. Visitors should carry enough extra water to extinguish campfires, choose campfire sites carefully, maintain small fires and ensure all fires and smoking materials are completely extinguished and cold to the touch before leaving them for any reason. (Drown, stir, drown and continue until cold.) Fires should be avoided on windy days. Cigarette butts should be placed in ashtrays. Fireworks are prohibited year-round on all National Forest lands.
Wildlife. The Coronado is home to many wildlife species. Visitors should avoid contact with wildlife and utilize "bear aware" principles. Maintain clean campsites. Store food out of sight and smell range of bears, utilize metal storage boxes for food and garbage in recreation sites. Cookware and dishes should be washed in designated areas away from camping sites and stored promptly after meals. Odorous products such as toothpaste or lotions and clothing with food or cooking odors should not be taken into sleeping areas. Wildlife should not be fed intentionally or accidentally. For their safety, pets should be leashed at all times. "Keep wildlife wild."
International Boundary Travel Caution. Forest visitors traveling in remote areas of the Coronado National Forest in the vicinity of the International Border with Mexico are advised to remain alert to their surroundings as illegal smuggling activity is known to occur in some areas. Visitors are advised not to attempt to intercede should they witness illegal activity, but to contact the nearest law enforcement agency with a location, descriptions of persons, vehicles, date and time and other pertinent information.
Dispersed Use/Off Highway Vehicles. Picnicking and camping outside of developed recreation areas on the Forest is allowed unless otherwise posted. Visitors must provide their own water and pack garbage out. Off-road/off-trail motorized travel is prohibited.
For Ranger District and Recreation Area Information: Know before you go.
- Douglas Ranger District (Chiricahua Mountains, Dragoon Mountains) - (520) 364-3468.
- Nogales Ranger District (Santa Rita Mountains, Madera Canyon; Atascosa Mountains; Tumacacori Mountains) - (520) 281-2296.
- Safford Ranger District (Mt. Graham) - (928) 428-4150.
- Sierra Vista Ranger District (Huachuca Mountains, Miller Peak Wilderness) - (520) 378-0311.
- Santa Catalina Ranger District (Mt. Lemmon, Sabino Canyon) - (520) 749-8700.