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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Houston Mesa, Horse Camp reopen

Payson, Ariz. (July 12, 2012) – Tonto National Forest officials announced today a modification to a fire area closure order which will allow two campgrounds to re-open on Saturday:   Houston Mesa and Horse Camp campgrounds. The fire restriction area closure order went into effect on June 21.  The two campgrounds will re-open Saturday, July 14.  All other parts of the fire area closure order remain in effect until further evaluation.

Officials also announced a modification and extension of a temporary area closure which went into effect June 24 due to the preponderance of bear sightings this year, along with three attacks on humans in the past two months.  The area closure order, with modifications, has been extended from Saturday, July 14 until Sept. 4, unless terminated sooner.

The following area is now open every day 6 am to 6 pm:

The area within ½ mile east and west of Tonto Creek Road From Highway 260 to the Horton Bridge, within ½ mile west of Tonto Creek Road from the Horton Bridge to the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery, within ½ mile east of Horton Trail (Trail 285) and within ½ mile north and south of the Highline Trail (Trail 31) from Horton Spring to the Tonto Creek Fish Hatchery. 

The following areas remain CLOSED AT ALL TIMES under the temporary closure order:

All lands encompassed by the Ponderosa Campground, Sharp Creek Campground, Christopher Creek Campground, Lower Tonto Creek walk-in Campground, and Upper Tonto Creek Campground and the Forest Roads 405, 405A, 893, 1625, Ponderosa Campground Road, State Highway by-pass, and Trail 37 to the wilderness boundary.
 
For more information about wildlife on the Tonto National Forest, please contact the Arizona Game and Fish Mesa Office at 480-981-9400.

For further information about the area closure, see the forest website, www.fs.usda.gov/tonto or call the Payson Ranger District administrative offices at: 928-474-7900.

Media:  For further information about the bear attacks and bear tracking efforts, please contact Arizona Game and Fish spokesperson Jim Paxon at  623-236-7226, or Tom Cadden at  623-236-7392

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