TONTO NATIONAL FOREST
Snuggled along the crest of the Mogollon Rim and stretching 90 miles south, the Tonto National Forest spreads over a spectacular 2.9 million acres of pine and cactus country just northwest of Phoenix, Arizona. To the north along the Rim country, cool, pine-covered slopes and clear trout-stocked streams attract thousands from the cities when summer temperatures soar. Just over the top of the Rim wooded lakes on the Coconino and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests beckon hundreds more on weekends. When sun and sizzling urban asphalt push thermometers past the 100 degree mark, only the early birds find vacant Forest Service developed campgrounds.
Relief from desert heat inspires a great many people to travel to the cool waters of one of the six reservoirs on the Tonto National Forest. There is considerable variation in the scenery, size, and type of opportunities found on these reservoirs.
Some people choose the larger lakes for water-skiing and power boating. Others opt for the quiet seclusion of a narrow lake arm extending between two near-vertical canyon walls. The Tonto National Forest has much to offer for boating enthusiasts. Enjoy your boating experience--but play it safe.
Boating on the Tonto National Forest is possible during all four seasons during good weather. Related recreational opportunities available at the reservoirs include: camping, picnicking, fishing, water-play, hiking, wildlife viewing, personal watercraft use, and interpretive programs.
Caution: Lake levels vary daily and are controlled by Salt River Project (SRP). For current information, phone the SRP at (602) 236-5929. These fluctuations result in rocks and other obstacles near the water surface. Be aware that this involves a degree of risk and the boat operator assumes all such responsibilities.
The Cave Creek Complex burned over 248,310 acres and is the largest fire recorded in the Sonoran Desert . Due to the fire's large size, multiple watersheds were affected by ash flows once the monsoons arrived. Tonto Forest fishery personnel Todd Willard, Bob Calamusso and Carol Engle in partnership with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department conducted fish salvage operations at Lime Creek, Silver Creek, and Camp Creek. Salvages were conducted in order to preserve rare southwestern fishes which exhibit unique genetic variability. Endangered Gila topminnow occupied Lime Creek for over 20 years, and are one of the thirteen populations on the Tonto. Gila chub, a species that has been petitioned for listing by US Fish and Wildlife Service under the Endangered species act, were successfully salvaged from Silver Creek. Both species are being held at the Bubbling Ponds State Fish Hatchery. Additionally, Forest Service sensitive speckled dace that inhabited Camp Creek were captured and transported to the Phoenix Zoo. This race of speckled dace found in Camp Creek, are particularly unique due to their large size as compared to other stocks on the Tonto Forest . All three species will be held in captivity until stream conditions improve. All agencies involved are commended on the proactive approach to saving unique species before they are removed by ash flows.