Owners of ATVs might want to travel to Flagstaff Thursday to submit their comments regarding a proposal to limit off-highway vehicles to existing roads and trails in five Arizona national forests including Tonto, Apache-Sitgreaves, Coconino, Kaibab and Prescott.
From 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the Flagstaff Community Library located at 3000 N. 4th Street, the U.S. Forest Service will host an open house in which residents can learn more about the proposal.
According to Forest Service officials, the five national forests are included in the project because they have contiguous boundaries and have a need for administrative consistency to alleviate public confusion.
If the Forest Service proposal is passed as expected, it would probably restrict ATVs to less than half the areas where they currently are allowed.
According to officials, the proposal was initiated in response to the extensive damage that ATVs of all types are doing to the environment.
The problem is especially rampant in the southern portions of the Tonto National Forest where Valley off-roaders gather in droves. Any off-roader who has visited the area, especially Sycamore Canyon, has seen the damage being done and has probably witnessed reckless driving that has resulted in countless injuries to riders.
Forest Service officials say the proposal would help eliminate most of the damage being done to public land by the off-roaders.
Rim country ATV owners recognize that environmental damage has been done by irresponsible off-roaders who continue to carve illegal trails and destroy native plants with their reckless antics.
Sensible and rational off-roaders' best hope is that the actions of the rogue quad, dirt bike and four-wheel-drive truck owners can be curbed with judicious legislation that won't put the crimps on responsible riders.
Arizona national forests remain open to OHV use while this environmental study is being conducted and will continue to be managed on a site-specific basis until the study is completed.
The public comment period will conclude June 13.
Copies of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement are available at Forest Service offices or on the website at www.fs.fed.us/r3/ohv.
People also can comment on the project via the web or by mailing comments to Apache/Sitgreaves National Forest, attn: Jim Anderson, Cross-country Travel Project, P.O. Box 640, 309 South Mountain Ave., Springerville, AZ 85938.
For more information, call Raquel Poturalski at (928) 527-3490.
Golf tournament to benefit Santa's List
The 17th Annual Stocking Stuffers' benefit golf tournament tees off Saturday, June 21 at the Payson Golf Course, and there's still plenty of time to add your foursome to the roster. This tournament is organized by Santa's List -- the Rim country's biggest charity that provides toys and gifts for children and seniors at Christmas.
The four-man best ball scramble begins with a shotgun start at 7 a.m.; a second round begins at 1 p.m. Organizers have lined up a bevy of prizes for closest-to-the-pin and longest drives. There's even a brand new 2003 Jeep Liberty, courtesy of Chapman Auto Center, for the golfer lucky enough to shoot a hole-in-one on a selected hole. In addition to those prizes, Santa's List has rounded up raffle items, including tickets to an Arizona Diamondbacks game, and a host of other raffle items.
Entry fee is $70 per person, which includes greens fees, cart, refreshments, prizes and lunch or dinner. Registration ends June 6, and forms can be picked up at the Payson Golf Course, or the Payson Roundup, 708 N. Beeline Highway.
For more information, call (928) 472-8827.