Forest Service May Impound Unattended Trailers

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Over the objections of the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the Forest Service has warned that no one can park trailers in the forest during hunting season unattended for more than 72 hours.

Trailers left unattended for more than 72 hours may be removed and owners cited.

Game and Fish protested this “unprecedented application of state and federal law to hunters who have absolutely no intent of abandoning their property.”

Normally, the Forest Service enforces a stay limit of 14 days on national forest lands.

A release from Game and Fish said the department has met repeatedly with staff from the affected national forests to repeal this enforcement approach, with no success.

“The commission feels strongly that public lands belong to the public, who clearly enjoy using those lands,” said Chairman J.W. Harris. “A 72-hour rule imposes unacceptable and artificial restrictions on sportsmen and recreational users of the Coconino, Kaibab and Prescott national forests.”

The commission and local sheriff’s offices hope to develop a notification placard that visitors to Arizona’s national forests can affix to their property. The purpose of the placard is to provide notice that the owner or occupant of any property left temporarily unattended on the national forest has not abandoned the property. The placard lists the dates the property will be on the forest, states that the owner has not abandoned the property during any period of absence during those dates, and establishes that the length of stay on the forest will not exceed 14 days.

Providing such notice may deter Forest Service personnel from impounding the property. Backers hope that will prevent impoundment or a citation, but can offer no guarantees.

Address questions on this matter to Brady Smith, Coconino Forest public affairs officer, (928) 527-3490; Dean Jones, Coconino Forest deputy public affairs officer, (928) 527-3643; Brienne Magee, Flagstaff Ranger District public affairs officer, (928) 527-8290.

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