View Full Version : Regarding Florence Junction

03-14-2007, 05:43 PM
Didn't see this posted anywhere and just saw it in my land use inbox (arrived 3-8-07)

To MGCP interests:

The Bureau of Land Management Tucson Field Office recently announced its intention to prepare a comprehensive transportation plan for public lands administered by the BLM in the vicinity of the Town of Florence. The transportation plan will identify the roads and trails needed to accommodate access to public lands for administrative purposes and public use, and any use restrictions necessary to protect resources or prevent conflicts among users.

MGCP interested parties are asked to identify access needs and concerns related to their authorized uses and activities, and are invited to participate in the transportation planning process.

The BLM has engaged the services of the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution to facilitate public input for the transportation plan. The Institute will be hosting a series of four public workshops to assist the Bureau of Land Management in developing the transportation plan. The dates are set for

1) March 15th 1:00PM-7:00PM
2) April 7th 9:00AM-5:00PM
3) April 17th 5:00PM-9:00PM
4) April 19th 4:00PM-8:00PM

These meeting will be held at the Casa Grande Parks and Recreation Center,

404 E Florence Blvd Casa Grande, AZ 85222. For more information about the workshops and the transportation planning process, please visit the project website at www.gila.ecr.gov.

If you are interested in participating in this project please contact Kim Caringer of the Institute at (520) 901-8534 (caringer@ecr.gov), or Francisco Mendoza of the BLM Tucson Field Office at (520) 258-7226 (Francisco_Mendoza@blm.gov)..

Francisco Mendoza

Tom Jacobson
03-15-2007, 08:02 AM
Is the thread started last week (before the site hiccup, anyway) about "What to do now" being restored?

Curious if anyone has personally talked to Sandee since that flare-up last week and her resignation? Something must have really changed within the few weeks between the 2 FJ route planning sessions held recently. At least then, there was a lot of hope in the room, and discussions centered around the "process" for establishing the FJ future usage plans.

Then her posts last week, she sounded defeated...which was obviously not the Sandee we all know...stating WE LOST FJ. That basically everything was done and gone. Huh???

Before these new meetings, would be good to know a bit more of the background behind what happened. What happened to the "processes" we spoke of before? HOW is BLM closing these trails? Weren't there rules?

Anyways...I can not attend anything today (3/15). The 4/7 meeting (a Saturday) is defintely possible.


03-15-2007, 08:16 AM
All I know is that Sandee appears to be quite serious this time... and I can't blame her and fully support her.
All the work she's done over the years, and with little or no real support from the community, has worn her down. Then having to deal with politicos that are getting a LOT of "stuff" from the opposition, and letting that sway their thought process.
She deserves retirement. Too bad much of it will be stuck on pavement as without her or someone to truly replace her, that's all we'll be able to drive our hybrids and bicycles on.
So, who wants to step up? I have a family to feed, and not even half the knowledge of these things that she does, so I can't even consider myself qualified, much less able.

I know that Jim Florence has been doing a lot, but he, too has a life to support. There are many others, but who really has the ability and motivation to be as dedicated as Sandee has been?

03-16-2007, 09:23 AM
I too cannot thank Sandee enough for everything she has done in keeping lands open. All I can say is it is time to get off our rumps and get involved!!!!! Yes it is long, but has some information I need people to give me feed back on so please read it if you are at all concerned about the FJ area.

As for the meeting yesterday, it did not go too bad. All parties agreed on pretty much so the top 8 issues that will be the topics of discussion on the next meeting. I will post up the issues here very soon, these will be what everyone wants to focus on for the April 7th Meeting.

No surprise, two of the top ones are:
1) Martinez Canyon
2) Cottonwood Canyon (Lower and Upper Woodpecker)
These were two more I could remember off the top of my head this morning:
3) Mineral Mountain Township
4) Gila River

I will say this most everyone there is pretty well focused and is going to bring it to the next meeting with the intent of swaying the BLM opinion and those in the room to agree on each issue. Anything that cannot be agreed upon will go to the BLM for review of the content submitted by all for a decision.

I will say this, it was repeated several times for all to hear, that no decisions have been made. This brought up two concerns, first if that is true then no routes current designations should have been changed, yet the Lower Woodpecker and the entrance to upper were changed to reflect closed on the new Map 4 we are using as a starting point. In addition it was brought up that if the Green and Orange are still up for discussion and not decision is made, what was all the work the MGCP did for? Shouldn't we have been able to take it that it was agreed upon and only concern ourselves with the Blue lines, the ones that had not been agreed upon? I guess since the Woodpeckers are not correctly identified on the map the second issue probably is helping us so we can get the discussion open again.

I did talk to several people and mentioned that an every changing map that is not done and agreed upon in the open forum does tend to lend itself to people not trusting it or the process and that all future alterations should be brought to the group prior to changes being made.

One thing that was very clear last night is we are not going to be able to undertake reviewing all the trails that are shown in blue, there are way too many. So if you have a favorite trail you might want to ge involved so you can submit your comments about why is should stay open to motorized use, anything we don't get to in the meetings will have the comments submitted and the BLM will be making the prelimanary decision for the presentation of the public comment period.

A couple of other things brought up around the room were setting aside areas for staging, maintaining all current points of entry, the possibility of selecting an open area for cross country travel, reducing the number of trails will have a larger affect on the ones that are left open and everyone agreed that the wilderness area be left as is.

I would ask others to chime in, and there were a couple other OHV people there, but I think I was the only AZVJC person there, am I the only person here that cares for the FJ area? Are we saying that not 1 other person could make the time? I think it is pretty sad that with this many members we cannot get at least 5 people to the table to help this effort. Before anyone makes any excuses, I took off the portion of the day from work (I am a contractor, no PTO, no Sick time, no work no pay), I missed eating dinner with my family and putting my kids to bed. It is going to take sacrifice from us to make a difference. If I sound frustrated, you bet!!!!!!!!! I am sure this is how Sandee felt all those years, and even more magnified by the fact that she was doing it for years, so it is time to get off your rumps and get to the meetings!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

1) Martinez Canyon - Riparian area, cultural site, protection of the structures. These were the reasons to close this trail to OHV use. There has been discussion about mitigation to re-direct the flow or create a way for the OHV to cross the stream. However the readings from a biologist said the water did not support fish life, and to that comment I was told the biologist used did not know anything. As for protection of the structures and the cultural the mitigation discussed thus far is a gate. I know this is not a very popular idea for some, but right now it may be our only option. However I am pushing that if the gate is installed, that a two year study be done to show the affects of using the gate and want it documented so that two months after it is installed we don't have them use it to lock it off and close it right away, this will give it some time to collect some good data on the affects of the gate on keeping the yahoos out. I heard from a few last night that this one is pretty well determined to be closed to OHV, my response is that with the damage that anti-OHV people did in painting the walls of the cabin, using parts of the cabin to make signs in an attempt to keep OHV out that they are doing as much if not more damage than OHV and if it is closed to OHV then it should be closed to everyone.

2) Cottonwood Canyon (Lower and Upper Woodpecker) - Cultural site with the petroglyphs, riparian area (it was funny last night how everything that had an issue had a riparian area in it). It was claimed that the Upper Woodpecker area had some paint scratchings from vehicles on the petroglyphs, and that a bypass had been made already. The Anti-OHV in the small groups I was in was pushing for the bypass to become the trail to protect the petroglyphs. I did not agree to this yet and want to go out and see this for myself to see if there is any other way, or does anyone feel that is acceptable mitigation in order to keep this trail? As for lower, it was discussed that strategically placed signs would educate people and keep them away from driving over petroglyphs. Anyone have any other ideas>

3) Mineral Mountain Township - Our group did not have alot of discussion on this, it seemed the biggest problem was not Box Canyon itself, but the wildcat trails that have sprung up in this area.

4) Gila River - Game and Fish want to look into limiting access, and are looking at including boats in the motorized access for the times of year when there is water in this river bed. They also were concerned about when the river bed is dry, or almost dry people driving down it through the ponds created. They also did not see where this was a route that was needed for OHV. I brought up that some people would rather travel over sand or small rocks than over boulders. The other concern is driving through the muddy water as they travel the river bed. I pushed to keep it open at this time, so it was listed as a blue line, an area we could not agree on.

03-16-2007, 09:59 AM
Chis I cant tell you how much this is appreciated by those of us far away, your input is right on track. I think giving into a bypass around petroglyph's is a good move, shows flexibility on OHV's part and our interest is saving historical areas.

03-16-2007, 12:04 PM
Thanks for the report Chris.

03-16-2007, 01:09 PM
Thanks, Chris.

Regarding the Lower/Upper Woodpecker points.

I know of NO petroglyphs being "driven over". The only petroglyphs I'm aware of are those high up on the walls which are in no danger due to OHV. I've never seen any petroglyphs at the entrance to Upper Wood, but then I've never looked that hard. I have seen the rock where winshields sometimes scrape and I've never noticed any there.

I am leading a CJ run through Lower/Upper Woodpecker on 3/31 and will make a point of inspecting the rocks/taking pictures and let you know what I find/don't find.

If closing that short 'gatekeeper' section at the start of Upper Woodpecker will keep the rest of the trail open, I have no problem with that at all, but we shouldn't concede it yet until we know for sure if there is an issue.

I also plan to try and make one of the weekend meetings coming up.

03-16-2007, 01:38 PM
Thanks, Chris.

Regarding the Lower/Upper Woodpecker points.

I know of NO petroglyphs being "driven over". The only petroglyphs I'm aware of are those high up on the walls which are in no danger due to OHV. I've never seen any petroglyphs at the entrance to Upper Wood, but then I've never looked that hard. I have seen the rock where winshields sometimes scrape and I've never noticed any there.

I am leading a CJ run through Lower/Upper Woodpecker on 3/31 and will make a point of inspecting the rocks/taking pictures and let you know what I find/don't find.

If closing that short 'gatekeeper' section at the start of Upper Woodpecker will keep the rest of the trail open, I have no problem with that at all, but we shouldn't concede it yet until we know for sure if there is an issue.

I also plan to try and make one of the weekend meetings coming up.

From a conservative wheeler any where within 5' or the same rock of a petroglyph is too close

03-16-2007, 01:51 PM
The petroglyphs at Lower Woodpecker are a good 10-15 feet above the floor of the wash. I've yet to see any that are driven over but it's possible I've never noticed them before. If there are any on the wash floors, I'd suspect the floods would have caused them to disappear (rocks grinding on rocks) long before vehicles ever showed up out there.

In any case, I'll be looking when we run the trail in 2 weeks.

03-16-2007, 02:31 PM
I have not seen, nor really looked for the petroglyphs near Windshield Rock but last time we ran that trail I remember one of the guys pointing one out but I was too busy trying to squeeze through that obstacle. It is not in danger of OHV use though.

03-16-2007, 03:05 PM
There is a couple of pieces of rock on Lower that we do in fact come very close to and at times some have driven over. We are trying to mitigate those factors as Chris stated and either plan the route around them or to maybe even move them so that they are out of harms way.

As for Upper there are indeed some petroglyphs that windshields and cages come very very close to. During Chris and my discussion this morning about yesterday's meeting I will also be inclined to lean towards making the bypass the actual entrance to that trail. We are trying to keep Cottonwood Canyon as open as possible as we know they are very popular area's for most of you.

These are easy things that we can accomplish to hopefully keep these two trails open. There will be a lot more conversation on them when Chris and I attend the next MGCP meeting on April 7th. Believe me when I say we have 8 major area's to discuss that day and it will take us all 8 hours of the meeting to work thru these. This entire partnership is in effect of trying to bring all usage groups together in a more private environment to "Hopefully" come to a lot of comprise on the entire area. Chris made a lot of headway on that yesterday and was also able to dispell a lot of untruths in regards to OHV usage in those area's in question. People I can't say enough that there WILL have to be some compromise on area's in FJ with this LAMP that is being discussed right now. However know that Chris and I among others will be fighting for our rights to recreate RESPONSIBLY in that area for many years to come.

03-16-2007, 03:21 PM

Any information you can gather that day would be great. If you can find a petroglyph near the scrapes and take a picture to show the proximity or lack of proximity that would be very helpful. They made a claim last night that the paint was through the petroglyphs, which I can find no evidence of and have not seen first hand, so if you can get us proof that nothing is actually scraping through or on the petroglyphs themselves that would be fantastic.

I also look forward to seeing you at future meetings.

Jack quick correction, the next meeting is Saturday April 7th.

Wish I could take all the credit, but it took the 4 OHV people in that room, not to mention alot of support from a few people that were not there, to make the headway.

Sandee McCullen
03-16-2007, 04:03 PM
The OHV Transportation Plan will be done by April 7th and all of the issues mentioned above are part of the plan...... plus many more. i.e.: the use of winch points on some of the extreme trails; retaining the "boundries" of the Wilderness as "no new trails" and "retain existing trails as primitive only". MORE signs at the Wilderness Boundry.
Evidently they are still pushing hard to close Martinez so this must be a priority from us to PROVE "damage is NOT from OHV". The fish survival, or NON survival is NOT a result of OHV. IF this canyon is to be closed it must be closed to EVERYONE since the resource damage they claim is caused by EVERYONE, including Mother Nature. We have a report from an independant biologist and I can get a decision regarding "fish habitat" and/or "riparian" issues that does NOT eliminate OHV. These are the data facts that support our use of trails responsibly.

Re "remaining 5' away from driving by a petroglyph"....... WHY???? Lower Woodpecker has not seen any petroglyph damage from OHV other than ONE that is on the ground within the drive area. The permitted Rock Quarrying certainly did much more damage and boulder/petroglyphs DISAPPEARANCE. "Driving by without touching the wall on or near a petroglyph is not "significant damage" which is what the BLM regs state.

The OHV Transportation Plan asks for the "by-pass" at Upper Woodpecker to be made harder as there is an easier access to the east of the Squeeze Rock and the by-pass.

It asks to be allowed to "MAKE A CHALLENGE COURSE" within the Middle Woodpecker area. There is ONE petroglyph on a large boulder at the exit but other than that we could develop a multi-level play course which will help limit the use within Lower Woodpecker itself.

Anyway................. I'll post the transportation plan when I return from the NOHVCC Conference late next week.

Again................. please listen to what Jack & Chris are saying to you all. "Comments" are not enough. We MUST have bodies at these meetings. You, as an individual, do not need to know the specific trails........ if you have common sense regarding "how" or "what" to mitigate BEFORE CLOSURE is what is needed. Let BLM know you DO CARE and you aren't just blowing hot air.