Tonto National Forest

The Nature Conservancy

Two workshops are scheduled this month for public comment on draft alternatives for thinning and related work to rehabilitate forested areas of eastern Arizona.

Melissa Sevigny

The U.S. Forest Service has invited the public to comment on a proposed plan to manage visitor access to Fossil Creek. It’s meant to protect the unique ecology of the popular swimming spot.

  State wildlife officials say a man was scratched through his sleeping bag by a bear at a camping area in north-central Arizona.

They say the bear was investigating the man's camp early Wednesday and pawed at the sleeping bag near Cherry Creek in Young, Arizona.

Bear spray was used and the animal retreated.

Arizona Game and Fish Department officials say the man in his 20s was treated at a hospital and released. His name wasn't immediately released.

They believe the bear was small and possibly young.

Tonto National Forest officials have issued a temporary closure at the Pioneer Pass Campground in the Pinal Mountains because of repeated bear sightings.

Forest officials announced Thursday that the area closure order is effective immediately.

They say the purpose of the closure order is to protect visitors, employees and contractors while Arizona Game and Fish workers try to capture a bear that has been hanging around the area.

The closed area includes the Pioneer Pass Recreation Area and all associated parking areas, bathrooms and developed recreation sites.

Melissa Sevigny

A decade ago a dam came down at Fossil Creek, a tiny desert river tucked into the wilderness between Strawberry and Camp Verde. The decommissioning restored water to the creek’s rare travertine pools, but it also created a new problem: a flood of visitors. Now the U.S. Forest Service is working on a plan to save the creek from being loved to death.