We are working with the Coconino National Forest and local stakeholders to protect the riparian environment of Fossil Creek, Arizona, while preserving opportunities for packrafting on this unique watercourse. We fully appreciate the extreme challenges Forest planners face in managing recreational use in Fossil Creek, and commend them on generating a Draft Comprehensive River Management Plan with five reasonable and simple alternatives, and sharing them with the public in an open, simple, and organized way. We appreciate the diligent care the USFS has taken to protect this unique and sensitive place, both in the past and in the CRMP alternatives, while delineating sustainable carrying capacities for the area’s growing recreational interests.
For APA and its members, Fossil Creek is of paramount importance as a venue for packrafting in the southwestern U.S. because of its uniquely magnificent geology and hydrology, and its rareness as a perennial navigable stream in an otherwise vast dry desert. For packrafters, whose inspiration for outdoor endeavors is born in a desire to ephemerally experience unique and magnificent landscapes like Fossil Creek by paddling or hiking, we not only advocate for the conservation of waterways and the privilege to paddle them, we also care equally about preserving wildness and biodiversity in the landscape through which rivers and trails run. The APA Board and staff have therefore collaborated extensively with local and regional paddlers and hikers, and American Whitewater, to carefully craft comments on the Draft CRMP.
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