MARCH 31, 2011

Tonto National Forest outfitter guide survey

PHOENIX – Tonto National Forest recreation planners are conducting  an outfitter-guide needs assessment to determine the public and agency need for commercial recreation activities across the forest.

“The role of commercial outfitters and guides on national forests and grasslands is to provide specialized knowledge, skills, experience and equipment that general visitors might not otherwise possess. Outfitter guides provide opportunities for people of all experience and skill levels to have positive recreation experiences on public lands,” said Delvin Lopez, Public Service Group Leader.

“We are seeking public input on the types of activities and locations, as well as foreseeable recreation trends, to help us determine needs.  Visitors are the eyes and ears of the forest and we want to know what needs we should be addressing.”

The needs assessment includes input from the public, permitted outfitter-guides, outdoor retailers, recreation groups, and forest staff. This feedback will be considered along with national and regional recreation trends, existing outfitting and guiding conditions on the forest, and previous needs assessments.  Then the Forest Service will use make a determination of public and agency need for outfitter-guide activities.

When the needs assessment is complete, the Tonto will begin the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process to update the Forest Plan to accommodate changes to outfitter-guide activities (amount and/or location) as recommended in the needs assessment. 

Comments are due by close of business (4:30 p.m.) Friday, April 29, 2011.

The needs assessment survey can be found on the forest website:  For further information, please contact Greg Schuster, Project Coordinator, at 602-225-5362.