Fossil Creek in central Arizona to reopen after 16-month closure

Nov 2, 2022, 4:35 AM | Updated: 5:34 am
(Facebook Photo/Coconino National Forest)...
(Facebook Photo/Coconino National Forest)
(Facebook Photo/Coconino National Forest)

PHOENIX — Fossil Creek in central Arizona is reopening to the public after a wildfire forced a closure for nearly a year-and-a-half.

All sites, including the Childs Dispersed Camping Area, will reopen Thursday after impacts from the Backbone Fire shut down the recreation area in June 2021, Coconino National Forest said in a press release.

Dixon Lewis Trail, previously known as the Waterfall Trail, is expected to reopen later in November once repairs have been completed.

Forest officials said the 16-month closure was critical to allow the landscape to recover from monsoonal and fire damage. Repairs were also made to road and infrastructure during the closure.

The lightning-caused Backbone Fire, which sparked 12 miles west of Pine and Strawberry on June 16, 2021, burned more than 40,000 acres.

“This area is special to a great many people and we appreciate the public’s patience while it recovers,” Deputy District Ranger Alex Schlueter said in the release.

“That recovery continues for both Fossil Creek and Sycamore Canyon, but we are excited to welcome visitors back.”

The site is scheduled to be temporarily closed early next year so that resurfacing on Forest Road 708 can be completed.

Due to the risk for flash flooding and debris dams, the recreation site area could also potentially close during the 2023 monsoon season, which runs from June 15 through Sept. 30.

Beginning April 1, permits will be required to visit the Fossil Creek area.

Those interested in purchasing permits for the 2023 season can subscribe to emails from Coconino National Forest or visit the website to stay up to date on the latest permit information.

Recreationists were advised to pick up their trash when at the site, stay on developed recreation areas and follow posted signage indicating that lists restrictions or closures.

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Fossil Creek in central Arizona to reopen after 16-month closure