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Full Version: West of Flagstaff boondocking, A-1 to be logged???
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I just left the Flagstaff area after a little more than a week trying out a couple of places. A-1 Mountain, of course, after all I've read about it. I would say at least half the trees are now marked with orange slashes. I am reasonably certain this means they are about to be logged... someone please correct me if I'm wrong. Don't know if it for pine bark beetle or they are simply bringing in the logging companies. If I'm right, say goodbye to much of the shade that is available now. Seriously it looks like more than half of the trees are marked... all the orange looks like twisted Halloween decorations.

The second place I tried a few nights is the Old Naval Observatory Road. It is noisy from being more near the Interstate and is in general much more crowded together because as people come later in the evening, they simply park where they can... meaning much too close in many circumstances. Still better than a Walmart parking lot I suppose since there is shade available if you get there early enough. And the cell reception is much better there in general.

Also, since I recently had to have my van's ball joints replaced, the Naval Observatory area has the benefit of a paved road right up to the camping area (though you can travel some rutted dirt to get much farther back from the road if you wish.

AND, on that road...near the Route 66 turn off to the Observatory... they have logged a deep area. Several trailers with full log loads wait each morning to be picked up. There are maybe one in every 10 or 15 trees left standing from what I observed during my several passes by (just eyeing stumps versus standing trees).

Anyone know the whole scoop about logging or not on A-1? My guess is that once they are working to bring down the trees, the area they are logging will be off limits for camping until they are finished.

I have to say I was not overly thrilled with Flagstaff anyway. I go in almost every day for a real meal since I don't cooking per se in my van. I had found Show Low and its southern neighbor towns of Pinetop-Lakeside to be MUCH more welcoming and friendly. And with many fewer rude drivers than Flagstaff. The camping spots in the Show Low area were not nearly as pretty though...but I think there were some areas I did not find while there. Show Low had been under a level 3 fire alert (normally they close the forest but the LEOs I met were not being sticklers and let me stay with no hassle at all on sites that were connected to the gravel roads.
So the whole Coconino National Forest is a mess because earlier waves of "forest management" (eg, logging) left the place so crowded with spindly young trees that they are unhealthy and susceptible to disease. There is an interpretive display over by the eastern entrance to Grand Canyon that explains what's going on in the forest. According to that, they've figured out via test forest plots that the original natural "park like" format, with lots of space between the trees like you see in many places on the Mogollon Rim, are much healthier and of course more fire resistant than the over-crowded plantations you see around Flagstaff. So hey, invite the loggers back, but this time with a plan! Maybe.

Do you already have your Motor Vehicle Use Map that shows all the dispersed camping sites? The visitor center in town has them, as well as the ranger station. I'm glad to hear they haven't shut down forest camping completely.

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Thanks for the added info Moxadox! I never made it to the ranger station since I realized I'd want to head north sooner than later. I like cool days. I did finally see the big station as I left town on hwy 89 today (but did not stop). I will need to get a use map for each of the forests eventually (when nights get too cold further north).

I could tell in Coconino that the trees had been planted because of the straight rows of them. Thought it was maybe a reforestation effort after logging decades ago. Yep, down in Show Low area, the trees are definitely fewer.. thus few places to camp with any real shade.. and you need it sooner there. The possible shut down was only in the Show Low area as far as I know. There was a ban on ANY outdoor smoking, for example. You were not allowed to smoke in a parking lot. No running of chainsaws or any device that could spark. Stores pulled charcoal from their shelves as advised. Wildfire crews were stationed in several places around town. Folks were very nervous. Evidently the Flagstaff area has seen more rain than to the south.
Whew. I think after last year's terrible fire season, and with the Happy Jack fire starting in April, and hardly any wonder it's feeling a bit nervous. I'm on the Front Range in CO now and the sky is hazy with the smoke of several fires in the San Juan, where I camped a couple months ago. North of me there's another fire on the Wyoming line. I'm hoping those monsoon rains materialize! Stay safe.

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