It would appear that there was enough public outcry that the FS decided that they needed to "clarify" their position. Game & Fish believes that the confusion has been resolved.
The letter from Regional Forester Cal Joyner dated November 26 to Arizona Game and Fish Director Larry Voyles regarding AZGFD's concerns
A release by Coconino National Forest Supervisor Earl Stewart and Kaibab National Forest Supervisor Mike Williams on the Forest Service website dated December 9;
A letter dated December 9 from Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell to Senator John McCain, addressing the senator’s concerns
I can't say that my opinion of the two departments has changed. The FS just got called out on their publication and decided to backtrack.
Forest Service Camping - 72 Hour Rule
|Warning to Arizona hunters camping on the Coconino, Kaibab and |
Prescott National Forests
On August 16, 2013, the Coconino National Forest issued a press release entitled “Parking trailers in forests prohibited during hunting season.” The press release is specific to the Coconino, Kaibab, and Prescott National Forests, and is directed exclusively at hunters and recreationists who leave their trailers and/or motor homes unattended on the forest for more than 72 hours. These sportsmen may be subject to enforcement action, including citations or impoundment of vehicles, trailers and/or motor homes. The release specifically states,
See the whole article from AZ Game & Fish, link above, who are very opposed to this tactic along with the Sheriff's Departments.
You know where this is heading since most of the Forest Service is a 9-5 operation. You leave the trailer prior to daybreak to hunt and don't return until after sundown. Do this 3 days running, the FS comes by about midday for three days and then steals your camp claiming is was abandoned. Notice that they included impoundment of vehicles.
This is actually very anti-hunting. It must really chap their hides that some of the people come out a couple of days before season to grab a decent place to put the RV, return to town and then come back to camp for the hunt season. They are still legal within the 14 day limit. I imagine some candy-a**ed people have complained because they did not get there first. I don't have an RV and I could care less if the people with them do this. I have been known to go a couple of days early with my tent to do just the same. I am surprised that the FS hasn't included tents and vehicles the same way. If you are going to be a thief then you might as well go all the way. This has nothing to do with preservation but everything to do with revenue enhancement and restrictive control.
See the AZ G&F site for the contact information of the various FS employees so that you may vent your displeasure. The FS don't want you out there shooting, hunting or any other multiple use activity. They would love to get rid of the ranchers too. Only tree huggers allowed but you have to form a ring without touching the tree as a bit of bark may become dislodged. Don't step on the grass and quit breathing out that CO2!
Perhaps I am just lucky, but I have yet to meet a Game & Fish Officer who was anything but polite. Most have been willing to talk about good places to hunt or what the fish are hitting on. I am not new to this as I have been hunting, hiking, camping, four wheeling and backpacking for almost 50 years (yes, I am getting kind of old) and have met dozens of G&F Officers
On the other hand I am probably unlucky in that I have yet to meet a FS employee who wasn't an unfriendly bureaucrat with inflated opinions of their importance. I am biased by my experiences and think that the FS has become run by a bunch of tree hugging, anti-ranching, anti-hunting, anti-camping college grads with inflated opinions of themselves and their mission to keep the unwashed masses out of "their" forests. Feel free to disagree.