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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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6/8/2013 2:09:00 PM
Bull Pen swimming area closes due to 'hazardous trees'

Coconino National Forest officials have closed a popular swimming area for the summer because of hazardous trees.

The Bull Pen area is located along West Clear Creek about 10 miles east of Camp Verde off Forest Road 215. The closure prohibits all public entry into the area including camping, day use, hiking, and access to West Clear Creek via FR 215.

The area is not likely to reopen until this fall, spokesperson Jacqueline Banks said.

Forest Service officials will write up a risk assessment to help determine which trees should be cut, Banks said. Issues include nesting birds, so the agency will consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about what to do in this sensitive riparian area, she said.

Forest officials started evaluating the problem last winter and spring, and then realized a closure was the only way to ensure public safety, Banks said.

"Forest Service personnel have discovered hanging dead limbs and hazardous trees in areas frequently used by visitors for camping," said Heather Provencio, district ranger for the Red Rock Ranger District.

"We take the safety of the public seriously and the closure will last until the Forest Service can complete a formal risk assessment, mitigate the hazard and deem the area safe for public entry."

Because of the large number of hazardous trees in the area and the flood potential at areas used by visitors for camping near the creek, Forest Service personnel said they will be considering management options that may include designated camping locations and designated parking.

Members of the public who want to provide comments on future management of the area should do so by submitting a comment form via

For more information about the Bull Pen area and closure, contact the Red Rock Ranger Visitor Center at (928) 203-7500.

Violation of the closure is subject to a maximum fine of $5,000 or six months jail time.

--The Daily Courier

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, June 16, 2013
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Fire Hazard perhaps?If nobody's there fires
wont be an issue,excluding lightening.
Just maybe the marijuana grow needs protection.Six of one half a dozen of another.

Posted: Sunday, June 16, 2013
Article comment by: Hazardous Tree

Self-serving public services are an invasive species.

Posted: Sunday, June 16, 2013
Article comment by: Another Government Absurdity

I find this even unbelievable, and sad. This land is ours and the Forest Service is supposed to just oversee, not close areas because of old trees! I don't know how to stop them, the FS, not the rees, but the Service is no longer a service to us people. It is money hungry and that is all this is...a thinly veiled attempt to turn the BullPen area into a pay for use area, or make folks go nearby where the fees already apply.
Yes, trees can be dangerous, but lets get real folks. Most of us who venture into the "wood" know a widow maker when we see it and either try to clear it or we stay clear of it.

Posted: Saturday, June 15, 2013
Article comment by: For some

reason it seems to me that the forest service just wants to end public access to allot of the land. Look back a couple years ago when they came out with the sticker you needed every year to off road. They said they had it to better maintain the off road trails and to hire more people and open more trails. All they have done is stop public access to allot of the land a short time ago we could go on. Yep you can bet the farm their is allot more to closing Bull Pen to us then some dead limbs

Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013
Article comment by: rick toerne

let me understand this. There are trees in a wood that have dead limbs.

unheard of! how has mankind survived this thus far?

The dead limbs may spontaneously fall on swimmers.
Now this is smart thinking. a tree can be easily startled into dropping a limb by a passing fish. imagine the trauma of a passing swimmer. Or the devastation of a misdirected 'splash' ? I just hope the deer in the area know to stay clear. but i'm sure they must have that instinct.

they can't remove the dead limbs because birds may be nesting in them.
to save the birds? from nesting in potentially dangerous limbs? (i know, i know, birds are immune from falling. because they FLY. It's perfect logic. )

on top of it all, it may flood in a flood plane near a creek.
water is a sinister killer. this is why pool fences have been utterly ineffective in curbing drownings.

why can't a club with a few chain saws go in and spend an afternoon cleaning up?

no, instead, we need to close it, do a multi-million dollar 5 year study to determine which branches to cut, (in which time the area may actually deteriorate), then spend another five million building access gates, a parking lot, et cetera . . .

heaven forbid it be natural when people go to visit nature.

Posted: Monday, June 10, 2013
Article comment by: charley fountain

really! $5000 or six months in jail for going into a closed area and you only get a $75 fine for having a illegal camp fire. that makes cents, i mean sense.

Posted: Sunday, June 9, 2013
Article comment by: larry smith

what did we do before we had the goverment to protect us from the dangerous woods. just cut the the limbs down and be done with it!! we dont need a half a million dollar study done. come on!!!

Posted: Sunday, June 9, 2013
Article comment by: This land is your land, this land is my land...

Or at least it used to be. When camping, there are risks. People have camped on that land for 100's of years, and now we can't because of 'hazardous trees'???? Another example of the government protecting us from ourselves. Just another way to close off the land from the people it belongs to.

Posted: Saturday, June 8, 2013
Article comment by: Mav Rick

Oh Boy! Our tax dollars at work........Again. G
Charge a fee and I'll bet it gets opened up.

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