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The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

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11/23/2012 8:19:00 AM
How can I reach the River?
52 new signs will lead to Verde Valley recreational sites
Betsy Hilgendorf with the Prescott National Forest shows off one of the signs symbolizing river access that will be going up around the valley. In addition there will be signs for horseback trails, hiking trails, ATV trails, picnicking and fishing, plus mile signs and directional signs. VVN/Steve Ayers
Betsy Hilgendorf with the Prescott National Forest shows off one of the signs symbolizing river access that will be going up around the valley. In addition there will be signs for horseback trails, hiking trails, ATV trails, picnicking and fishing, plus mile signs and directional signs. VVN/Steve Ayers
Clarkdale Mayor Doug Von Gausig used grant money from the Walton Foundation to supplement contributions from the Forest Service to begin placing signs showing the way to access points along the river. VVN/Steve Ayers
Clarkdale Mayor Doug Von Gausig used grant money from the Walton Foundation to supplement contributions from the Forest Service to begin placing signs showing the way to access points along the river. VVN/Steve Ayers

Steve Ayers
Staff Reporter


CAMP VERDE - A study released just over a year ago noted that the Verde River was an underappreciated and underutilized economic asset to the valley.

The same study concluded that if the river's potential revenue stream was to be tapped, more people needed to be aware of it. And the best way to be aware of it was to go see it.

But, the study concluded, few knew how to find the river. The notion seems silly, but with the exception of the more prominent crossings the riverbank can be difficult to find.

A year or so before the Verde River Economic Development Study went public, Prescott National Forest officials were working on a recreation plan.

At public meetings they were told time and again that what the Verde valley needed most were more signs, for residents and visitors alike, leading the way to already existing recreation sites.

Over the last year the PNF and the river advocates have been working together on the problem.

The first signs went up in Clarkdale this month, thanks to the community's active participation in the project and the infusion of about $2,000 toward the signs.

The other 52 signs will be going up around the valley this winter and probably into next spring, according to Ann May, forest landscape architect for the PNF.

"It's a combination of signs that will be placed along ADOT and county roads. ADOT only allows us to put up a symbol, say for picnicking or kayaking or fishing. There will be a number of those signs along [State Route] 260.

"But before we can put those signs up we have to install signs on the roads once you turn off the highway, onto a county road, telling you where you are going," said May.

Some of the lesser-known river access points that will soon be marked are Bignotti Beach, Black Canyon, Skidmore, Prairie Lane, Sheeps Crossing, Beasley Flats and Clear Creek Day Use area.

There will also be signs directing travelers to the Copper Canyon Trailhead, Hayfield Draw OHV park, White Bridge, Gap Creek, wilderness areas and other valley treasures.

Clarkdale Mayor Doug Von Gausig, who has been at the forefront of the effort to direct residents and visitors to river access points, said he is excited about the possibilities the new signs will offer.

"We started looking around a few years ago and noticing we had all these access points but no one knew where they were," said Von Gausig. "They are official Forest Service access points, paid for by state grants, and some were impossible to find.

"So we got a grant from the Walton Foundation and used a portion of the money to buy some of the signs the Forest Service is putting up, along with the ones in Clarkdale. I think it's pretty cool. Hopefully, now that they can find their way, more people will go down to enjoy the river."


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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2012
Article comment by: Jan Allbright

re: Dan McLaughlin

The Verde River is not, nor has it ever been, "navigable."

See the article by Steve Ayers, 4/2/2008
State commission declares Verde River 'non-navigable'

http://verdenews.com/main.asp?Search=1&ArticleID=25724&SectionID=1&SubSectionID=1&S=1


Posted: Sunday, November 25, 2012
Article comment by: river lover

re: Verde River Native

I don't know how educated you are about the
laws governing rivers but I do know you cant
put a fence across a river. It is not only
illegal, it is dangerous and it catches high
water debris. You can't own a river, it is a
public resource for everyones enjoyment.


Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2012
Article comment by: Verde River Native

@ Dan :
You are wrong, the Verde is a non-navigable stream as declared by the Arizona Navigable Stream Adjudication Commission - Verde River (Yavapai County) 04-009-NAV March 29, 2005 http://www.ansac.az.gov/UserFiles/File/pdf/finalreports/Verde%20River.pdf

Let me reiterate:
IT IS PERFECTLY LEGAL TO DENY YOU ACCESS, WHETHER IF YOU ARE FLOATING OR NOT, FROM PRIVATE PROPERTY ON THE VERDE RIVER.
So get a map, learn to read the map, quit being lazy, and go to a legal place to float your boat.
Folks, this is why you need to fence your land on the river, even across the river, guys like Dan think they can do whatever they want, and they're right all the time, no matter what.


Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2012
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Reminds me of my Vermont property.I own
both side of a creek and allowed trout fishing
to folks that respected the land and water.One
day a local trouble maker decided he had a right to walk in the stream and fish,
I told him to move on as I owned the property.
He refused and stated,God owns the water and
I'll fish here anytime I wish.I reminded him that
when he could walk on the water he was welcome.But I own the land under the water so
move on.I never saw him again.


Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2012
Article comment by: Navigable Or Not?

Just because magazine ads say it is navigable, officially, does not make it so. This issue is of great interest to me. Where can I find the official word on the River's classification?
I disagree with advertising the River. It WILL become another Fossil Creek and for what? A few bucks? Look at the trash cleanups we have had to stage. Wisely use the river. Don't exploit it for cash gains.


Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2012
Article comment by: Dan McLaughlin

P.S. Verde River Native
The verde River is most definitely considered a navigable river and is advertised as so in almost every magazine advertisement promoting Arizona and AZ tourisim, what is not legal is private landowners altering the riverbed or denying boaters access. The river can legally be used by everyone along the entire stretch of the river all the way to the high water lines on either side of the river.


Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2012
Article comment by: Dan McLaughlin

re: Verde River Native,

I do not know how long its been since you visited your river but I beg to differ with you about access points between Sycamore and Tuzigoot. You can access the river at the bridge leading to Tuzigoot. If you turn left at the bridge and drive towards Sycamore you will find the only other non-trespassing place is Duffs mesa, and you almost have to be a mountain goat to get down that trail. After that there is no more access points that can be driven too and cliffs on both sides, make access only possible with climbing gear. There aren't any access points north of the Tuzigoot bridge that isn't considered trespassing by the Freeport McMoran mining company or private landowners or leasers along the river. Believe me when I say I have trespassed and explored every possible avenue and access point and if it isnt already fenced off there are signs everywhere stating no trespassing and no river access, believe me I have tried.



Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2012
Article comment by: Kenny mollohan

Where can we get a map with the access points?

Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2012
Article comment by: Symbols good

I like the symbols because they're subtle.

Need to be careful with signage. Too much or overstating the attraction with signage can result in overwhelming the resource with overcrowding, parking issues, trampling vegetation, garbage, and all the other impacts that come with loving a place to death.

Check out Fossil Creek to see what I mean.

That's a real risk here. Let's hope this works out OK.


Posted: Saturday, November 24, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Babbitt

Walton Foundation money is blood money.

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012
Article comment by: Verde River Native

There are dozens of places between Sycamore and Tuzigoot to get to the river, get a map and educate yourself. Less than 1% of the land on the Verde River is private property, don't get lazy and try and trespass on others property in town, go to the thousands of access points on public lands. Also, boaters need to remember that the Verde River is non-navigable and thus when you float through private land you are trespassing. I think more private property owners should fence their private lands in the river bottom, even across the river, then all these folks who think they have rights to everything and everywhere can really see all the private land they are recreating on, or should I say trespassing on.

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012
Article comment by: Slater Slater

Everyone should have access to the river.The
problem arises what people do, once they get to the river.
Everyone should have access to the forests and
once did.
If theres a way to trash our rights they will do it
and then raise cane when it's done.Quit trashing the earth and no reason will arise that
would restrict your rights.(That is if Uncle Sam
doesn't find a resource they need)


Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012
Article comment by: River Lover

I grew up on the Verde River with reverence and appreciation. How about a website with an interactive map and even some printed maps available around town. This resource could be a huge draw to the tourism (read $$$) if it was shared effectively with the kayakers, SUPs and other responsible river user groups! Great job on the foresight and taking steps in the right direction.

Posted: Friday, November 23, 2012
Article comment by: Dan McLaughlin

Legally there should be more access points to the river than there are. From Sycamore canyon to Tuzigut there is only one place you can reach the river without being told you are tresspassing, and that is not adequate river access.


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