Our Mission

Friends of the Tonto National Forest is a group of volunteers who assist the Forest in its critical mission of natural and cultural resource and visitor use management. We promote public understanding of the Tonto National Forest’s policies, programs and projects.

Tonto National Forest Partial Closure

Effective June 25, 2021, and lasting through July 31, 2021, unless rescinded prior to that date, the Tonto National Forest has issued a partial closure order. See the official order and maps, or go to the Tonto’s facebook page for the closure and any updates. Basically, the entire Forest is closed except for developed recreation sites at Bartlett, Saguaro, Canyon, Apache and Roosevelt Lakes, and the Lower Salt River between the Bush Highway and the Beeline Highway. The Tonto’s partial closure follows on the heels of full Forest closures of the Coconino, Kaibab, and Apache-Sitgreaves National Forests and a partial closure of the Prescott National Forest.

Help with Friends’ projects!

Friends of the Tonto activities and projects had slowed down, due to extreme heat, but there are two projects you can still do.

You can water milkweed seedlings at Phon D Sutton Recreation Site on the Lower Salt River. Sign up to water here!

You can grow milkweed seedlings to be planted in November. Grow-kits with instructions will be handed out in the next few weeks. You plant native desert milkweed seeds in biodegradable. All materials will be included in each kit. By November, the plants have grown for 4 to 4 ½ months and are sturdy enough to plant on the Forest. After planting we will water these new seedlings for their first year, so they successfully establish. Last year’s effort has gone very well. Nearly all of the 100 seedlings surviving and put on abundant growth. Some seedlings even produced flowers and fruit in their first year, and at least one butterfly larva! Send Patti Fenner an e-mail to sign up for this project that you can do at home: pfenner@friendsofthetonto.org

Friends helping our friends from Arizona Wild to restore Arnett Creek

Take a look at this excellent story map documenting Arnett Creek restoration!

AVAILABLE now! Butterfly and Wildflower Field ID Book

“Wildflowers, Butterflies and More” by local author Marianne Skov Jensen.

The author donated a limited number of this beautiful and informative field guide to Friends of the Tonto. 

Marianne Jensen moved to Arizona in 1995. She was struck by the diversity and beauty of the Sonoran desert.  Seeing the need for a small-sized field guide to local flora, she embarked on creating a new guide.  This little book contains hundreds of photos of flowers that can be found in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve. The flower photos are paired with photos of butterflies that frequent them.  

Proceeds from sales of her book will go toward the Friends of the Tonto’s Milkweed for Monarchs program. The program focuses on monarch butterfly habitat restoration and monitoring, and public education about this remarkable animal.

Cost:  $20 + shipping and handling

Meet Erin Bradham, Board member

Erin Bradham

Erin Bradham fell in love with the desert after moving to Arizona from the East Coast 15 years ago. Since joining Friends of the Tonto National Forest, she has enjoyed learning about the Hohokam through Friend’s archaeological projects and can often be found with a pick axe helping to remove invasive plants for Friend’s Save Our Saguaros habitat restoration projects. When not spending time on the Tonto, Erin is a partner at Dentons US LLP, where she practices commercial litigation.

Get to know others who serve on the Friends’ Board

Upcoming Events

Volunteer on the Tonto National Forest

Become a Member

The best way to support Friends of the Tonto National Forest is to become a member.


Learn more about all the ways you can donate to Friends of the Tonto National Forest!