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.

Superstition Mountains Project

What non-native plants will I see now?

October was a busy month! We started with 4 volunteers for our first event but the second was well attended with 13 volunteers.  This past week a small crew from Arizona Conservation Corp(AZCC) removed fountain grass from the upper portions of the Massacre wash. This is a 2 mile hike from the TH and rugged terrain, but they cleared about 1200 ft of the wash.

On November 1 we finalized the contract details with the Department of Forestry and Fire Management (DFFM) for the grant awarded to Friends of the Tonto.  The primary focus of this grant is stinknet which will start emerging soon. You’ll have more opportunities to volunteer coming soon.

First, to participate in any Superstition Mountains event, sign a Superstition Mountains Liability Waiver form. The liability waiver is valid for the season.  Second, it is important that you become familiar with the safety requirements which can be seen here Safety Analysis.

Removal Events

Events are planned for every 2nd and 4th Saturday from October through April. The next regular scheduled project removal event is Saturday Nov 13.  We will meet at the Massacre Grounds/Jacobs Crosscut TH at 8:00 AM and remove fountain grass from the Massacre wash, where we have previously worked.

You can easily complete the required registration for the removal events at Removal Event Registration. We meet at different times and locations as shown in the event registration form. Additional dates will be added to the registration form as soon as the locations are determined.

Mapping and Monitoring

Mapping and monitoring is a great way to get outside and explore on your own schedule.  With the addition of the Superstition Fire Burn Area, we are asking for more volunteers to participate in this ongoing activity.  We’ll use ArcGIS Field Maps which is a free app for your smart device.  There are 4 species of non-native plants we’ll be monitoring — fountain grass, buffelgrass, stinknet and Sahara mustard. Depending on the time of year, they are quite easy to learn to recognize.  Since the plants are seasonal, there will be an opportunity and need to cover the same territory multiple times. 

Additional Training sessions will be scheduled soon!

Be ready for training: Bring your smart device with ArcGIS Field Maps and a Map Area already downloaded. You can view YouTube videos showing how to download ArcGIS Field Maps and the NNP Survey with Burn Area map. Email don@friendsofthetonto.org for the map password and to let him know that you plan to attend.

We look forward to seeing you in the fantastic Superstition Mountains.

Fountain Grass Brochure – download and share!

Help water the milkweed

You can water milkweed seedlings at Phon D Sutton Recreation Site on the Lower Salt River and you can water milkweed seedling at the Wildcat Trailhead/Staging Area on the Cave Creek Ranger District. Sign up to water here!


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 Eric Yamane, Friends’ Board Member

Friends of the Tonto National Forest

Eric Yamane

Eric moved to Mesa, AZ in 1996. He is a volunteer Wilderness Steward for the Mesa Ranger District in the Tonto. Eric has been a member of Friends of the Tonto National Forest since 2016 and a Board member since 2017.

Eric has worked for Boeing for 29 years. He coordinates Adopt-A-Site cleanups for the Boeing EcoLogicals at the Canyon Lake Boulder and Acacia Sites. Eric also coordinates Adopt-A-Site cleanups for the Asian-Pacific Lions at Rattlesnake Cove on Bartlett Lake.

Get to know others who serve on the Friends’ Board

Upcoming Events


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