Friends of the Tonto National Forest is a 501(c)3 Non-profit Organization

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The Lower Salt River Corridor -- Beyond Trash and Leave No Trace


“Leave No Trace” is a great concept when it comes to litter control, but it is not enough to maintain the health of the heavily used Lower Salt River corridor.  By all means continue litter cleanup efforts, but the river needs us to do more.


Focusing only on leaving things as found, ignores the alien species and noxious weeds that have been steadily invading the corridor. These invaders displace native species and disrupt whole ecosystems.  If left unchecked they will significantly degrade user experience over time.


Friends is looking for volunteers who get this and are willing to help in some of the following areas:


Litter Reduction  (click link for details)

Apple Snails  (click link for details)


Tamarisk (Saltcedar) Removal:

Tamarisk reproduce all year long giving them an unfair advantage over native species.  They grow in dense stands that block all access to long stretches of shoreline. They are prolific and extremely difficult to eradicate once established.

o Contact us to if you would like to volunteer time (involves manual labor) removing tamarisk.


Arundo Donax Removal (Giant Reed):

Giant Reed is a tall bamboo-like reed that can grow 4 inches a day to heights exceeding 15 feet.  Grows in such dense patterns along long stretches of river that wildlife and humans lose all access, including visual access, to the shoreline.  If left unchecked, giant reed could eventually block access to shoreline and beaches along the entire Lower Salt River corridor. Once established, giant reed is extremely difficult to eradicate.

o Contact us if you would like to volunteer time (involves manual labor) removing giant reed.



By end of summer, cocklebur forms a tall bushy plant covered with grape sized seed pods that stick to everything. If left unchecked they spread rapidly and can take over and reduce the number of beaches that boaters have access to.

o The good news is that, early in the summer, cocklebur are shallow rooted and very easy to pull out.  Commit a few minutes of each river trip to remove cocklebur from a beach that has them.  A group of three people can easily clear an entire beach of cocklebur in less than 5 minutes.


Native Species Restoration:

o Volunteer to help with collecting native seed and replanting trees in the Cactus Fire area between Granite Reef and Coons Bluff.

o Volunteer to help restore, water, and protect native cottonwood trees along the river.

o Look for and report natural cottonwood seedlings so others can install a mesh barrier to protect them from browsing wildlife.  Send an email with the subject “LSR Cottonwood” to .    Include as much information in the body as you can to help others locate the seedlings.  GPS coordinates would be very helpful.

o Remove invasive species that are near or in direct competition with native species.


Adopt A River:

Individually or as a group, adopt a beach or small section of shoreline on the Lower Salt. Whether you prefer to address litter or invasive species, make a point of taking a few minutes out of each river trip to leave that beach or section better than you found it.


Help Spread the Word: Talk to others about the need to go beyond Leave No Trace.  Encourage others to volunteer.



Friends of the Tonto National Forest  4022 E. Greenway Road  Suite 11 Box 348  Phoenix, AZ  85032