The Riparian Photopoint Program has a 32 year history! The first Riparian Specialist hired by the Tonto National Forest knew the value of repeat photography for documenting resource conditions. He initiated a riparian photopoint program in 1988. He found important reaches of streamside vegetation and took clear photographs of the vegetation and streambanks. Since then, Forest Service employees or volunteers take photographs at the same exact sites each year.
The Forest, and ecologists who do research on the Tonto, depend upon information these photos provide. The photographs clearly show impacts by livestock, improvement in conditions through livestock management, wildlife impacts, and results of flooding, fire and drought. As a result, the information that these photographs provide is used for natural resource management decisions. While data is important, it’s true that nothing tells a story like a good photograph.
The Riparian Photopoint Program grew under succeeding riparian specialists to over 800 sites photographed by an outstanding group of volunteers. These dedicated volunteers enjoy regular visits to their stream sites.
Why do the Riparian Photopoint Project?
You can help!
Friends of the Tonto National Forest is now managing the program. We have same attention to quality that riparian specialists and long-time volunteers on the Forest had. Under Friends of the Tonto’s management, the photopoint map and associated photos are now available to the public.
Photopoint season is from the beginning of April until the end of May. You use your camera or your smart phone. Additionally, you use your GPS or a smart phone app that gives GPS coordinates. You can drive to many sites without a four-wheel drive vehicle (although you do need it for some sites). Here’s your opportunity whether you like to get out, or you need a good excuse to get out!
We have all kinds of sites available. We will help you select a site suited to your vehicle and hiking abilities. Come out and enjoy the Forest doing this fun activity!