This project has a history of 32 years — the first Riparian Specialist hired by the Tonto National Forest knew the value of repeat photography in documenting resource conditions.  He had the foresight to initiate a riparian photopoint program in 1988 — finding important reaches of streamside vegetation and taking clear photographs of the vegetation and streambanks, annually if possible, at the same exact sites each year.  The Forest, and ecologists who do research on the Tonto have come to depend upon information these photos provide — impacts by livestock, or improvement in conditions through livestock management, wildlife impacts, results of flooding, fire and drought.  These photos provide documentation of resource conditions, which is used for natural resource management decisions.  While data is important, it’s true that nothing tells a story like a good photograph.  

The program grew under succeeding riparian specialists to over 800 sites photographed by an outstanding group of volunteer photographers who enjoy regular visits to their stream sites. 

The program has now been passed to the Friends of the Tonto National Forest.  We are continuing the program with the same attention to quality that riparian specialists and long-time volunteers on the Forest have had.  Under Friends of the Tonto’s management, the photopoint map and associated photos have been made available for the public to see.

Photopoint season is from the beginning of April to the end of May.   And we need volunteers!  You don’t need a special camera, you can even use your smart phone.  You don’t even need a GPS unit – most smart phones can have apps that will read out GPS coordinates.  You don’t need a four-wheel drive vehicle (although you do need it for some sites).  If you like to get out, or if you need a good excuse to get out – here’s your opportunity!  

Training Sessions will be announced on our website event calendar. For dates, times, locations, details and directions, please register on our website after the announcement is made.

Come out to learn how you can help the Forest by doing this fun activity!  We have all kinds of sites available – please fill out the registration form so we can help you select a site suited to your vehicle and hiking abilities.