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

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The Tonto National Forest’s Riparian Photopoint Program


Looking for volunteers!


This project has a history of nearly 30 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 progam 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 hope to continue the program with the same attention to quality that riparian specialists and long-time volunteers on the Forest have had.  For the first time, the photopoint map and associated photos have been made available for the public to see – check out the interactive map below.


Check out the interactive map.   New photos will be added to it each year.


The photopoint season is from mid-April to June..   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!


If you like we can pair you up with a seasoned photopoint volunteer or get you a ride with an experienced four-wheel driver.


Come out and learn how you can help the Forest by doing this fun activity! We have all kinds of sites available so we can help you select where you'd like to go.


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