Get caught up on latest happenings…

Adopt-A-Site – Only a very few of the Tonto’s recreation sites have been formally adopted. Developed recreation sites get a lot of use and need some love and attention! If you have a favorite site that you and/or your organization would like to help care for, this project is for you. Contact Patti Fenner (pfenner@friendsofthetonto.org) to discuss site adoption and connect you with the person who will be your contact at the Forest Service.

Cave Creek Trail System Maintenance – This project was initiated with a generous grant from the Desperados Trail Scouts of Desert Mountain. They are working together with Friends and the Tonto’s Cave Creek Ranger District to purchase and install trail marker and trailhead signs, and improve navigability of trails by doing brushing and tread work. Work is conducted on this beautiful loop system of trails during cooler parts of the year.

Invasive Plant Management – Invasive plant species and grasses have taken root in the Tonto National Forest, outcompeting native plants for resources and increasing fuel for wildfires that threaten communities. The Invasive Plant Management project involves removing, mapping and monitoring non-native plants, with the help from volunteers.

Monarch Butterfly Habitat Restoration – The monarch butterfly population in western states is in serious decline. We are doing our part to recover habitat by planting and nurturing native milkweed plants, as milkweed is required by monarchs to complete their life cycle. We also monitor our milkweed plantings for all monarch life stages, and report the findings to a national database for use in scientific research.

Riparian Photopoint – This project was started on the Tonto almost 40 years ago – the concept is very simple – repeat photography of very specific key areas is an excellent method of monitoring change. Pictures tell a story and help the Tonto’s resource managers tease out changes caused by management actions, drought, fire, flood, and climate change.

Sears-Kay Ruin – This major defensive site with massive stone walls built high on a windswept ridge near Carefree almost 900 years ago. It is an archaeological site of the prehistoric Hohokam culture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Sears-Kay Ruin is now an interpretive recreation site on the Tonto that FOTNF has adopted. FOTNF maintains the masonry ruins and interpretive trails with several work events every year as well as providing interpretive brochures and annual guided tours for the public.

Shoofly Village Ruin – Shoofly Village Ruin is an interpretive recreation site on the Tonto that FOTNF has adopted. It is an archaeological site of the prehistoric Hohokam culture and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Shoofly was a sprawling agricultural village with several different styles of architecture. It was occupied for many generations prior to about 700 years ago. FOTNF maintains the masonry ruins and interpretive trails with several work events every year as well as providing interpretive brochures and annual guided tours for the public.

Water Source Inventory – The Water Source Inventory project assists the Forest Hydrologist and other forest specialists by collecting data related to developed water sources on the forest. Developed water sources were constructed for use by livestock and wildlife, and this project specifically inventories windmills, springs and stock tanks.


Projects with Partners

Friends is participating in restoring Arnett Creek, a multi-year project lead by Wild Arizona.

Propose a Project for Friends

Suggest a project for Friends to do on the Tonto.  First, use this Project Proposal Form to tell us your ideas. Next, attend a board meeting to discuss your proposal with the board. Board meetings are open to everyone.  They are held the 4th Monday of the month from 6 to 8 PM, via Zoom.  Call Patti at 602-432-4944 to request an invitation.