About the Tonto

At just under 3 million acres, the Tonto National Forest is the fifth largest forest in the US.  The Tonto was established in 1905 to protect watersheds, primarily the Roosevelt Lake Reservoir. This urban forest receives well over 5.8 million visitors yearly.  The Tonto is divided into six districts: Cave Creek, Globe, Mesa, Payson, Pleasant Valley and Tonto Basin.  Within the Forest you can go from the saguaro studded Sonoran Desert to pinyon pine forests just below the Mogollon Rim.

Exceptional places on the Tonto National Forest include eight wilderness areas and the only waters in Arizona which are part of the National Wild and Scenic Rivers System.  Wilderness areas on the Tonto are:  Four Peaks, Hell’s Gate, Mazatzal, Pine Mountain, Salome, Salt River, Sierra Ancha, and Superstition.  The Superstition Wilderness is possibly the most highly used urban wilderness in the US. It provides 160 miles of trails within its 160,000 acres.  Both Fossil Creek and the Verde River contain designated Wild and Scenic sections.

The Tonto National Forest website can be found here: https://www.fs.usda.gov/tonto/

Proposed Projects

Would you like to know what projects are in the planning stages on the Tonto? The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) provides opportunities for the public to have input during environmental analysis. Every project, unless exempted by categorical exclusion, must be analyzed for environmental effects. Also, each project has comment periods, during which the Forest accepts input and comments. Here is a link to the Tonto’s “Schedule of Proposed Actions” or SOPA. The list is updated each quarter. This is one way for you to be knowledgeable about what’s going on, on the Tonto. It’s also a great way to become involved in project planning.

Schedule of Proposed Actions