Join us for a day trip northeast of Safford for hiking opportunities along the riparian area of Bonita Creek & the Gila River and to learn more about how you can participate in the Bureau of Land Management's Safford Field Office Travel Management Plan and how it relates to the continued protection & expansion of the nearby Turtle Mountain and Pothole Roadless Areas.
Bonita Creek is a perennial stream which flows into the Gila River, lined with large sycamore and cottonwood trees which provide shade in the canyon bottom and habitat for nearly 200 species of birds, including the golden eagle, zone-tailed hawk and yellow-billed cuckoo. The creek itself is home to five species of native fish, including critical habitat for the spikedace and loach minnow. Beavers are active in Bonita Creek, and numerous beaver dams can be seen in the canyon bottom. Historic cabins as well as prehistoric archaeological sites can be found along Bonita Creek and the adjacent Roadless Areas.
The Turtle Mountain and Pothole Roadless Areas are large areas of public land which do not contain developed roads, contain significant ecological value, and meet the characteristics for Wilderness designation. Your participation in the Travel Management process is essential to help continue protecting these areas from roads being established within them, as well as the opportunity to expand them even further by closure of adjacent roads.
MEETING LOCATION & DRIVING DIRECTIONS
Riverview Campground, Gila Box Riparian National Conservation Area, 9 AM, May 9
From Safford, head east on US 191 for 5 miles. Turn left on Sanchez Road and follow it for 8 miles. Following signage for the Gila Box Riparian NCA and Bonita Creek, turn left onto Bonita Creek Road and follow it for 3.8 miles. Turn right at the turn for the Riverview Campground, leaving pavement, and follow this road less than a mile to the campground itself.
The roads are almost entirely paved and suitable for passenger cars the entire length.
GPS Coordinates:[masked], [masked]
Google Maps: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Riverview+Campground+(recgovnpsdata)/@32.8875245,-109.482144,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m5!3m4!1s0x86d801369b33ea1d:0xe145f705d1295097!8m2!3d32.88752!4d-109.47995
HIKING & DRIVING OPTIONS
Depending on conditions and participants' ability, we will be walking and wading up the riparian canyon bottom of Bonita Creek from nearby picnic areas. This will involve partial road walking, but also some bushwhacking with creek/river crossings, as well as walking in areas with beaver dams, so plan to get your feet wet and wade in sections.
If the weather is appropriate and people are interested, we may also elect to drive north along the West Bonita Creek Rim Road to view and optionally hike in the Pothole and Turtle Mountain Roadless Areas. This drive would involve rougher unpaved roads.
For those who don't want to hike, you are welcome to enjoy the riparian area from the picnic areas, bird, or just attend the discussion about the Travel Management Plan.
- Please provide your own lunch, snacks and water/cold drinks for the day
- If hiking, bring 3 – 4 liters of water
- Day pack
- Hiking shoes/sandals and pants/shorts you don't mind getting wet
- Sun protection (sun screen, sunglasses, hat, etc.)
- Optional: hiking poles, binoculars
If you have any questions about this event, contact Jonathan Patt at [masked].