PHOENIX - Several recreation areas around the state are opening after being closed last month due to wildfires burning in the high country.
In the Apache National Forest have lifted restrictions in Big Lake, Crescent Lake and the adjacent developed campgrounds. Also the Greet lakes and the nearby developed campgrounds, Lee Valley, Winn Campground, Nelson Reservoir and Luna Lake are now open.
The Sitgreaves National Forest lifted the closure of the roads and trails in the Black Mesa and Lakeside Ranger Districts and the Promontory Butte area.
Stage 1 fire restrictions are currently in effect across the Sitgreaves portion of the forest. They prohibit fires, campfires and the use of charcoal, coal or wood stoves, except in fire grills and grates provided by the Forest Service in developed recreation sites.
You can use gas-fueled stoves, lanterns or heating devices. Also smoking is not allowed except within an enclosed vehicle or building.
The specific areas opened in the Alpine and Springerville Ranger Districts include:
•Big Lake and Crescent Lake Recreation Areas including: Big Lake boat ramps and parking areas, Big Lake Visitor’s Center; Big Lake Administrative Site, Big Lake store and marina, South Cove boat ramp and parking area, Railroad Cove boat ramp and parking area. Current access to Big Lake is by Highway 273 only (Sunrise Highway) as Highway 261 is still closed and unsafe for motor vehicle use due to damaged guardrails.
•Greer Lakes Day Use Area including the following: Greer Lakes picnic area, Greer Lakes boat ramps and parking areas, Bunch Reservoir, River Reservoir, and Tunnel Reservoir.
•Lee Valley Reservoir Day Use Area including the following: boat ramp and parking area, and the lake itself.
•Rolfe C. Hoyer and Benny Creek Campgrounds and Squirrel Springs Picnic Area, Winn Campground, Springerville Ranger Station, Alpine Ranger Station.
•Luna Lake Day Use including the following: boat ramps and parking areas, Luna Lake Store and Marina, and the lake itself.
•Nelson Reservoir Day Use Area including the following: north end boat ramp, north end parking area, fishing piers, NFS land underlying Nelson Reservoir, and the lake itself.
Stage 2 fire restrictions prohibiting campfires, even in developed campground areas.
Lee Valley Reservoir, Luna Lake, Crescent Lake, and the three Greer lakes are for day use only.
The rest of the Apache National Forest is closed to public entry due to the aftermath of the Wallow Fire.