Summerhaven faces possible long-term park closure

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- The fires and a lack of moisture on Mt. Lemmon could make a big economic impact on the tourism community of Summerhaven. The Forest Service is closing the Coronado National Park surrounding it.

The dog days of summer started a little early for camper Dennis Schlabach.

"The camp post told us that we'd only be able to pay day to day because there was a rumor they might close the place down," said Schlabach.

And that rumor became true on Mt. Lemmon as the Forest Service announced they'll close Coronado National Forest on Thursday.

"We're kind of disappointed but we understand why. It is a lot dryer this year than in previous years we've been coming up," said Schlabach.

Dry conditions are already evident in the mountains and rangers don't want a repeat of the fires burning in northern Arizona and just to the south of us.

The closure doesn't apply to businesses in Summerhaven, like the Cookie Cabin.  Its owners hope customers will come to Summerhaven despite the forest closure.

"I think that we're still gonna be busy, I think they are gonna come up. I think it's a great idea they close the forest," said Nora Miller from the Cookie Cabin.

For Dennis Schlabach and his wife, their days of spending two weeks a month in the mountains Are done for now and getting up to Summerhaven just to visit may be over as well.

All camp grounds, picnic areas and trails in the

Coronado National Forest will be closed starting Thursday and they'll stay that way until southern Arizona receives a significant amount of rain.


Also closed due to the fire danger are Sabino Canyon, Saguaro National Park, and sections of Ft. Huachuca.