Coronado forests reopened

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TUCSON, Ariz. -- There was some good news Thursday for campers and hikers looking to escape the Tucson heat.

Coronado National Forest officials have re-opened several parts of the forest, including its most popular recreational sites.

"It's nice to escape up to where the highs are only in the 70s," said Mt. Lemmon visitor Dennis Weiler.

"It's a great picture taking opportunity," said Lorrie Miller.

"We do like to go up here and go camping, it's a good way to get out of the heat," said Lorrie Miller.

After one long month, the road up Mt. Lemmon finally has some sight-seers again.

"We were excited to find out it was finally open," said Dennis Miller.

Coronado national forest officials announced late Wednesday people can return to popular recreational sites in the Santa Catalina Mountains.

Since June 9 visitors couldn't stop along Mt. Lemmon Highway and only Summerhaven remained open because of extreme fire danger.

Thursday, outdoor enthusiasts got a chance to take in the sights, smells, and sounds, they have so missed.

"The trees, the insects, the wildflowers, the birds, the quiet.  Just amazing how quiet it is," said  Dennis Weiler.

Businesses in summerhaven are also excited about the news.

"The campers have been dying to camp, they've been shut out, they haven't been able to come up," said, Phil Mack from the Mt. Lemmon General Store.

That's why he's welcoming the rains.

"It's too hot to hike in the desert trails so everybody will love this.  I think we have 65 degrees up here today," said Mack.

Sight-seers still have some restrictions to keep in mind no barbecues or campfires.

"Understandable because the devastation that occurred in 2003 with the fire, you certainly don't want to take a chance of that happening again, said Dennis.

But for now most people are just grateful to get out in the great outdoors once again.

Redington Pass and Happy Valley are also now open.

The Douglas, Nogales, Sierra Vista and Safford Ranger districts remain closed.