Throughout the summer, the members of Trout Unlimited’s Sportsmen’s Conservation Project will be featuring a series of blogs. For more information about Trout Unlimited or to become a member, go to tu.org
With about 1.2 million acres of roadless areas in Arizona, the state stands to lose some of the best habitat it has for sportsmen, and sensitive species which consider these untrammeled lands home.
• About 11.3 of Arizona’s almost 73 million acres (about 15 percent) are public U.S. Forest Service Lands
• Of those 11.3 U.S. Forest Service Lands, about 1.2 million acres, about 10 percent, are inventoried roadless areas.
• Currently, 61,000 or 0.5 percent of total U.S. Forest Service Lands are recommended for wilderness designation.
The Black River Canyon is a key feature of the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest and is eligible for Wild and Scenic status. As home to strong populations of rainbow trout and the threatened Apache trout, the area offers some of the best fly fishing in the state.
With 11,802 acres, the Black River Canyon is located about 20 miles southwest of Alpine Arizona in the Apache Sitgreaves National Forest. It is characterized by a deep basalt river canyon with many side drainages. Elevations range from about 6,800 feet at Wildcat Crossing to more then 7,600 feet at the canyon rims. Important species include Rainbow trout, Apache trout, elk, whitetail deer, mule deer, bear, wolves.
It’s not just hunters and anglers who enjoy this place. Backpackers, horseback riders, birders and wildlife enthusiasts are draw by the abundant wildlife. In addition to the traditional game species, there is a very strong population of Osprey, with numerous nesting pairs. The area is also home to a number of threatened and sensitive species such as the Mexican spotted owl, the New Mexico meadow jumping mouse, roundtail chubs, Arizona Bell’s vireo, water shrew, narrow-headed gartersnake, northern leopard frog, White Mountains water penny beetle, Sonora sucker and desert sucker.