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Tonto National Forest

Planning to submit comments or attend a public meeting on the Tonto National Forest Revision Plan? This fact sheet will help you understand the topography and uniqueness that is at stake on the forest.

Find the full action alert here.

Size: 2,969,602 acres

Established: 1905

Range of elevation: 1,300 feet to 7,900 feet                               

Fifth largest National Forest in the US

Approximate Number of Annual Visitors: 5.8 million

Ranger Districts: Payson, Cave Creek, Pleasant Valley, Tonto Basin, Mesa, Globe



One of the primary purposes for establishing the Tonto National Forest in 1905 was to protect its watersheds around reservoirs.  

Average acre-feet of water per year: 350,000.

There are six man-made reservoirs: Horseshoe, Bartlett, Theodore Roosevelt, Apache, Canyon, and Saguaro

Total storage capacity of the six reservoirs: 2 million acre-feet of water

Major Rivers: Verde and Salt

Wild and Scenic Rivers: Lower portion of the Verde River (This is the only Wild and Scenic river in Arizona, although legislation is

pending in Congress for designating Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic.)


Number of Wilderness Areas: 8

Wilderness Areas: Four Peaks, Hell’s Gate, Mazatzal, Salome, Salt River Canyon, Sierra Ancha, and Superstition

Total Wilderness Acreage: 589,300




Number of Roadless Areas: 20

Roadless Areas: Pine Mountain Wilderness Contiguous (2), Mazatzal Wilderness Contiguous (3), Lime Creek, Hell’s Gate Wilderness Contiguous (2), Boulder, Goldfield, Black Cross, Horse Mesa, Salome Wilderness Contiguous, Sierra Ancha Wilderness Contiguous (5), Cherry Creek, and Picacho

Total Roadless Acreage: 169,857

The Tonto National Forests offers habitat for a diverse mix of mammals, reptile, amphibians, birds, and invertabrates.
Threatened and Endangered Species (Federal and State): 21
Common Animals Found on the Tonto: mountain lion, black bear, mule deer, elk, white tail deer, bobcat, opossum, ringtail cat, numerous snake species, bald eagle, goshawk, Mexican spotted owl, and numerous native fish species.

Number of Cattle Permitted to Graze: 26,000
Due to ongoing drought, the number of cattle permitted to graze on the forest has been lowered and will continue to be lowered as the drought persists.

Mineral Districts: 38
Mineral Mined (Current and Past): copper, gold, silver, lead, zinc, uranium, molybdenum, manganese, asbestos, mercury and many other metals and minerals.

Total Board Feet Removed per Year: 4,000,000

Average Number of Wildfires per Year (Over the Last Ten Years): 330



Miles of Non-Motorized Trails: Approximately 900

Total Miles of Roads: 4,270

Annual Road Maintenance Backlog:  $2,904,070

Off Road Vehicle Areas: Bulldog Canyon and Rolls


-Arizona Wilderness Coalition mission statement