Fossil Creek visitors must possess a parking permit beginning April 1 for day use in the Fossil Creek Permit Area, located on the Coconino and Tonto National Forests.
For those interested in acquiring permits, Lot 9 permits, formerly known as the Fossil Springs Trail, must now be reserved through the new Bob Bear Trailhead permit page by searching Bob Bear Trailhead on www.recreation.gov, according to a U.S. Forest Service press release.
The Fossil Springs Trail was renamed to the Bob Bear Trail to honor an important cultural figure, as well as improve public safety by better distinguishing it from other Fossil Creek access points. Forest officials expect the move will reduce the burden on emergency responders.
Visitors to the Bob Bear Trailhead must be prepared for an 8-mile round-trip strenuous hike to reach Fossil Creek. Bob Bear Trailhead can only be accessed from Strawberry off of State Route 87 to Forest Road 708. Horse trailer parking will still be available.
On the first of each month, reservations open for the following month. Reservations and printed permits are only required April 1 through Oct. 1. At all other times, the parking spaces are available on a first come, first served basis.
Permits are $6, entitling the permit holder to a single day pass that reserves parking for the day in a specific parking lot. Visitors must print their permit before arriving and may only park in the parking lot assigned on their parking pass for the day reserved.
Permits can be acquired for Fossil Creek’s eight creekside parking lots online by searching “fossil creek wild and scenic river at www.recreation.gov or calling 977-444-6777.
Fossil Creek is still reviewing its draft Comprehensive River Management Plan, which plans to protect river values in light of larger public demands for recreation.
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