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Forums › Arizona FJ Discussion › Land Use › Cottonwood Canyon Road has been compromised.
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Cottonwood Canyon Road has been compromised.
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BellyDoc
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:22 pm    Post subject: Cottonwood Canyon Road has been compromised. Reply with quote

Cottonwood Canyon Road access into the Florence Junction area may not be the primary entry point for everyone here, because entry via Price Rd. is so convenient to run Elvis or Box, and the north entry off of 60 is probably the second choice entry/exit. However you should probably know about this issue, because the Cottonwood entrance is also an exit, and if you have to leave the region due to an unplanned event, this could be your closest track to the pavement from a variety of locations.

If you know this entry, the road comes in off of 79, traverses flat open land heading east to the hills, and then as it rolls over the first rise, it drops into a wash as it passes some ranch structures which are across the wash on the north side.

This ranch changed ownership in February.

The ranch land crosses the wash and continues a substantial distance to the south. The portion of the access road that follows that wash is actually within the boundaries of the property.

The new owner has closed off access across the property, and it would appear that no formal easement for crossing this property has ever been established. Although the new owner has been approached by BLM, Fish and Game, and Parks, there has been no resolution to this as of yet.

There is an alternate access that veers south and then back east prior to the property line, and avoids the property entirely. I am seeing second hand reports of consideration of this alternate access for improvements, and that NEPA compliance is being evaluated by the BLM Tucson Field Office..

Finding this access on the way in isn't particularly complicated, but if you're looking to get out in a hurry and you don't know how to find this alternate route, you could head out all the way to the private property line, only to be thwarted by a gate, and then have to backtrack.

I have some concern about people who rely on guidebooks to get around in there, especially out-of-towners. This radical route change may get some folks lost who are just trying to exit safely.

Of note, Jeff Prince has been doing a solid job of participating and reporting back on the VJC board regarding this issue. If you want to read through a thread on the topic, then here:

www.virtualjeepclub.co...locked-off

Here's a map that shows the section of road that's been closed off, and the alternate route that is currently in effect.

Stay safe.

www.virtualjeepclub.co...1396044569

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az4runner wrote:
glideraz wrote:
if I where you I would just get some jb weld
Is jb weld really as strong as if I just welded them on with my welder?

glideraz wrote:
Could be stronger it all depends on how you weld
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Rastarider
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 3:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Cottonwood Canyon Road has been compromised. Reply with quote

Thanks! I am going to refrain from passing judgement on the new property owner. I am thinking that I just might move to Aussie Land.

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Jimbolio
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 4:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Cottonwood Canyon Road has been compromised. Reply with quote

BLM Tucson Office -- Francisco Mendoza
(520)258-7226
Francisco_Mendoza @ blm.gov

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JustinD
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Cottonwood Canyon Road has been compromised. Reply with quote

This sucks. This area is by far 1 of my favorites and the Cottonwood Canyon entrance is the one I use the most.

Hope this gets resolved in a fair way.
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mod_muscle
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 5:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Cottonwood Canyon Road has been compromised. Reply with quote

Please don't tell me the new owner is the nature conservancy?? Sad
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Jimbolio
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:26 pm    Post subject: Re: Cottonwood Canyon Road has been compromised. Reply with quote

Nope, Just a rancher, running some cows. Over 40,000 acres of your and my land.

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BellyDoc
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 6:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Cottonwood Canyon Road has been compromised. Reply with quote

It sounds like he's a cattle rancher.

There's still access into the hills via Cottonwood, but you have to take the right at a Y just as you hit the hills, instead of going straight/left and dropping into the wash that crosses private property.

I haven't actually been on that road yet, and I'm not sure what it looks like where it hits Mineral Mountain Rd on the other side, but the map puts the connection right at the area which is the bottom of Ajax.

I instantly bristled when I first heard about this a couple of weeks back, but after some thinking, I'm not really that bent out of shape about it. If you can still get in and out there, then whatever the land owner does with his land is his business. We had no easement to start with, which is probably a bit of an oversight on behalf of the BLM land managers since they actually posted this route on their travel management plan, and maybe there's a case that could be won in court... but I just don't know. If there was a collection to support a legal inquiry, I'd contribute. However, if it were decided in favor of the rancher, I wouldn't cry about it.

What was interesting to me was to see that the character of some people's concern was that the new route may be more hazardous:


____________________________________________

From the VJC thread:

Quote Originally Posted by LO PHAT
Here is something else to consider: The "alternative route" cannot safely and properly accommodate the amount of weekend traffic that Cottonwood Road sees. We drove it twice today. In no way should it become the primary road for access to that area.

Quote Originally Posted by Sean K.
Can you elaborate? Is it just not wide enough for oncoming traffic or are there other issues?

Quote Originally Posted by Aribelin
I would agree with LO PHAT on this. The alternate route has a switchback, several blind corners, several intersections that would probably contribute to folks getting lost, and lots of it is only one vehicle wide.

LO PHAT
Sure, I will gladly elaborate. Here are just a few random thoughts I had while out there yesterday...

1) The majority of the "alternative route" is a single lane, non-maintained dirt road. It drops steeply into a wash, and then climbs back out of the wash. It snakes up and down a mountain, and in many places there are very steep drops to one side. In at least three places water erosion has washed away a sizeable portion of the road's width resulting in holes that are five feet or more deep. (If my memory serves me correctly, only one of those washed out spots is marked by two posts.)

2) The portion of the "alternative route" that snakes up and down the mountain is very steep and rutted in places. This shouldn't pose a problem for 4x4 vehicles, side-by-sides, quads, and dirt bikes, but it could be an issue for other high clearance vehicles that previously would have enjoyed access to the area through Cottonwood Road. (Think loss of access to the hiking trail for the hieroglyphs in Lower Woodpecker and other similar recreational opportunities in the area.)

3) The "alternative route" has many blind corners around tight switch backs. It also has two blind spots where all sight of the road is temporarily lost while cresting high points on the mountain.

4) Forcing large volumes of traffic onto the "alternate route" represents a danger anytime oncoming traffic is encountered. The road simply is not even close to comparable to Cottonwood Road. To paint the picture another way, consider this: What the rancher has done by gating Cottonwood Road and forcing traffic onto the "alternative route" would be very much like closing a major freeway and forcing traffic through nearby neighborhoods and city parks.

5) Forcing large volumes of traffic onto the "alternate route" is going to do significant damage to the vegetation surrounding the road as drivers may have no choice but to drive their vehicles partially off the road anytime opposing traffic is encountered.
_______________________________________________



Since I haven't been on this route, I don't have a reason to agree or disagree with the above, but I know all of these guys are generally level headed people that wouldn't make stuff up just to support a point of view.

My concern was that if people who don't know the area assume that they're going to find a readily marked exit to the highway in that area, they might be sorely and dangerously disappointed.


However, I *am* looking forward to checking out a previously unexplored section of trail. Frankly, they're making it sound more fun than the old way.

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az4runner wrote:
glideraz wrote:
if I where you I would just get some jb weld
Is jb weld really as strong as if I just welded them on with my welder?

glideraz wrote:
Could be stronger it all depends on how you weld
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JustinD
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 7:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Cottonwood Canyon Road has been compromised. Reply with quote

I've been on this alternate route. It will bring you in to the Ajax mine structure from the south.

It isn't overly difficult, but it is more narrow as the AZVJ guy states.

The original road is wider and better maintained, but the alternate is plenty accessible to anyone high clearance stock SUV/Jeep/FJ.

Just a bummer that this is happening for mostly no reason other than the land owner "wants to do it".
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Bliss
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 30, 2014 10:01 pm    Post subject: Re: Cottonwood Canyon Road has been compromised. Reply with quote

That explains my confusion this weekend. I went exploring the Reymert Mine area with only my guide book. Came in on Mineral Mountain Road off 60 and planned on going out Cottonwood Canyon Road to Hwy 79. I thought I made a wrong turn or something because I came to a gate and a ranch and had to turn around and go back out the way I came in.

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1Louder
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2014 7:03 am    Post subject: Re: Cottonwood Canyon Road has been compromised. Reply with quote

Bliss wrote:
That explains my confusion this weekend. I went exploring the Reymert Mine area with only my guide book. Came in on Mineral Mountain Road off 60 and planned on going out Cottonwood Canyon Road to Hwy 79. I thought I made a wrong turn or something because I came to a gate and a ranch and had to turn around and go back out the way I came in.

Great reason to have paper maps as a backup or even better electronic topo maps on an iPad or other tablet. It sucks that this portion of the road is closed. Seems like some major funds would have to be spent to grade a proper replacement.

It also would be nice is no one shoots anywhere near his place so that argument could be removed.
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