New details about the closure of the Coronado National Forest confirm that cyclists hoping to escape the heat by riding up Catalina Highway will have a challenge finding water along the way.
Pima County Sheriff’s Deputy, Ryan Roher, said at yesterday’s Tucson-Pima County Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting that the department will be enforcing a “zero tolerance enforcement policy” for motorists and cyclists, which includes stopping for bathroom and water use.
A second press release issued by the Forest Service states that the entire Coronado Forest is closed to the public starting today at noon except, “Persons using the Catalina Highway for between the hours of dawn and dusk for non-stop access through the restricted area to the Ski Valley complex, the Palisades Visitor Center, and private lands at Summerhaven.”
Roher said the Forest Service wanted to close the highway to all traffic because if a fire were started the mountain would burn in “eight hours.”
“The Forest is faced with an unprecedented fire season this year, with extreme fire danger and over 200,000 acres burned across the Forest. Our national resources to fight fire are being strained to the limit. Fuels (grass, shrubs, trees, ground debris) on the Coronado are at record levels for dryness,” the report stated.
Roher said the Forest Service will be bringing in additional enforcement resources and that they are concerned about getting people off the mountain if a fire is started.
Forest Service officials are urging cyclists consider alternate rides.
On the bright side, according to the release, the paved areas of Sabino Canyon remain open to cyclists and pedestrians.