Holiday campers affected by Oak Creek Canyon closures - New York News

Holiday campers affected by Oak Creek Canyon closures

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SEDONA, Ariz. -

The Manzanita Campground will close Thursday, but that didn't stop some from setting up camp.

"I was looking at the internet and saw that they were going to be closing things," said Bill O'Neill, who lives in the Anthem area. "So we just ran up here last minute to see if we could reserve a campsite.. yeah, we got lucky."

Others weren't so lucky. This family's trip had to be cut short by a day, but it didn't ruin the fun.

"Two days is decent. One day is tough to set up the tent and everything, then the next morning, pack and leave. Two days I'll do. At least we are having fun in the water," said Alfio Chemello of Phoenix.

This time of year, the Manzanita Campground and many others along 89A are usually full. Campsites tend to be reserved months in advance. Campground host Daisy Woods had to deliver the bad news.

"We initially anticipated we would be shutting down on July 7 and now we are telling folks we are shutting down tomorrow the 3rd," she said.

How are they taking the news? Not very well.

The Slide Fire burned more than 20,000 acres. With the monsoon just getting started, the Forest Service is worried about flooding.

"We don't want people in the campgrounds to get hit by floodwaters and trees and debris and rocks that may have been knocked loose," said Eric La Price with the Coconino National Forest.

With storms predicted over the 4th of July weekend, the Forest Service doesn't want to take any chances.

"I know they are going to be disappointed if they made reservations and won't be able to come here for the 4th like they planned. When it comes to public safety, that has to be our number one priority," said La Price. "Trying to get hundreds and hundreds of people to evacuate in short order.. they call it a flash flood 'cause you don't get much warning.. would really be a logistical nightmare for us."

Online:

Official order and a map of the entire closure area: http://tinyurl.com/nmwp8co.

Oak Creek Canyon Information Hotline: 928-203-7505

Coconino County’s Slide Fire Area Monsoon Flood Preparation web page: www.coconino.az.gov/slidefloodinformation.

For visitors looking who had plans to visit Oak Creek Canyon during this time of the year, alternatives to recreating at Oak Creek Canyon can be found online at http://tinyurl.com/n2lfxto.

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