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 friends of northern arizona forests



2023 has been a remarkable year in making our forests friendlier for wildlife and human activities. We have again expanded and diversified our overall level of accomplishments thanks to a group of very skilled volunteers in the field who consistently demonstrating their enthusiasm for completing all approved projects to our high standards.

For the 2023 FY our volunteers gave 5501 hours of their time toward fulfilling FoNAF’s mission to the Forest Service.

While our achievements this year have been significant and numerous, I need to bring special attention to the Aspen Team.  It has increased from a historical base of roughly eight to ten volunteers to an average of twelve to fourteen highly motivated core members this year.  Due to the consistency of meeting twice a week from early May until late October, the collective skill sets of these volunteers are broad and effective.  Each member can work independently on a variety of project types, making for a highly productive group.  As of early October, over 50 projects have been successfully completed.  Thanks to all the team members and to Tom Mackin, Outdoor Coordinator and VP, for an amazing year of making our forests better. 

The highlights for 2023 are numerous. Below are a few stand out examples:


·        Over 4070 volunteer hours by the Aspen Team.

·        11 miles of barbed wire removed from the forest floor.

·        23 tons of wire and other fencing material destined for recycling.

·        1000 feet of log worm fences built to prevent OHV damage to forests.

Exclosures/Trick Tanks:

·        Exclosure stewards faithfully checked over 120 sites twice a year, making repairs on the spot or                calling in reinforcements.

·        No new aspen exclosures were built this year so maintenance dominates our exclosure work with            significant expansion into KNF.

·        Refurbishing trick tanks focused on two being rebuilt this year.

Affiliations and Awards:

·        Accepted as an affiliate of Arizona Wildlife Federation.

·        Initiated stronger coordination with AZG&F for joint project planning.

·        “Enduring Service Award” from the Forest Service for "making a difference locally."

·        “Citizen of the Year” honor to Tom Mackin, VP.

Financial Support:

·        Mike Anderson’s $25k gift for wildlife protection projects (see below).

·        Ride Northern Arizona Side X Side organization’s gift of $3200 from their charity event in September.

FoNAF was blessed with a substantial financial gift from Mike Anderson, a person dedicated to sustaining and improving wildlife habitat in Northern Arizona and a longtime friend of FoNAF.  FoNAF was chosen as recipients by Mike due to our sustained efforts and contributions over the years in the forest. The funding of $25,000 each year into the future can be used for wildlife or habitat projects approved by the Forest Service and Arizona Game and Fish Department as the protocols require.  We are very grateful to Mike, his generosity, and we sincerely thank him.

The Aspen Team has formed a special volunteer relationship with NAU Professor Ben Carver’s university staff made possible by a new university policy allowing staff to substitute work hours for volunteer hours.  We were pleased to have as many as six NAU employees join the Aspen Team on several outings to remove old fencing.  Clearly this is a win-win for everyone and we hope to renew our association with NAU next year.

A primary objective this year of enhancing our communications, working relationships, and project coordination with the Kaibab National Forest representatives has been very successful.  Two FoNAF team members have become excellent resources for monitoring and correcting the eighty exclosures in the Williams area.  Their commitment to our goals in the forest is very much appreciated and welcomed.  Despite focused efforts to have a stronger presence on the Mogollon Ranger District for exclosure improvements and maintenance, results have been less than desired due to ranger district communication and planning shortcomings.

Trail Ambassadors/PSAR set a high bar this year for delivering a valued service to hikers and to the goal of making mountain rescues rare.  A dedicated team of FoNAF members and Forest Service representatives worked the trailheads every weekend and holidays all summer. Thanks to them and the important role they play in keeping safety first.

Thanks to everyone for another very successful year for FoNAF!

Bob Dyer

FoNAF President

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