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10 Facts About Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest You Need to Know

Cheyenne Reed

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Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest is a coniferous forest in Northeastern Arizona. It is an expansive 2.76 million-acre forest full of deep lakes and beautiful conifers. Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest begins approximately 145.5 miles northeast of Phoenix. The forest is a must-visit for anyone who loves camping, hiking, and exploring the wilderness. Here are 10 facts about Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest that you need to know.

1) Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest Once Was 2 Separate Parks

Flickr User Art
Flickr User Artur Gegielski

They combined them in 1974 to create a forest that covers over two million acres of east-central Arizona. This includes the breathtaking Mogollon Rim through the magnificent White mountains.

2) This National Forest Proves Arizona is More than a Desert

Flickr User Fireground
Flickr User Fireground

Water flows down from the mountains to fill 34 lakes and reservoirs. On top of that, there are more than 680 miles of rivers and streams. That’s more than any other southwestern national forest.

3) A Lot of Fishermen Are Drawn Here

Flickr User Đời Thừa
Flickr User Đời Thừa

You can find the headwaters of many rivers, like the Black River, the Little Colorado River, and the San Francisco River. There are over 450 miles of streams and almost 2,000 acres of lake surfaces. This provides for many fishing locations throughout the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest. They are well stocked with Arctic Grayling, Rainbow, German Brown, Brook, Apache, and Cutthroat trout.

4) Sitgreaves National Forest Was Named for Lorenzo Sitgreaves

Flickr User Alan Richardson
Flickr User Alan Richardson

He was a topographical engineer who explored Arizona in the 1850s. After assembling his crew in the spring of 1851, Sitgreaves and his colleagues finally began their expedition from the Zuni pueblo in New Mexico on September 24th. The goal was to trek the entire way to and then along the Colorado River. He and his fellow explorers observed and documented much of the flora and fauna on their expedition. They traveled along what is now the famous Route 66 highway as well as Interstate 40. It took them until November 9th to finally reach the Colorado River.

As the Sitgreaves expedition traversed westward following the Little Colorado, past the San Franciso Mountains, all the way to the Mojave villages along the main Colorado River. Many important archaeological, as well as ethnological discoveries, were made during Sitegreave’s long and important expedition.

5) Apache National Forest Was Also Named After the Apache Tribe

Flickr user Daniel Yu
Flickr user Daniel Yu

You’ll find the impressive 11,500 foot Mount Baldy on this backcountry land.

6) Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest has Its Own Heritage Team

Flickr User Ricardo Campos
Flickr User Ricardo Campos

They protect, preserve, and interpret all of the archaeological findings in the forest. Their main office is in Springerville, Arizona amidst the White Mountains.

7) Humans Used These Forests Nearly 12,000 Years Ago

Charlotte Hunter
Charlotte Hunter

Evidence like projectile points found in pueblo sites leads archaeologists to believe there were big-game hunters here during the Paleo-Indian period. This means that prehistoric man roamed these lands long before even the Apache.

8) There Are a Lot of Prehistoric Sites to Explore Here

Flickr User Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
Flickr User Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

You’ll find rock shelter and cave sites, pueblos, plazas, and hunting and plant collecting areas. You can even see rock art — both painted pictographs and etched petroglyphs — if you visit the Black Canyon. They’re between 600 and 900 years old!

9) Some Later Settlements Lived Here Too

Flickr user Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest
Flickr user Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest

There is some evidence of conquistadors who made their way through the forest in the 1700s. But there is evidence of other people too. You can see some remnants of the settlements of miners, ranchers, farmers, as well as loggers. Some of the work of the Civilian Conservation Corps can be seen on the National Register of Historic Places.

10) It’s Full of Natural and Historical Resources

arizonahighways.com
arizonahighways.com

This huge national forest is full of not only priceless natural resources but also one of a kind historical resources that can teach us so much! The Passport in Time program helps us use the forests to learn about people’s adaptations to change over the past 12,000 years.

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