As you know (and am sure are tired of hearing about) the US Forest Service has closed all our privately-funded and operated parks on their land. These include a number of very popular campgrounds and parks in the Sedona area.
Today we got a call from the County Sheriff saying that visitors were parked all over the highway and walking into our (closed) concession areas. He said they were creating a serious public safety problem, particularly at Call of the Canyon** (also known as West Fork) and Crescent Moon Ranch (also known as Red Rock Crossing). I told him that I had specifically raised this issue about these specific sites all the way up to Cal Joyner, Regional head of the USFS in Arizona, New Mexico and parts of Oklahoma and Texas. And the US Forest Service had closed us anyway. The Sheriff begged us to reopen the facilities and I told him I would love nothing more but my contracts were suspended and I had no legal basis for doing so.
So, apparently, the sheriff cut the cable on the facilities and is letting cars into the facilities, creating even more chaos. There is no one there to monitor safety, provide security, clean the bathrooms, pick up trash, etc. -- all the things we do every day without taking one dollar of Federal money, if only the US Forest Service would let us. I am actually happy the Sheriff is giving visitors access. These facilities are particularly lovely in the Autumn. But the US Forest Service needs to send 15 or 20 people to help manage them, but that would cost them money they do not have. Or they could just let us get back to operating the sites, which does not cost them one dime.
** The West Fork of Oak Creek Canyon is so beautiful in the fall that Zane Grey immortalized it in a novel called "Call of the Canyon." The trailhead and parking area are cramped and require a lot of active management even when staffed to keep them operating safely.