Jul 4, 2014 9:00 AM by Jeff Beamish
CHIRICAHUA NATIONAL MONUMENT - Portions of the Bonita Canyon Campground will be closed beginning Monday, July 7. The campground is located near the mouth of Bonita Canyon and several streams flow through the vicinity. In anticipation of heavy monsoon rains, around 10 of the 25 sites in the campground will be closed for the next few months.
Areas that have experienced large fires, such as the Horseshoe II fire that burned over 200,000 acres in and around Chiricahua National Monument (NM) in 2011, have an increased risk of flash flooding. Floods are significantly larger following fires and floodwaters can carry debris that may be hazardous to campers and their property. During monsoon campers should never camp in washes or low lying areas.
Local residents and visitors are reminded that conditions can change rapidly during monsoon. Hikers are encouraged to check weather forecasts before heading out and to pay attention to their surroundings. Soils in a burned landscape can create slippery conditions, and mud and rockslides can be triggered by the heavy rainfall events that are typical during monsoon.
Park managers hope to open the entire campground in time for Labor Day weekend, but the final decision will be based on safety considerations at that time. Visitors planning a trip to the park can contact the Chiricahua NM visitor center staff at 520-824-3560, ext. 0 for more information about fire restrictions, as well as safety tips for hiking and camping during monsoon. Information is also available at www.nps.gov/chir.
Chiricahua National Monument is located four miles east of the junction of Arizona Highways 186 and 181. No food or gasoline is available at the park. The campground operates on a first-come, first-serve basis and all entrance and camping fees have been waived through September 30, 2014.