Welcome to your Tonto National Forest..The land of the free..

The Tonto National Forest is the 5th largest National Forest in the United States at 2,873,208 acres.

This week we focus on the Mesa Ranger District of the Tonto National Forest which by jurisdiction, contains the Lower Salt River, Saguaro Lake, Desert/Riparian Ecosystems (and also include, you guessed it, The iconic Salt River Wild Horses).

         A few other examples of wildlife located in the Mesa Ranger District include: Deer, Javelina, Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Lions, Bob Cats, Coyotes, Skunks, Various bird species (Song birds, Bald eagles, Hawks, Ravens, Vultures, Water fowl), Fish, Lizards, Snakes, Frogs, Toads. Mesa Ranger District plant species include (but not limited to) – Palo Verde, Mesquite, Creosote, cactus (cholla, prickly pear, saguaro) Various grasses, Cottonwood, Willow etc. All species aforementioned, depend on a healthy balanced ecosystem in order to keep in harmony with the land and each other.

The Mesa Ranger District of the Tonto National Forest also belongs to each of us, as it is designated as public land. It is a place where many of us can find freedom from our busy lives to reconnect with nature. It is a highly popular recreation destination for humans that reside in the Phoenix metro area, in the state of Arizona, across the nation and the world.
With the many options for recreation (kayaking, tubing, swimming, camping, hunting, fishing, ATV, Hiking, Photography) human’s play a very unique and special role in maintaining harmony within the wild environment.



Here are a few simple ways that you can help keep the Mesa Ranger District beautiful —

Wild horses drink life sustaining water among litter and trash left behind by Tubers of the Salt River

When visiting the Tonto National Forest — Remember the Golden Rule: “If you pack it in, pack it out.”

Foal plays with a sharp edged rusty metal can which humans dumped at the Salt River














Respect the local residents (plants and animals). This is their only home.


Volunteer and get involved in the future of the Tonto National Forest.

“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.” – Gandhi


Upcoming opportunities to Volunteer and help keep the Mesa Ranger District of the Tonto National Forest beautiful:

Wildhorse Ranch Rescue – Sept 23rd 2017Adopt-a-Highway – litter clean up along Bush Highway

Adopted section of highway — Mile marker 23 – Phon-D-Sutton Road. In order to volunteer for this project you Must RSVP by Wednesday Sept 6th via wild@whrr.org, very limited number of spaces left.

Wildhorse Ranch Rescue is an NGO (non-government organization) with deep roots within the Arizona tradition of honoring all equine, whether domestic or wild.  Located in Gilbert, AZ the ranch is dedicated to the mission of saving animals from abuse, neglect, slaughter and premature death. A sustainable and safe home is paramount to rescuing such vulnerable animals, and is what makes the ranch so special. Wildhorse Ranch Rescue has also partnered with the Arizona US Forest Service to provide a home for retired service equine, that in years past could have ended up auction houses frequented by kill buyers.

Salt River Wild Horse Blog will be working with Wildhorse Ranch Rescue to help keep wild horse country clean and beautiful so that all can enjoy the beauty of the Tonto National Forest.  We are excited to support Wildhorse Ranch Rescue in their ongoing work and efforts to give back to the community and the environment.


Friends of the Tonto National Forest – Lower Salt River Rehab

Salt River Wild Horse Blog assisted Friends of Tonto National Forest on Saturday August 19th with cutting back the new growth of invasive Salt Cedar in the Cactus Fire burn rehab area.

September Dates TBD – Keep an eye on the events calendar
Assist with Rehabbing Cactus Fire Burn Area by removing new Salt Cedar growth in the test area.

Invasive Salt Cedar grows quickly and densely. If not controlled, it inhibits wildlife access to important resources such as the river and stifles native plant species from thriving.

Where: Lower Salt River, 2nd pullout East of Granite Reef Rec Area on Bush Highway (map)

Tools needed: Long handled Loppers/Hedge Trimmers, long pants, long sleeved shirts recommended, bring plenty of water and sun protection

Contact Friends of Tonto National Forest President Don Pike for more info and volunteer opportunities


Natural Restorations  Green Friday Salt River litter clean up

Friday Nov 24th 2017 8:00 am – 12:00 pm RSVP here




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