Navajo-Hopi Nations,Flagstaff & Winslow News
Sun, April 18

More than 5,000 people go to illegal party in Arizona forest

Forest protection officers discovered more than 5,000 people at an unauthorized meet-up event April 3 near Lower Sycamore in the Tonto National Forest. (Photo/USFS)

Forest protection officers discovered more than 5,000 people at an unauthorized meet-up event April 3 near Lower Sycamore in the Tonto National Forest. (Photo/USFS)

PHOENIX (AP) — More than 5,000 people gathered last weekend in the Tonto National Forest northeast of Phoenix for an illegal party that was broken up by U.S. Forest Service personnel, according to authorities.

"Numerous forest protection officers were out patrolling Lower Sycamore Saturday night when a surge of people came to attend this unauthorized event," the Forest Service said on Facebook.

The Tonto National Forest requires a permit application to be submitted and approved for all gatherings of over 75 people.

Officers patrolling in the Sycamore Creek area Saturday night came across the unauthorized gathering.

Forest officials say campers and partiers restricted access by taping off sections of the main road to designate the party area and vehicles were parked all along the main roads.

Authorities said violations included DUI, double riding, speeding, reckless vehicle operation, staging camps in illegal areas, blocking roadways, illegal use of fireworks and target shooting.

By the end of the night, there had been seven vehicle accidents reported and multiple reports of stolen off-highway vehicles.

Authorities said one person was taken to the hospital after getting injured when two quads collided.

The Forest Service asks the public to report illegal Facebook meet up events to their district offices including Mesa Ranger District (480) 610-3300, Cave Creek Ranger District (480) 595-3300, Tonto Basin Ranger District (602) 225-5395 or Globe Ranger District (928) 402-6200, Payson Ranger District (928) 474-7900.

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