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Coconino National Forest Off Limits

Coconino Flagstaff Red Rock forest zonesSedona AZ (April 11, 2014) The following is a letter to the SedonaEye.com editor:

Our local National Forest known as the Coconino is now off limits to landscape painters who come from all over the country to take workshops with nationally or locally known instructors. However, you can ride your bike, visit vortexes, hike, jeep, ATV, ride a horse, and fly helicopters next to Indian ruins anytime you want. They are taking no permit applications from anyone else!!!

I am outraged and it is affecting our livelihood. Students come from all over to paint the natural landscape not the buildings in Sedona! We should all be outraged, I AM!!!! Also affects photographers, botany classes, or any other low impact, small sized educational workshops.

No new applications are even being considered until 2016….and not a single artist has a permit since they did not realize in their planning to ask anyone what people might want to do in their public lands besides tear around in jeeps and other wheeled vehicles.


If you provide a service on or transportation to the national forest in exchange for a fee, you are an outfitter/guide. Due to the high demand for outfitter/guide permits in the “core” area around Sedona and the Village of Oak Creek (the area covered under Amendment 12 of the Forest Plan), proposals in this area will not be accepted unless solicited by the Forest Service through a prospectus. For current information on prospectus offerings visit the Red Rock Outfitter /Guide Program page.

Proposals for outfitter/guide use outside the core area will generally be considered on a case by case basis. However, the District is unable to consider any new proposals until the district-wide program planning efforts are complete. District may be able to begin accepting case-by-case proposals in 2016.

from this page… http://www.fs.usda.gov/detail/coconino/passes-permits/event-commercial/?cid=stelprdb5328797 and here is a list of the only guides allowed:


Coconino wilderness

Coconino wilderness

Anyone have any PRIVATE land that we could use to paint the natural landscape of Sedona? Need parking space for several vehicles Tuesday through Fridays 10 AM to 1 PM, November to April. We would be respectful and not trash your land.

Ironic that the one reason we came here, now is our biggest obstacle to making a living here. It is hard to find private property in Sedona that has natural scenery, parking, outdoor toilets, and little road noise.

Our National Forest has been SOLD to the permit holders for 10 years. Enjoy the ATV’s, ballons, hiking, horseback, jeeps, and metaphysical tours because that is all there is available to the public… Many of our painting students have told us recently they are not coming back to Sedona as it is too touristy and they did not appreciate all the traffic and noise and lack of regard for the environment which they observed.

This policy affects us all with regard to the quality of life in the area. We are just asking to have the permit process opened up to other activities that are educational in nature.


Trina Stephenson
Cornville, AZ 86325

For the best in Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!

For the best in Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!


  1. Warren says:

    Hey Tina, maybe if you called your outfit a “church” you’d have better luck and wouldn’t have to pay a cent. The Church of Art in the Open.

    Seriously, it IS an outrage.

  2. “Many of our painting students have told us recently they are not coming back to Sedona as it is too touristy and they did not appreciate all the traffic and noise and lack of regard for the environment which they observed”

    You’ve got that right. Especially the lack of regard for the environment.
    Thanks for sharing. Keep informing.
    The FAA is meeting with the airport and forest service to fix the abusive practices of the planes and helicopters flying so low and close to the ruins and population. Hopefully, they will be reigned in very soon. I work as a concierge and purposely do not book the plane and helicopter companies that I see fly too low. I hit them in their pocketbook and ask other coworkers to do the same.
    Cha ching.

  3. If you want to read the document that permitted the current guides, here it is: https://fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb5331510.pdf It is a fascinating read and explains why the forest uses have changed so drastically since these permits were allocated in 2010.

    Some of the jeep tours have over 10,000 tours permitted under their permit which is why they say that the Forest has reached capacity and our proposed use can not even be considered and is “locked out of the National Forest”. Our potential students are the losers under this policy since they will not experience the grandeur of the public lands around Sedona. The alternative privately owned locations often do not have the infrastructure that we have all PAID for with the Red Rock Pass Program: parking, pit toilets, a trail to discover the scenery, and the right to be there all day if you want.

  4. http://WWW.YCSOAZ.GOV

    This story link is in the NEWS & EVENTS on the home page. Click on the link to Verde Valley TV.

    Planning for Wildland Area Evacuations/Emergency Notification

    A very important discussion with YCSO Captain Jeff Newnum and Incident Management Team Member Jim Miller regarding evacuation issues, preparedness, and emergency notification. Please watch to gain an understanding of how you can better prepare for such an emergency and what to expect in that emergency.

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