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Help document riparian areas

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ORGANIZATION: Friends of the Tonto National Forest

Riparian Photopoint 2

Started by the Forest Service in 1988, the Riparian Photopoint program documents riparian areas by taking photographs of the vegetation and streambanks once a year, at the same exact sites each year. The Forest, and ecologists who do research on the Tonto have come to depend upon information these photos provide - impacts by livestock, improvement in conditions through livestock management, wildlife impacts, results of flooding, fire and drought.

Photopoint season is from the beginning of April to the end of June. And we need volunteers! You don’t need a special camera, you can use your smart phone. You don’t need a GPS unit - most smart phones can have apps that will read out GPS coordinates. You don’t need a four-wheel drive vehicle (although if you have one there are some sites that require it!). If you like to get out, or if you need a good excuse to get out - here’s your opportunity!

Volunteers will select a site (or multiple sites) to photograph. You'll receive a packet with maps, instructions and previous photos so that you can replicate the image. When you are done, you upload the photos and we add them to the database. There are locations available throughout the Tonto National Forest in central Arizona and Northern Arizona.

Virtual training sessions will be held to provide you all the information you need and to answer all questions. These will be held on March 30th at 7 PM and April 4th at 7 PM. Let us know if you are interested and we can send more details.

This is a fun opportunity to get outdoors and visit some great spots in the Tonto National Forest! More information online:

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About Friends of the Tonto National Forest


4022 E Greenway Rd, Ste 11 # 348, Phoenix, AZ 85032, US

Mission Statement

Friends of the Tonto National Forest is a group of volunteers who assist the Forest Service in its critical mission of natural and cultural resource and visitor use management. We promote public understanding of the Tonto National Forest’s policies, programs and projects.


Friends of the Tonto National Forest was founded by a former Forest Service employee in order to help the Forest Service achieve the many projects that are being done. The Tonto is over 2.9 million acres, so managing it takes a lot of people! Friends of the Tonto organizes the following projects: Riparian Photopoint, Invasive Plant Removal, Milkweed for Monarchs, Cave Creek Trail System Maintenance, Water Source Inventory, Adopt-a-Site, and Archaeology.




We'll work with your schedule.


Multiple locations Phoenix, AZ 85032



  • Habitat Restoration
  • Environmental Education
  • Photography
  • Botany
  • Environmental Science


  • People 55+
  • Group


  • Must be at least 18
  • Orientation or Training
  • Time commitment varies depending on how many sites you would like to do & the distance the site is from your home. Some sites require a hike to get to, some can be accessed easily from the road. It is wise to plan a half day - full day to complete.

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