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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Campers, hikers and other recreationists will be barred from parts of a national forest in Arizona this summer, forcing many to change their outdoor plans for Memorial Day weekend.

Forest officials announced Friday that six large swaths of the Coconino National Forest would temporarily close to the public Wednesday as authorities work to prevent wildfires, the Arizona Daily Sun reported .

The forest closures will also shut down 10 Forest Service campgrounds and a number of trails and roads.

Brian and Dee Hill were among the campers at the Canyon Vista Campground on Monday. The Phoenix couple had intended to stay at the campground south of Flagstaff for a couple of weeks, but they were informed it will be shutting down.

“It was a little bit of a shock; we’re not sure where to go for Memorial Day now because everything is so crowded,” Brian Hill said.

Ray Hemmele was riding his mountain bike in the Schultz Creek area on Monday. He plans to start biking on other trails as the closures go into effect.

“It’s a small price to pay,” Hemmele said. “I would rather have a forest to come recreate and ride in than have one that’s burned down.”

Employees of Flagstaff Bike Revolution have been telling customers to use the trails near Sedona when the Flagstaff-area ones close. The shop expects the closures to affect business, but store service manager Geoffrey Whittaker said it’s a “necessary evil.”

The concessionaire Recreation Resource Management operates several of the Forest Service campgrounds that will be closed. The company expects to take a hit as summer is its only profitable time of year, said Warren Meyer, the concessionaire’s president.

“We’ve been through this before. We’ll survive, but I worry about my folks,” Meyer said. He said he is looking for other places for his employees to work while the campgrounds are closed.


Information from: Arizona Daily Sun,