Story at a glance
- Forest protection personnel noticed the party when they found that partygoers had blocked vehicle access on primary routes.
- More than 5,000 people showed up, placing the public, Forest Service personnel and first responders “at risk.”
- One person was airlifted to a hospital after an off-road vehicle collision.
A massive party with more than 5,000 in attendance was broken up last weeked in Arizona’s Tonto National Forest.
Forest protection personnel noticed the party when they found that partygoers had blocked vehicle access on primary routes and designed directions to the gathering, according to the U.S. Forest Service.
“Numerous Forest Protection Officers were out patrolling Lower Sycamore Saturday night when a surge of people came to attend this unauthorized event. Over 5,000 people showed up placing the public, Forest Service personnel and first responders at risk,” the U.S. Forest Service said in a statement.
The service asked for the community’s help by reporting further illegal activity.
Officials reported a host of illegal activities, including drunk driving, speeding, theft, target shooting and setting off fireworks. One person was airlifted to a hospital after an off-road vehicle collision, and in total, seven crashes were reported.
"There were, you know, DUIs. There were plenty of tickets issued for riding two up on ATVs. Not wearing helmets for children," Susan Blake with the Tonto National Forest told a local CBS affiliate.
Scott Garlid with the Arizona Wildlife Federation told the affiliate that the organization supports off-roading, but urged caution and awareness of other forms of life.
"Off-roading is something that we support as an organization. It's something that a lot of Arizonans enjoy. But when you get that many people in one place, you're doing it to the detriment of other people who want to enjoy it and of course the wildlife itself," said Scott Garlid with the Arizona Wildlife Federation.
Blake told the outlet that she believes last weekend’s party was the largest ever recorded at Tonto National Forest.
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