The Accessible Trails network in Madera Canyon south of Tucson - popular with hikers as well as handicapped users - will be closed for extended periods through Aug. 24.

The temporary closures are necessary to facilitate trail repairs and improvements, said Heidi Schewel of the U.S. Forest Service.

"These trails have had sustained use over time. This work is needed to preserve the trails and to preserve visitor enjoyment and safety," Schewel said.

The paved trails include a 0.7-mile loop beginning at the Proctor Road parking area and a half-mile route starting at the Whitehouse Picnic Area. The sites are near the entrance to Madera Canyon, which is about 40 miles south of Tucson.

"Existing asphalt pavement will be cleaned. Cracks will be sealed, and potholes will be patched prior to placement of a seal coat," Schewel said.

She said other work will include making a restroom at the Whitehouse Picnic Area accessible to all users.

Individual trail segments will be closed for up to two weeks while crews are working - and then reopened when crews move on to another segment.

Closure locations and dates will be posted at least three days in advance at trail access points, Schewel said.

Funding for the $50,000 project includes $39,000 from the Friends of Madera Canyon and $11,000 from the Coronado National Forest recreation fee program. "The Friends of Madera Canyon have really helped with a lot of major projects," Schewel said. "Their partnership is highly valued and very much appreciated."

Did you know?

Madera Canyon became part of the National Forest System in 1905.

Get to the trails

To reach the Accessible Trails from Tucson, take Interstate 19 south to Green Valley and get off at the Continental Exit. Continue southeast to Madera Canyon and the Proctor Road parking area. One trail segment begins there. Another starts at the nearby Whitehouse Picnic Area.

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at or at 573-4192.