Apache County, Arizona


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Acting On Local Jurisdiction

Doyel Shamley and others deserve credit for uncovering, studying, and acting upon information about federal jurisdiction. A resident of Apache County, Arizona, Shamley was able to get his county to pass two resolutions in which his county asserted its Constitutional right to start managing the forests in its area.

You have every right to expect your county representatives to take similar measure to protect you and your county’s rights and interests.


In its first resolution, the Apache County Board of Supervisors asserted the County’s exclusive authority over certain roads, rights-of-way and routes of travel on lands managed by the U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management.

  1. Here are a few excerpts:

  2. NOW THEREFORE, hereby be it resolved that The Board of Supervisors of Apache County hereby asserts its inherent right to control and manage the roads, rights-of-way and routes of travel located within the United States Forest Service land and Bureau of Land Management land located within the boundaries of Apache County but not located on any nationally recognized Indian reservation, tribal trust land, or otherwise located on Indian Country; and

  3. ...

  4. BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED that any existing physical obstructions, gates or other impediments on any roads, rights-of-way or routes of travel located on National Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management lands be immediately removed. The Apache County Sheriff is directed to ensure the removal of such obstructions or to execute such removals at the expense of the persons or agencies responsible for their placement or maintenance. Placing or maintaining any unauthorized physical obstruction, gate or other impediment on, in or around any road, route o f travel or right-of way in Apache County as described herein so as to prevent or impede the free use ofthat road, route oftravel or right-of-way is hereby designated a Class Two Misdemeanor and punishable pursuant to Title J3 of the Arizona Revised Statutes ...”

In its second resolution, the County Board of Supervisors declared a state of emergency regarding the federal mismanagement of the local forests, and declared in no uncertain terms its intent to remedy these problems with or without the federal government’s support.

  1. Here are the resolutions that were passed:

  2. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Supervisors of Apache County hereby formally demands that State and Federal officials take immediate action to eliminate hazardous conditions in and around the communities and watersheds in and around the Apache-Sitgreaves national Forest and any other Federally Managed land in Apache County, including the Wildland Urban interface areas identified as critical in the Apache County Community Wildfire Protection Plan; and

  3. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Supervisors of Apache County invoking the inherent police powers of the state hereby formally gives notice to all relevant State and Federal officials that pursuant to its duty outlined above, after consulting with the State Forester and the Regional United States Forester, taking surveys, holding those public hearings as may be necessary and developing a plan to mitigate the effects of the disaster and as a county in which a disaster has been declared, we intend to unilaterally take such actions as are necessary to clear and thin undergrowth and to remove or log fire-damaged trees within the area of the disaster and to assess all attendant costs to those agencies charged with wise management of our forests and whose neglect has caused the dangerous conditions therein;

  4. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this Resolution be called immediately to the attention of the Secretary of Agriculture, Arizona Congressional Delegation, Governor Jan Brewer, the Arizona Legislature and the Arizona Division of Emergency Management, and

  5. BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Governor of the State of Arizona and the Arizona Division of Emergency Management are hereby called upon in the name of the State of Arizona to declare a State of Emergency and Disaster in Apache County and its national forests effected by severe drought conditions, high fire danger and catastrophic losses caused by wild fires; and

  6. BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED, that United States Forest Service personnel are hereby called upon to immediately respond to the communication, consultation and coordination with, and provide immediate notification to Apache County of all their activities, programs, planning, NEPA processes etc. having as their object to abate tire and flooding dangers in Apache County; and

  7. BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED, that the Apache County Board of Supervisors calls upon the U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. Congress, the Arizona Legislature, and the Arizona Governor's office to immediately provide emergency funding to accomplish tree thinning, timber sales, dead tree removal, fuel-load reduction and livestock grazing to protect affected areas from catastrophic wildfire; and

  8. BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Supervisors of Apache County calls on State and Federal officials to immediately coordinate a meeting to address the issues raised by this resolution; and

  9. BE IT FUTHER RESOLVED that the Board of Supervisors of Apache County calls upon the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Congress to conduct an investigation to determine why the requirements of County, State and Federal ordinances, laws and regulations are not being routinely followed in relation to public safety, recreation, wildfire and economic issues of Apache County forest lands and other federally managed lands.


The County was not bluffing. It acted upon its resolutions. Here are information and photos about the first project, and a related press release. A second, much larger project is being planned.

Doyel Shamley subsequently testified before the House Natural Resources Committee, which held up the project as a model for other counties and states to follow. It is possible legislative action will lead to a floor vote on a bill that, if passed, would have national impact.

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The Apache County Story

Apache County, Arizona is proof that jurisdiction can be used to create jobs, restore prosperity, and protect families.

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