A Thousand Trails: Is it safe outside Cottonwood, Arizona?
Back in late 2015 some unfortunate events and a long-lasting housing shortage led to having to go stay within the Verde Valley in my 40-foot travel trailer along with the rest of my family as we awaited available housing. During the long wait, we decided to stay in the same area at a place called, “A Thousand Trails.” Just off US Highway 260 on East Thousand Trails road less than a mile outside of Cottonwood, Arizona is the 2-week limit Camping and RV free of any fees stay area open to the general public.
Times have always been a little tuff in the desert but it seems like over the last few years they have been getting harder and harder for many people to make it. For whatever reason, like the hard times of a sinking economy, many have taken to their vehicle packing their belongings in travel trailers where they find strategic places to park for free like Walmart or either park in a trailer park with hook-ups which are always filled up with year-long waiting lists.
The brief stay at A Thousand Trails, for the most part, wasn’t a very bad one at all for myself or family where we met all different kinds of people from all kinds of walks of life but were mostly lower class including the poor staying in tents. Due to meeting some of these fellow campers, some down and out clearly on something, we decided to always have someone stay where we were parked to guard our trailers and vehicles at all times, especially after hearing people complain there was a lot of thefts.
“For some reason, common sense spoke ever boldly nothing would be safe unattended.”
It wasn’t long before I witnessed some of the oddest behavior when a truck came and dropped off a cab over camper in the middle of the night which everyone for hundreds of yards could hear when it opened up the 4 barrel with headers leaving whatever it dumped off behind really fast throwing rooster tails of dirt in the air while digging ruts. For a couple of days, I periodically saw someone go in and out of the small dwelling with long hair not knowing whether it was a man or a woman.
Then the next thing you know it looked like someone had broken into the place for the door was left open and trash was left all over. Looked around for someone to show up but nobody did. Then by the next morning, someone had taken the door, windows, steel stabilizer beams lowering the camper to the ground, and started taking the aluminum siding off all in the cover of darkness. I was shocked and perplexed there were people who would not only break in and rob the place scattering trash containing hypodermic needles all over but that there was actually others who would then within such a short period of time come in and help themselves to the leftovers like vultures on a dead carcass.
After spending a week picking up the trash, needles, and other things scattered all over in the area of the camper which the local wildlife had helped scatter bagging it all up I decided to see if I could find the owner by walking around and speaking to some of the other campers in the area. Nobody had heard or seen anything. Years in security taught me to just make some observations by snapping a few photos logging what I saw which to me was odd for this area. For one I noticed and so did my family there was a lot of people staying in a tent, inside a vehicle, camper, or RV.
Homelessness itself is a traumatic experience leading to issues like stress, mental instability, and other symptoms/causes which often lead to substance abuse. Addiction and mental health issues are one of the leading causes of homelessness where people end up in a vicious cycle of poverty and crime.
Most of the unwanted people considered societies rejects are often forced to live on the outskirts of town in tents under these types of circumstances. According to a United Nations representative, Philip Alston, who reported on the PBS News Hour weekend report stating:
“Homelessness is and has been systematically on the rise over the last few years where it is becoming criminalized.”
To my utter surprise the next day the morning light brought with it the sign showing more nocturnal creatures had come and disassembled the camper into a pile of rubble sometime in the night leaving only wood. It was clear to me something was not right at all. Then the next day another longer trailer appeared in the middle of the night and the exact same thing happened to it as well.
No question just outside of Cottonwood, Arizona something strange is happening on public lands leaving the question of whether or not it is safe for people and their personal property. It was very clear from having walked around speaking to the other people in the area that there were more people going through economic hardships some of which were homeless and or using drugs. Not all but about half. The police were called out to the area a couple of times while I stayed with my family whose instincts were right about leaving someone behind at all times to guard our property. We did see and were questioned by US Forest Service agents who drilled us with questions and wrote down our license plate numbers.
In addition to property becoming mysteriously dismantled there was a great deal of trash scattered all over the area. Since there is no bathroom in the region you find lots of human and animal waste periodically and the smell of urine. Recently it seems the problem has become so bad the Forest Service has started blocking off road access into some areas.
Using large boulders road access into the largest portion of a Thousand Trails has been blocked off. There are no signs or anything stating why this happened but from the foregoing, it's pretty clear why the authorities did what they did something strange most people have not even heard about has been happening just outside town. Remarkably even into 2019, there are still peoples trailers being dismantled out on the outskirts of town in the cover of darkness. Where are and what happened to the people who owned these trailers is something to ponder? Are they disappearing? If they were arrested than most likely law enforcement officials would have whatever it was the person owned towed and the area cleaned up.
To my surprise again there was another pile of rubble left close to the same place a few years later when I passed by the area. The fact there is now huge boulders prohibiting entry to the area clearly states there is some kind of problem taking place in this area of which the US Forest Service and other law enforcement officials are well aware of and have been taking drastic steps to stop whatever has been occurring in this area from further continuing.
What on earth has been taking place just outside the city of Cottonwood is anyone's guess at this point but one thing is for sure the issue has not only attracted the attention of the authorities who have by all indication declared by their actions the area is not a place to leave a travel trailer, tent, etc., clearly stating it is not safe for some reason to leave your personal property unprotected less than a mile outside of Cottonwood.
Is this a homeless/drug problem or perhaps something else connected to why people are reportedly going missing in the region? Or is the area a dumping ground for the poor? One thing is for sure something odd and strange is taking place just outside town at a place called “A Thousand Trail” which are being closed off to the general public. Something strange is indeed taking place when taken into consideration with what is presented in the Verde Valley Vortex where people are vanishing in an area having a very high rate of people going missing almost top in the nation and there is indeed a full-blown mystery worthy of notice for this is US Forest Service land and they don’t keep track of missing persons.