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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Saguaro National Park

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The park is divided into two sections, called districts, lying approximately 20 miles 32 km east and 24 km west of the center of the city of Tucson, Arizona. The total area in 2010 was 91,440 acres of which 70,905 acres are designated wilderness. There is a visitor center in each of the two districts. Both are easily reached by car from Tucson, but there is no public transport into the park. Both districts conserve fine tracts of the Sonoran Desert, including ranges of significant hills, the Tucson Mountains in the west and the Rincon Mountains in the east.

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Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

The park gets its name from the saguaro, a large cactus which is native to the region. Many other kinds of cactus, including barrel, cholla, and prickly pear, are abundant in the park. One endangered animal, the Lesser Long-nosed Bat, lives in the park part of the year during its migration, together with one threatened species, the Mexican Spotted Owl.

The park was proclaimed as Saguaro National Monument on March 1, 1933 by President Herbert Hoover, and redesigned a national park on October 14, 1994. Facilities in the park include 240 km of well-marked and maintained hiking trails, and shorter walking trails with interpretative information available. Backcountry hiking is not advisable during the hot summer months.

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