by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Organ Pipe Cactus

National Monument - Arizona

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a U.S. National Monument and UNESCO biosphere reserve located in extreme southern Arizona which shares a border with the Mexican state of Sonora.

maps

Official visitor map of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Organ Pipe Cactus - Visitor Map

Official visitor map of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Detail of the official visitor map of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Organ Pipe Cactus - Visitor Map Detail

Detail of the official visitor map of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units

Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Park Units and Regions

Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).National Park System - National Heritage Areas

Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Pima and Santa Cruz County Map of Arizona Surface Management Responsibility. Published by Arizona State Land Department and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).AZ Surface Management Responsibility - Pima and Santa Cruz County

Pima and Santa Cruz County Map of Arizona Surface Management Responsibility. Published by Arizona State Land Department and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

Statewide Map of Arizona Surface Management Responsibility. Published by Arizona State Land Department and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).AZ Surface Management Responsibility - Arizona State

Statewide Map of Arizona Surface Management Responsibility. Published by Arizona State Land Department and U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM).

brochures

Visitor Guide to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Organ Pipe Cactus - Guide 2017/2018

Visitor Guide to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Organ Pipe Cacti - Our Namesake Cactus at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Organ Pipe Cactus - Organ Pipe Cacti-Our Namesake Cactus

Brochure about Organ Pipe Cacti - Our Namesake Cactus at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Saguaro Cactus at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Organ Pipe Cactus - Growth of a Saguaro Cactus

Brochure about Saguaro Cactus at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Snakes at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Organ Pipe Cactus - Snakes

Brochure about Snakes at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Brochure about Endangered Species at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Organ Pipe Cactus - Endangered Species

Brochure about Endangered Species at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Guide to Hiking Trails at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Organ Pipe Cactus - Guide to Hiking Trails

Guide to Hiking Trails at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument (NM) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

https://www.nps.gov/orpi https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Organ_Pipe_Cactus_National_Monument Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a U.S. National Monument and UNESCO biosphere reserve located in extreme southern Arizona which shares a border with the Mexican state of Sonora. Look closely. Look again. The sights and sounds of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, an International Biosphere Reserve, reveal a thriving community of plants and animals. Human stories echo throughout this desert preserve, chronicling thousands of years of desert living. A scenic drive, wilderness hike or a night of camping will expose you to a living desert that thrives. The Kris Eggle Visitor Center is located on Highway 85, approximately 25 miles south of Why, AZ. Kris Eggle Visitor Center Kris Eggle Visitor Center includes an information desk, nature trail, exhibit hall, 15 minute film, and a bookstore. The Kris Eggle Visitor Center is located approximately 25 miles south of Why, AZ on Highway 85. The Visitor Center is located 5 miles north of the Lukeville Port of Entry. Alamo Canyon Primitive Campground Primitive, 4 site campground at the mouth of Alamo Canyon. No RVs, trailers or generators. Alamo Canyon Camping Fee 12.00 Fee is per site, per night. Alamo Canyon Campground- Senior/Access Rate 6.00 Holders of the interagency senior or access pass are entitled to half price camping. tent at alamo canyon tent pitched on the ground at alamo canyon in front of saguaro and organ pipe cacti Tent campers flock to the primitive experience at Alamo Canyon Alamo Campground Campground site with a picnic table and standing grill, with mountains and canyon in the background Many visitors seeking seclusion and solitude enjoy the Alamo Canyon campground. Hiking Alamo Canyon Older male and female hiking on a desert trail From the campground you can access the picturesque Alamo Canyon trail. Twin Peaks Campground Twin Peaks Campground is the main, developed campground at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, located 1.5 miles from the Kris Eggle Visitor Center and Highway 85. Twin Peaks Campground has 34 tent-only sites and 174 sites for RVs. Several sites can accommodate RVs up to 45 feet in length. Restrooms have running water and a few have solar showers. Hookups for electricity, water, or sewer are not available. A dump station, with potable water is located past the last row of campsites. Twin Peaks Campground Fee 20.00 Per night, per site (camping fees are in addition to entry fees) Twin Peaks Campground Fee: Senior/ Access Pass 10.00 Per night, per site (camping fees are in addition to entry fees). Group Camping Fee 50.00 Fee per site, per night. Tent sites at Twin Peaks Campground man putting up an orange tent on a gravel tent pad in the desert Thirty-four sites are reserved for tent camping only, at the southern end of the campground. RV Sites at Twin Peaks Campground Male and female sit at a desert campground site with a camper van in the background Campers enjoy a relaxing afternoon at the Twin Peaks Campground. Twin Peaks Campground View of many RVs in campground, surrounded by desert landscape with mountains in the distance Campers at Twin Peaks Campground enjoy expansive views of the desert and the mountains in the distance Twin Peaks Campground Campsite with a picnic table, paved pad, raised grill, and blooming barrel cacti Campsite visitors have the opportunity to sleep under beautiful stars-scapes, up close to organ pipe cacti, and with beautiful views of desert mountains. Organ Pipe Cactus at sunset Organ pipe cactus and mountains at sunset Visit the only place in the U.S. where you can see large stands of organ pipe cacti. Organ Pipe Cactus sun setting on a green organ pipe cactus Experience the only place in the US where the Organ Pipe Cactus naturally grows Scenic views in Alamo Canyon View of Alamo Canyon trail, flanked by saguaros and vegetation with mountains in background Capture amazing views from trails and scenic drives Sonoran Pronghorn Sonoran pronghorn with cholla stuck to its face Experience the wildlife of the most biodiverse desert in North America Blooming saguaro cactus A saguaro cactus with white blooms, with reddish mountains in the background Experience the rich assemblage of cacti at Organ Pipe Cactus. It’s Alive! Biological Soil Crusts of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan Deserts It might come as a surprise to learn that in the sublime expanses of the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts, some of the most interesting life around can be found in the dirt right in front of your feet! Biological soil crusts form a living groundcover that is the foundation of desert plant life. Soil crust at White Sands National Monument Changes over 30 years in populations of the leafcutter ant Atta mexicana at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument: An analysis of long-term environmental impacts on population size and survival A social insect biologist analyzes longtime environmental impacts on population size and survival. A ranger-naturalist conducts an “ant walk” near the park visitor center (1987). Bat Projects in Parks: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Better training for employees means better chances for bats in Organ Pipe National Monument! Little bats hanging from a wood overhang Saguaro Cactus: Sentinel of the Southwest The saguaro cactus is the largest cactus in the U.S., commonly reaching 40 feet in height. The saguaro provides both food and shelter for a variety of desert species and plays an integral role in the culture of the Tohono O’odham people. It has been written that the saguaro can be ecologically connected to nearly every other organism in its range, including humans. Saguaro cacti at Saguaro National Park Organ Pipe Cactus The namesake species of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the organ pipe cactus is the second largest columnar cactus in the United States and can grow up to 23 feet tall. Organ pipe cactus Interdisciplinary Personnel Provide Value Support for Wildland Fire Efforts Nationwide Many of our interdisciplinary agency personnel Servicewide play a key role in supplementing agency fire staff and providing key skill sets for interagency wildland fire efforts nationwide. Personnel from all disciplines – fire management, resource management, visitor and resource protection, administration, facility management, even Superintendents – help support wildland fire activities throughout the year. Three firefighters standing in a field looking into the smoke and sun from a wildfire. NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. [Site Under Development] organ pipe cactus silhouetted at sunset Monitoring Upland Vegetation and Soils in the Sonoran Desert and Chihuahuan Desert Networks Vegetation and soils are two of many natural resources monitored by the National Park Service (NPS) Division of Inventory & Monitoring (I&M). Learning about vegetation dynamics helps us to better understand the integrity of ecological processes, productivity trends, and ecosystem interactions that can otherwise be difficult to monitor. In NPS units of the American Southwest, three I&M networks monitor vegetation and soils using the scientific protocol described here. Quadrat used for biological soil crust sampling Wildland Fire in Chaparral: California and Southwestern United States Chaparral is a general term that applies to various types of brushland found in southern California and the southwestern U.S. This community contains the most flammable type of vegetation found in the United States. Chaparral on steep rocky slopes. Native Peoples of the Sonoran Desert: The O'odham The O'odham people (also known as the Pima) occupied a region spanning hundreds of square miles of what is now Arizona and Sonora. group photo of O'odham people standing in front of mission church Pollinators - Lesser Long-nose bat Get batty over Lesser Long-nose bats! With tongues as long as their bodies, lesser long-nosed bats (Leptonycteris yerbabuena) are unsung heroes in maintaining fragile desert ecosystems. A researcher's gloved hand holds a brown Lesser Long-nose bat Southern Basin and Range The Southern Basin and Range is an extension of the Basin and Range Province centered on Nevada and the Great Basin and extending from southern Oregon to western Texas, and into northwest Mexico. Mountains and Desert in Guadalupe Mountains National Park Climate Monitoring in the Southern Plains, Sonoran Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert Climate is one of many ecological indicators monitored by the National Park Service (NPS) Division of Inventory & Monitoring (I&M). Climate data help scientists to understand ecosystem processes and help to explain many of the patterns and trends observed in other natural-resource monitoring. In NPS units of the American Southwest, three I&M networks monitor climate using the scientific protocol described here. Kayaking across a fl ooded parking lot, Chickasaw NRA, July 2007. Saguaro Cactus Growth The saguaro cactus is the signature plant of the Sonoran Desert. This stately giant is not only unique in appearance, it is also unique in its biology and ecological niche. blooming saguaro Climate and Water Monitoring at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Water Year 2018 At Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, springs and tinajas provide important ecosystem services for one of the most biologically diverse protected areas in the Sonoran Desert. The Sonoran Desert Network monitors climate, groundwater, and springs at this park. Understanding changes in these closely linked factors helps managers make informed decisions affecting both natural and cultural resources. Learn about our recent findings. Woman in NPS uniform crouches next to a tinaja, holding a probe wired to an electronic unit. Plant Responses to Climate Change in the Sonoran Desert: Recent Research and Findings Under the effects of climate change, the Sonoran Desert is expected to become hotter and drier. These changes are likely to have strong impacts on the abundance and distribution of the region's plant species. A recent study used long-term vegetation monitoring results across two national parks and two research sites to determine how Sonoran Desert plant species have responded to past climate variability. Mesquite savanna Tortillas de harina (Flour Tortillas) What exactly are tortillas? How big are they? Of what are they made? How should they be made? These are questions that can spark much discussion and debate, even among tortilla makers themselves. The important thing is that none of this really matters - they are good, as you will be able to assert for yourself when you eat one made fresh by a Tumacácori demonstrator or in your own kitchen. Tortilla demonstrator in front of Tumacácori mission church Series: Geologic Time Periods in the Cenozoic Era The Cenozoic Era (66 million years ago [MYA] through today) is the "Age of Mammals." North America’s characteristic landscapes began to develop during the Cenozoic. Birds and mammals rose in prominence after the extinction of giant reptiles. Common Cenozoic fossils include cat-like carnivores and early horses, as well as ice age woolly mammoths. fossils on display at a visitor center Series: National Park Service Geodiversity Atlas The servicewide Geodiversity Atlas provides information on <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geoheritage-conservation.htm">geoheritage</a> and <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/geodiversity.htm">geodiversity</a> resources and values all across the National Park System to support science-based management and education. The <a href="https://www.nps.gov/orgs/1088/index.htm">NPS Geologic Resources Division</a> and many parks work with National and International <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/geology/park-geology.htm">geoconservation</a> communities to ensure that NPS abiotic resources are managed using the highest standards and best practices available. park scene mountains Series: Defining the Southwest The Southwest has a special place in the American imagination – one filled with canyon lands, cacti, roadrunners, perpetual desert heat, a glaring sun, and the unfolding of history in places like Tombstone and Santa Fe. In the American mind, the Southwest is a place without boundaries – a land with its own style and its own pace – a land that ultimately defies a single definition. Maize agriculture is one component of a general cultural definition of the Southwest. Neogene Period—23.0 to 2.58 MYA Some of the finest Neogene fossils on the planet are found in the rocks of Agate Fossil Beds and Hagerman Fossil Beds national monuments. fossils on display in a visitor center Cenozoic Era The Cenozoic Era (66 million years ago [MYA] through today) is the "Age of Mammals." North America’s characteristic landscapes began to develop during the Cenozoic. Birds and mammals rose in prominence after the extinction of giant reptiles. Common Cenozoic fossils include cat-like carnivores and early horses, as well as ice age woolly mammoths. fossils on display in a visitor center Series: Native Peoples of the Sonoran Desert Who were the original inhabitants of the Sonoran desert and how did they adapt to the world-changing arrival of Spanish colonists? folklórico dancers with a series of different flags including Arizona and Tohono O'odham The Heliograph: 2020 Edition The Heliograph is the official newsletter of the Sonoran Desert Network and Desert Research Learning Center. This issue features stories on how we adapted our operations to minimize field work lost to the covid-19 pandemic, vegetation mapping at Saguaro NP, and communication improvements and opportunities for network parks. We also probe the minds of our interns and celebrate a high honor for our program manager. heliograph Top Ten Tips for Visiting Organ Pipe Plan Like a Park Ranger! Here are our top 10 tips to plan an enjoyable, safe, and memorable trip to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Ranger Donna looks up, with finger point to her chin as if pondering a question. The Heliograph: Summer 2021 The Heliograph is the official newsletter of the Sonoran Desert Network and Desert Research Learning Center. This issue shares predictive tools and planning processes that can help park managers make proactive decisions in the face of climate change. We also explore some explanations for this spring's highly unusual saguaro bloom, celebrate our staff members, and provide updates on our monitoring projects. heliograph
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior December 2017 - November 2018 Visitor Guide A True Desert Experience Awaits WH E T H E R YOU A R E H E R E F OR T WO HOU R S OR T WO weeks, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the monument. Any trip should start at the Kris Eggle Visitor Center. A fifteen minute movie, exhibits, and park rangers are available to answer your questions. Welcome No matter how long your stay, there are many treasures awaiting your discovery. Take the time to explore the spirit and secrets of the park. The variety of plants and animals found in the desert is astounding. I hope you will take advantage of our exhibits and ranger programs and learn about the fascinating ways that plants and animals have adapted to living in the Sonoran Desert. 2 Hours or less: • • • Stop by the Kris Eggle Visitor Center, watch the 15 minute film, explore the exhibit hall, and stroll the nature trail. Drive the North Puerto Blanco Drive to the Pinkley Peak Picnic Area (10 miles round-trip) for great views of the desert and cacti. Do a short hike near the campground. Camping, hiking, birding, photography, exploring – the list of ways to enjoy and understand Organ Pipe Cactus’s natural beauty and history is unlimited. Experience your America, make Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument your own special place, and have a safe and memorable visit. 2-4 Hours: • Tour the Ajo Mountain Scenic Loop, a 21 mile round-trip graded dirt road. Be sure to pick up a free road guide at the Kris Eggle Visitor Center. • Take a moderate hike in the Senita Basin area. • Attend a ranger led hike or location talk. • Visit Quitobaquito Springs. All Day: • • • • A visit to Organ Pipe Cactus can begin a lifetime of experiences enjoying your national parks. As we begin the next 100 years of preservation and stewardship, we invite you to Find Your Park, no matter where that may be, and to be inspired by all of these special places. Drive the Puerto Blanco Scenic loop. This trip will take 4-6 hours, and a high clearance 4WD vehicle is required. Explore the Ajo Mountain Scenic Drive and hike the Bull Pasture/Estes Canyon Loop Trail. Visit Quitobaquito Springs. Join a Ranger for a guided van tour. One day not enough? Stay the night at Organ Pipe Cactus and experience the calmness of the desert after dark. Camping is available at Twin Peaks Campground. Primitive and backcountry camping is also available. During day or night, the Sonoran Desert beckons to be explored. Take one of the many scenic drives at different times of the day to see the interplay of sun and shadow across the landscape. Inside: Services / Special Programs ........................2 Hiking & Camping Guide ........................6,7 Night Skies ............................................ 11 Ranger Programs/ Hiker Shuttles ..............3 Plant Information .......................................8 Map of Monument ....................................12 Scenic Drives ..............................................4 Flower Guide...............................................9 Adventure Guide & Safety ..........................5 Bird Guide ................................................ 10 2 National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Protecting 516 square miles of Sonoran Desert, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a sanctuary for diverse species, some endangered. The park was established by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1937 and has since been recognized as a Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations. Over 95 percent of Organ Pipe Cactus is designated Wilderness. Come explore the wonders and the wild of the Sonoran Desert! Superintendent Mailing Address Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument 10 Organ Pipe Drive Ajo, AZ 85321-9626 Phone 520-387-6849 E-mail orpi_information@nps.gov Web site http://www.nps.gov/orpi Facebook http://www.facebook.com/ OrganPipeNPS The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage. Information and Services Accessibility Emergencies For 24-hour emergency response, call 911. The closest medical clinic is the Desert Senita Community Health Center in Ajo, 520387-5651. The closest hospitals are in Phoenix and Tucson. Visitor Center The Kris Eggle Visitor Center, restrooms, and 1⁄10-mile nature trail are fully accessible, Certain ranger programs are accessible. Ask for an accessibility brochure at the Visitor Center. Lost and Found Contact the Kris Eggle Visitor Center at 520-387-6849 ext. 7302. Firearms As of Feb. 22, 2010, fires are permitted only federal law allows people in campground fire grills who can legally possess using pressed logs, charcoal, firearms under federal, or firewood. Wood fires Arizona and local laws to are prohibited at Alamo possess firearms in Organ Campground. Gathering dead Pipe Cactus National or down wood is prohibit
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Organ Pipe Cactus Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Our Namesake Cactus Living in one of the harshest ecosystems is not an easy task. The Sonoran Desert is a land of extremes - scorching summer temperatures, long periods of drought, strong wind storms, cold winter nights and torrential summer monsoons- a desert plant has to adapt to handle it all. The organ pipe cactus is one of the few plants that is adapted to thrive in this harsh, yet nourishing landscape. This plant is perfectly suited for this section of the Sonoran Desert, that you are unlikely to find this plant naturally growing in the United States outside of the of the national monument. A Plant of Different Names The O’odham people of southern Arizona are experts at living off the land. To these early cultures, the organ pipe cactus or chuhuis, was a survival tool that provided construction material and high calorie fruit that could easily be turned into preserves, syrup, and wine. When the harvest season arrived, it was a time of great joy, when all other chores were abandoned to revel in the harvest. During the harvest festivities, all other ventures would be temporarily halted, including farming and religious duties, to fully celebrate the harvest with song and dance. The fruit is so important that the O’odham calendar revolves around the lifecycle of the chuhuis. As the first European pioneers ventured west in the 17th century, they encountered the chuhuis, and to them- it looked familiar. When looking at the exposed skeleton of the chuhuis, the pioneers were reminded of the large musical pipe organs that adorn the cathedrals of Europe. To them, the chuhuis was now known as the organ pipe cactus. Tropical Migration The organ pipe cactus is a tropical plant, and was originally only found in the tropics of Central America, where the warm, wet climate helped the sensitive plant thrive. When the last Ice Age ended, the global climate warmed and the cactus slowly began migrating farther north, arriving in North America 3,500 years ago. Here, the organ pipe cacti were exposed to colder winter nights, with occasional sub-freezing temperatures, preventing its range from extending any further. Sub-freezing temperatures will kill young tissue at the top of the stems. If the freeze is short, the cacti will survive with only the Skeleton of an organ pipe cactus. These European explorers were eager to try the wine, jelly and dried fruit made from the organ pipe cactus fruit, and observed the festivals with curiousity. Today, during the summer harvest season, you can see modern day O’odham tribal members harvesting the chuhuis fruit within the monument to continue their deep connections with this plant that has been here for thousands of years. scar of a bumpy stem, while prolonged freezing temperatures will kill the entire plant. Here at the northern limit of the organ pipe cacti’s range, cold winter temperatures are infrequent, yet still occur. Within the Monument, organ pipe cacti favor warm locations such as the dark volcanic rocks on southwest facing hillsides. During daylight these rocks absorb solar heat and release the heat at night, wrapping the tropical cactus in blankets of warm air. Some of the most impressive groves of organ pipe cacti are found on the southwest facing slopes along the Ajo Mountain Drive and campground access road. Frost-damaged organ pipe stem. 3 Feet Tall 20 Years First Stem 30 Years First Flower 6 1/2 Feet Tall 35 Years 4–10 Arms 8 Feet Tall 45 Years Full Height 15 Feet 80 Years Age based upon average annual growth of 2.5 inches per stem Growth and Features The organ pipe cactus is a slow growing plant. On average, the plant will only grow 2.5 inches per year - with greatest growth occuring during the summer monsoons. For the first 10 years, the plant will be no bigger than a few inches, and is prone to trampling by animals or being washed out by heavy monsoon storms. Very few organ pipe cacti will Sweet, Sweet Nectar When a cactus reaches around 35 years old, it will begin to produce flowers. Every June, the organ pipe cactus will produce cream and lavender tinged flowers. The blooming season will last for a few weeks, but is dependent on the timing of winter rains.These flowers are a few inches in diameter, and will grow from the top third of the stems. These flowers will only open at night, and close by early morning, leaving very little time for daytime pollinators like bees and birds to feed on the sweet nectar. What Does the Future Hold? Over the last 200 years, the temperature of the earth has increased at an unparalelled rate. While the concept of climate change is controversial, two facts are clear; temperatures have increased faster than ever recorded, and humans are having a direct impact on the earth’s climate. Already, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument has observed changes in climate including altered monsoon seasons, less winter
National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Organ Pipe Cactus Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Saguaro Cactus One Inch tall 10 years One Foot tall 30 years 3 Feet tall 50 years First Flowers 6 1/2 feet tall 70 years First Arm 15–16 feet tall 95–100 years Full height 43 feet 200 years Age based upon average annual growth within the monument. A single saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) can produce millions of seeds in its lifetime (estimated 20–40 Millions). Only a few of these seeds actually sprout. Even fewer grow to maturity. The most successful cactus begins its growth under the shade of a lar­ger plant, commonly called a nurse plant. Almost any plant can become a nurse plant. Shade from the nurse plant protects the delicate cactus seedling from temperature extremes and How Old Is It? sunburn. Shaded soil holds moisture longer. Slowly decaying leaf litter adds nutrients. Leaf litter hides the tender young plant from hungry birds or animals seeking a juicy bite of salad. The saguaro cactus seedling grows best in this protected, humid environment and enriched soil beneath its nurse plant. It grows very, very slowly. No one knows for certain. Estimating the age of a cactus is difficult. There are no annual growth rings, as there are in trees. Rainfall, soil conditions and exposure to sunlight all influence the rate of growth for a saguaro cacti. Long-term scientific studies plus photographic records and other data aid researchers in estimating the age of saguaro cactus. The data used here was determined from saguaro growing at the mouth of Alamo Canyon within the monument. Age and height relationships will vary in other parts of the Monument and in other parts of the Sonoran Desert. For instance, in a wetter environment such as that on the east side of Saguaro National Park in Tucson, growth rate is faster. A cactus one inch tall may be only six years old. It may reach a full height of 46 feet in merely 173 years. All data from studies by Warren F. Steenbergh and Charles H. Lowe, Ecology of the Saguaro: III. Growth and Demography. NPS Scientific Monograph Series 17, 1983 EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA © CREDIT 2015 - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. How Does It Grow?
Organ Pipe Cactus National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Snakes Life as a Snake As the hot desert sun fades over the horizon, the snake slowly slithers onto a rock and greedily soaks up its warmth. With warmth comes alertness and hunger. A long forked tongue flickers in the air, tasting the breeze; food is nearby. Coiling its body, the snake waits in anticipation. Suddenly, the cry of a hawk splits the stillness - danger is approaching. The snake slides off the rock into a crevice for safety. For today, the hunter lives to hunt another day. Ever present in the lives of all creatures is the circle of life. The Hunter and the Hunted Patient predators of stealth and silence, snakes lie motionless for hours waiting for dinner to walk past. With intricately patterned skin, snakes are well camouflaged to blend in with the surrounding rock and vegetation, the perfect disguise to fool unsuspecting prey. Small creatures like mice, rats, birds and lizards are on a snake’s menu. Most snakes wait for prey to wander within reach and launch themselves out of hiding. Then they either swallow their prey alive or constrict it to death before eating. Senses Snake senses are specialized to detect prey. When snakes slither out to find a hunting spot, you might see their tongue flickering in and out. Snakes use their tongue to smell. When they lick the air, tiny microscopic particles stick to their tongue and are transferred to a sensitive spot in their mouth called the Jacobson’s organ. This organ sends information to the brain to identify scents as enemy, mate, or food. In addition to smell, snakes use eyesight to spot prey. While their distance vision is not very good beyond 40 feet, closer objects are in sharp focus so a snake can easily spot potential food. If you have a chance to see a snake closeup, you may notice snakes have pupils of different shapes. Snakes with round pupils are active during the day and snakes with elliptical pupils, which capture a How does Venom Work? Snakes kill their prey using a variety of techniques, but some snakes use venom. Venom is a poison which is stored inside hollow fangs. When a snake sinks its fangs into prey, venom is released EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Some species, such as the Sidewinder, take a more aggressive approach to hunting. They will flush prey out of the bushes and actively pursue their meal, until it is within striking distance. Snakes are hunters, but they are also the hunted. Here at Organ Pipe Cactus eagles, hawks and roadrunners rely on snakes as their primary food source. Being cold-blooded a snake must sun itself every day to raise its body temperature high enough to function properly. During these times snakes are the most vulnerable to predators, for they are slow, sluggish and exposed in open areas. . lot of light, are active mostly at night. Some snakes have special adaptations to help them hunt in the dark. Pit vipers (including rattlesnakes) have little pits below their nostrils that can sense infrared thermal radiation and help the snake detect warm-blooded prey. These heatsensing pits are so sensitive a pit viper can hunt in total darkness, effectively “seeing” its prey in the infrared. Can snakes hear? If you look at a snake carefully, you will not be able to find ears. That’s because snakes do not have outer ears. Instead they “listen” to vibrations in the ground, which are sent by bone to the inner ear. This helps a snake detect small prey items walking in the area. into the victim’s wound. Most small animals are immediately stunned, allowing time for the snake to swallow the victim whole. Venom also aids in digestion, quickly breaking down the tissues of the prey. What Snake Will I See? Western Patch-Nosed Snake Salvadora hexalepis Docile and slender, this snake reaches lengths of 1-3 feet. A wide yellow stripe with a dark border runs down the center of its back. This snake uses its unique patch-like nose to burrow into the soil. Sonoran Whipsnake Masticophis bilineatus Slender in shape, this snake reaches lengths of 2-5 feet. Olive green to bluish-gray in color; this snake has 2-3 stripes running along either side of the body. This is a fast moving snake, primarily active in the early morning. Long-Nosed Snake Rhinocheilus lecontei This slender snake reaches lengths of up to 3 feet. There is a bit of variation in pattern and color, most are banded or blotched with black, white and usually red. This is a snake easily confused with the venomous coral snake. It is differentiated by its long nose and body bands which do not completely encircle the body like those of a coral snake. Bull Snake (Gopher Snake) Pitouphis melanoleucus This is a large, heavy bodied snake. It can grow up to 9 feet long, but usually only reaches lengths of 4 feet. The skin is a pale yellow or cream shade with brown or reddish blotches. A dark stripe runs from in front of the eye to the angle of the jaw. It is one of t
Organ Pipe Cactus National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Endangered Species The Act The Endangered Species Act of 1973 was passed by The United States Congress because unregulated development and economic growth were impacting certain plant and animal populations. The Act recognized that many species were at risk of extinction because of these factors, and declared “these species of fish, wildlife, and plants are of esthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific value to the Nation and its people.” Here at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, there are both plants (flora) and animals (fauna) that are listed under the Endangered Species Act. Impacted Species Sonoran pronghorn are native to the valleys of the Sonoran Desert. They have light brown sides and backs with white on their abdomen, rear, and face. Being herbivorous, Sonoran pronghorn depend on annual vegetation to survive. In 2002, with approximately 2 cm (� inch) of rain, the worst drought ever recorded at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument pushed this species to the brink of extinction. Dwindling herds in search of food were forced from the safety of the valleys to bajadas (slopes at the base of a mountain), a place where evading predators is more difficult. On warm May nights, lesser long-nosed bats migrate into Southern Arizona from Southern Mexico. They set up roosts in hot humid caves and mines, with thousands of individuals in a single dwelling. Their long, slender snout, small leaf-nose, bristled tongue, and small size are appropriate adaptations to survive on flower nectar, pollen, and fruit. It is not by coincidence that the Organ Pipe Cactus and Saguaro Cactus bloom during the bats summer visit. Without bat pollination of the cactus flowers and dispersal of seeds, many columnar cacti would not be able to reproduce. However, many roost and foraging sites for lesser long-nosed bats are disappearing due to human exploitation, disturbance, and land clearing. With this in mind, some bats may not have a roost to return to. In addition to the Sonoran pronghorn and the lesser long-nosed bat, the acuña cactus and the Quitobaquito pupfish also live in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. Similarly, their populations are shrinking and are only here today because of the work done by people who care. Through various management techniques, biologists are racing against time in order to recover these critical species. Park Efforts Just outside the back of the Kris Eggle visitor center, a pupfish swims effortlessly up the channel connecting two small ponds. Known as La Cienaga, these ponds are a refuge built in conjunction with the Ajo School as an educational program. Biologists not only tend to this refuge pond to keep the population of Quitobaquito pupfish afloat, but also manage their natural habitat, Quitobaquito, from losing water through excess vegetation and leaks within the pond structure. Annual population censuses are conducted to monitor population trends. Endangered wherever found, the acuña cactus population in the monument has been monitored extensively since 1988. With the population diminishing, scientists are working with other organizations to ensure mitigation of proposed actions and lessen border-related impacts. They are also conducting yearly surveys looking for new plants, as well as observing bloom and fruit production. Surveys are also being done for the lesser long-nosed bat. Through mist netting and counting exiting bats from old mines we can get an estimate of population size. Regular inspections also help to ensure sure the roosts are not disturbed by human activity. For the Sonoran pronghorn, there is extensive collaboration between multiple federal, state, and private agencies. Starting in 2008, “pronghorn captures” take place on the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge, where captive pronghorn are re-located to suitable habitat on federal land. In 2014, Organ Pipe Cactus received 9 individuals which were released into the monument and have been successively monitored on a weekly basis by land or air, to ensure the success of this species. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Cool Facts Sonoran Pronghorn Lesser Long-nosed Bat • Sonoran pronghorn are one of the two endangered subspecies of pronghorn in the world and is the only endangered one in the United States. • A subspecies is a taxonomic rank secondary to species; it is typically based on geographic variation, but can also be based on physical and behavioral traits. • Pronghorn can run as fast as 60 mph. • The largest maternal colony in the U.S. of lesser long-nosed bats is located here in the Monument. • They strictly eat the fruit, nectar, and pollen from cacti or agave. • These bats can live up to 20 years in captivity. Quitobaquito Pupfish Acuña Cactus • Also known as the Sonoyta pupfish. • Quitobaquito is the only place in the U.S. where this
Organ Pipe Cactus National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Guide to Hiking Trails To Ajo CABEZA WILDLIFE 86 REFUGE W as ov e d di r t Ku de pr Le ro er a ka tc h Wash im un Bates Well Cu da ow l Why to Tucson 120 mi 193 km Monument Entrance Wayside er Gr ña ad NATIONAL To Why Visitor Center to Why 22 mi 35 km PRIETA h TOHONO 85 OW O THE Y VA L L E M ou n Twin Peaks 2615ft 797m NO Y TA MTNS Aj oy ta e- wa y TNS i D IA B L O M m 21 4km 3 on wa y Diaz Spire 3892ft 1186m Diaz Peak 4024ft 1227m Kris Eggle Visitor Center 5 SON Victoria Mine OY TA VA 5mi 8km LL EY Lukeville (port of entry) 8 R io Sonoyta So Sonoyta to Caborca 93 mi 149 km Public road — graded dirt, 25foot vehicle limit no UN yta Hiking trail 0.15 Mile Loop 5–10 Minutes Easy brick path around Visitor Center with exhibits including a small pond with the endangered Quitobaquito Desert Pupfish. Accessible to scooters and wheelchairs. Leashed pets are allowed on this trail. Visitor Center and Campground Area 0 0 0.2 Km 0.1 t 4 V ie w Tr Group Campground a il Easy loop around Twin Peaks Campground. Leashed pets are allowed on this trail. Twin Peaks Campground Entrance Parking e Pa lo Verd Amphitheater Victoria Mine Trail EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA 1 Visitor Center Ajo Mtn Drive er 20–30 Minutes North Puerto Blanco Drive 0.2 Mi es 1 Mile Loop ITED ME STATE XIC S O Historical site D 2. Campground Perimeter Trail e- 1670ft 509m 2 Wheelchair-accessible Primitive campground on i 2 Self-guiding trail Wheelchair-accessible campground (40-foot RV limit) Dr n BULL PASTURE Estes CanyonBull Pasture Trails A SIERRA DE SANTA ROS 1. Visitor Center Nature Trail co SO Jojoba/Evergreen scrubland Bl a n i ta (pit toilets) ve ai Tr l S So n 8 ve LL Arizona Upland Community Mixed cactus/ Palo verde o S o National Monument Boundary TN Dr i HI IN Picnic area Saltbush E RANGNYON ITO rt Tillotson Peak Wayside RESERVATION CANYON Mt Ajo 4808ft 1466m (pit toilets) See detail map below A Sonoyta to Puerto Peñasco 62 mi 100 km Mixed scrub N O h P ue NC QU RA Ri o INDIAN CA gate Pinkley Peak 3145ft 959m No rt BLA BA AB A JO TO 5 Kilometers Lower Colorado Valley Community Creosote bush/ Bursage YO ER SENITA BASIN PL 5 Miles MO Tillotson Peak 3374ft 1028m M 1 AL A 7ARCH O 1 Alamo Canyon Campground a sh ta W PU LA 6 O’ODHAM N Y ji ua Montezumas Head 3634ft 1108m GR AS S CA LLE CI PR I A N O H I LLS rva d Quitobaquito Gra e la Bió nD esie sfera E rto l Pin d e North Alta acate y r 0 h Was VA n sh 17mi 28km Ajo Mountains Wayside Wa sh NATIONAL MONUMENT Ag IT A la m o OF LER Kino Peak 3197ft 974m Rese 0 ni BATES MOUNTAINS a W i s t o b al QU io ORGAN PIPE CACTUS Sa Cr er AJ GR Ch 5 2 Campground Perimeter Trail Parking 3 85 3. Palo Verde 2.6 Miles Round Trip Visitor Center and Campground Area 1.5–2 Hours 0 0 0.2 Km 0.1 North Puerto Blanco Drive 0.2 Mi Easy trail between Twin Peaks Campground and the Kris Eggle Visitor Center with views of the Ajo Range. Leashed pets are allowed on this trail. Ajo Mtn Drive D es er t 45 Minutes–1 Hour w Tr Group Campground Twin Peaks Campground Entrance Parking e Pa lo Verd Amphitheater Easy loop trail with spectacular vistas of Senita Basin and the La Abra Plain to the southwest and the Sonoyta Valley to the southeast. Ideal for sunrises and sunsets. There are benches along the trail. 5. Victoria Mine 4.5 Miles Round Trip 3–4 Hours This easy trail meanders across Sonoran Desert landscapes and crosses several arroyos (washes). Leads to an historic mining structure. The mine is closed. For your safety do not enter mine. There are benches along the trail. 6. Alamo Canyon 2 Miles Round Trip 1.5 Hours Easy trail leading to a historic ranching site with old ranch house, corral, and well. Footing can be rough. This is a good bird watching location. 7. Arch Canyon 2 Miles Round Trip (Does not include climbing to the arch on the social trail.) 1 Hour Easy to moderate trail steadily climbing into Arch Canyon. Good views of arches and oak-juniper ecosystem. 8. Estes CanyonBull Pasture 4.1 Miles Loop 2–3 Hours Difficult loop trail with steep grades and exposed cliffs. Spectacular views across the Monument and into Mexico. Estes Canyon is great for birding. EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA Victoria Mine 5 Trail ai Tr l 1.2 Miles Loop 4 V ie a il 4. Desert View 1 Visitor Center 2 Campground Perimeter Trail Parking 3 85

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