by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved

Saguaro

National Park - Arizona

Saguaro National Park is in southern Arizona. Its 2 sections are on either side of the city of Tucson. The park is named for the large saguaro cactus, native to its desert environment. In the western Tucson Mountain District, Signal Hill Trail leads to petroglyphs of the ancient Hohokam people. In the eastern Rincon Mountain District, Cactus Forest Drive is a loop road with striking views of the desert landscape.

location

maps

Official visitor map of the Eastern unit of Saguaro National Park (NP) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Saguaro - East

Official visitor map of the Eastern unit of Saguaro National Park (NP) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).

Official visitor map of the Western unit of Saguaro National Park (NP) in Arizona. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).Saguaro - West

Official visitor map of the Western unit of Saguaro National Park (NP) 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).

Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) of Santa Catalina Ranger District in Coronado National Forest (NF). Published by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).Coronado MVUM - Santa Catalina 2015

Motor Vehicle Use Map (MVUM) of Santa Catalina Ranger District in Coronado National Forest (NF). Published by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS).

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).

https://www.nps.gov/sagu https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saguaro_National_Park Saguaro National Park is in southern Arizona. Its 2 sections are on either side of the city of Tucson. The park is named for the large saguaro cactus, native to its desert environment. In the western Tucson Mountain District, Signal Hill Trail leads to petroglyphs of the ancient Hohokam people. In the eastern Rincon Mountain District, Cactus Forest Drive is a loop road with striking views of the desert landscape. Tucson, Arizona is home to the nation's largest cacti. The giant saguaro is the universal symbol of the American west. These majestic plants, found only in a small portion of the United States, are protected by Saguaro National Park, to the east and west of the modern city of Tucson. Here you have a chance to see these enormous cacti, silhouetted by the beauty of a magnificent desert sunset. Saguaro National Park has two districts separated by the city of Tucson. The address for the Saguaro National Park West District is 2700 N Kinney Rd. We do not recommend using mobile mapping applications to search for either district. Instead, please click the link to the directions page, determine which district you plan to visit, and enter that physical address into the mobile application. Red Hills Visitor Center (West) The Red Hills Visitor Center is a great place to learn about the park and start your visit to Saguaro National Park's West District. Views from the patio are spectacular and overlook the Red Hills and majestic Saguaro cactus forest nearby. Learn more about the unique geology of the Tucson Mountains, get great recommendations on how to get the most out of your time in the park, or explore the park bookstore. General information, park maps, and hiking guides are available in front of the building 24-hrs a day Getting to the Tucson Mountain District from the City of Tucson Travel west on Speedway Boulevard. At the junction of Camino de Oeste, Speedway Boulevard will change names to Gates Pass Road. From this junction, drive 4 miles (6.5 kilometers) west on Gates Pass Road until it ends at Kinney Road (turn right on Kinney Road). Drive 3 miles (5 kilometers) north on Kinney Road to the Park entrance (entrance is on the right side of the road). Vehicles exceeding 12,000 pounds GVWR are prohibited on Gates Pass Rincon Mountain Visitor Center (East) At the visitor center, you will find the book store, information station, maps and restrooms. The visitor center is also the starting point for a scenic auto/bike tour around the Cactus Forest Loop Drive offering incredible views of the Rincon Mountains. There are several great hikes to do along the drive including the mile loop along the Freeman Homestead Trail to learn about homesteading in the desert. Many different hiking paths are outlined along the northern part of Cactus Forest Loop. Getting to the Rincon Mountain District from the City of Tucson Travel east on Broadway or Speedway Boulevard to Freeman Road (turn right on Freeman Road). Drive south on Freeman Road (4 miles [6.5 kilometers] from Speedway, 3 miles [5 kilometers] from Broadway) to Old Spanish Trail. Turn left on Old Spanish Trail. Drive .25 miles (.4 kilometers) southeast on Old Spanish Trail to the Park entrance on the left side of the road. Douglas Spring - 4,800 feet elevation - 3 campsites (6 people max per site) Grass Shack - 5,300 feet elevation - 3 campsites (6 people max per site) Grass Shack Camp Site Grass Shack Sign at arrival of Grass Shack Camp Site Area Grass Shack is fairly flat and setting up camp is moderately easy in this area Happy Valley Saddle - 6,200 feet elevation - 3 campsites (6 people max per site) Juniper Basin - 6,000 elevation - 3 campsites (6 people max per site) Manning Camp - 8,000 feet elevation - 6 campsites (max 6 people per site) - water available year-round General Camping Fee 8.00 All campsites have the same fee, $8 per campsite with a 50% discount to those with a senior or access pass ($4). Each campsite has a maximum capacity of 6 people per group, for groups larger than 6 an additional campsite must be reserved and paid for. Senior Pass Holder Camping Fee 4.00 All campsites have the same fee, $8 per campsite with a 50% discount to those with a senior or access pass ($4). Each campsite has a maximum capacity of 6 people per group, for groups larger than 6 an additional campsite must be reserved and paid for. Access Pass Holder Camping Fee 4.00 All campsites have the same fee, $8 per campsite with a 50% discount to those with a senior or access pass ($4). Each campsite has a maximum capacity of 6 people per group, for groups larger than 6 an additional campsite must be reserved and paid for. Manning Camp Manning Cabin in the Manning Camp area. Manning Cabin built in 1905 Spud Rock Spring - 7,400 - 3 campsites (6 people max per site) Saguaro Flowers Saguaro flowers The flowering season in Saguaro National Park attracts visitors from all over the world. Flowering Fishhook Pincushion Cactus A flowering fishhook pincushion cactus Wildflower season at Saguaro National Park is at it's peak in the month of MArch. The Pincushion cactus, however, blooms April through August. Coyote Pups Two coyote pups captured on a wilderness camera Saguaro National Park has a vast variety of wildlife, and with the help of wilderness cameras, can be photographed to help with studies and for visitors to learn about animals only seen by chance. Saguaro National Park Lighting Storm Lightning strike captured on camera with saguaros in the background Saguaro deaths are usually attributed to natural weather conditions and other natural phenomena. Specifically, lightning strikes have been known to strike saguaros due to the large amount of water stored within their fleshy tissue. Weather at Saguaro National Park Rare Sight of snow in Saguaro National Park East Visitor Center (Rincon Mountain District) Saguaro National Park summers can be extremely hot with temperatures exceeding 105 degrees F, lows averaging 72 degrees F. Winters are mild warm days averaging 65 degrees F and cool nights averaging 40 degrees F. Snowfall is extremely rare in the area. Group of Regal Horned Lizards A group of Phrynosoma solare, or regal horned lizards. Regal horned lizards are one of many reptiles in the park, who have adapted to living in the harsh desert environment. Information on how different species survive can be found on the park's website, visitor center, or through our many programs offered. Wildland Fire Module Starts The Season With Critical Training The Saguaro Wildland Fire Module starts the season with two weeks of critical training to focus on safety, skills, and standard operating procedures in preparation for the season ahead. The Saguaro Wildland Fire Module conducts a briefing. Herbicides Effective on Invasive Grass Changing the Fire Regime of the Sonoran Desert Saguaro NP has been battling nonnative, invasive, and highly flammable buffelgrass since the early ‘90s. Control efforts include manually pulling plants and applying herbicide. Approximately 1/3 of the annual fire budget for control of invasives in the park goes to buffelgrass treatments and similar nonnative grasses. However, buffelgrass is expanding faster than control efforts can keep pace. Different strategies are being considered, including spraying with a helicopter. A person in protective equipment sprays grass with herbicide. Wildland Fire Module Provides Nationwide Response Support The Saguaro Wildland Fire Module (WFM) participated in more than 20 projects/incidents within Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Utah, and California in 2013. Assignments included a diversity of planned and unplanned fire events, mechanical fuel treatments, and more than 400 wildfire defensible space structure assessments. The Saguaro WFM consistently demonstrated versatility and leadership throughout the year. 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 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 Maintaining the Role of Fire in the Rincon Mountains Fire managers at Saguaro National Park conducted a prescribed burn on Mica Mountain in the Saguaro Wilderness of the Rincon Mountain District (Saguaro East) in May 2019. Park Air Profiles - Saguaro National Park Air quality profile for Saguaro National Park. Gives park-specific information about air quality and air pollution impacts for Saguaro NP as well as the studies and monitoring conducted for Saguaro NP. Saguaro NP entrance sign and saguaro cacti The Legacies of Latino Homesteaders Learn how Latino Heritage Intern, Verónica Barreto, researched and discovered fascinating facts about Latino homesteaders. The Homestead Act of 1862 gave citizens of the world an opportunity to obtain Free Land! Discover how these homesteaders materialized their American Dream through the Homestead Act. Saguaro National Park Recognized for Excellence in Fire Management Saguaro National Park was honored with the Paul Gleason Memorial Keeper of the Flame Award at the National Park Service Intermountain Regional (IMR) Visitor and Resource Protection Leadership Training in Albuquerque, New Mexico on February 11, 2015. Saguaro National Park Fire Management Officer accepts award World War II Plane Crashes in National Parks During WWII, more than 7,100 air crashes involved US Army Air Force (USAAF) aircraft occurred on American soil. Collectively these crashes resulted in the loss of more than 15,599 lives (Mireles 2006). Many of these military aircraft accidents occurred in remote, often mountainous, areas managed by the National Park Service. plane crash at base of grassy hill 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. 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 Douglas Fir: Western United States Douglas fir is widely distributed throughout the western United States, as well as southern British Columbia and northern Mexico. Douglas fir is able to survive without fire, its abundantly-produced seeds are lightweight and winged, allowing the wind to carry them to new locations where seedlings can be established. Close-up of Douglas fir bark and needles. Spatial Fire Management Plan Makes Key Info More Easily Available In May 2016, park and fire managers finalized Saguaro National Park’s Spatial Fire Management Plan (SFMP). The SFMP is a strategic plan that contain text based and spatially represented information. firefighter walks through a smoky sunlight forest during a prescribed burn Assessing Wildfire Hazard at Saguaro National Park Saguaro NP is supporting development of a community wildfire protection plan (CWPP) for Pima County, AZ. The county is slightly larger than New Jersey and has nearly 1 million inhabitants, including a sizeable number who live in unincorporated areas. Initially, communities were developing separate CWPPs to identify and mitigate hazardous fuels and protect structures, but leaders felt that a unified effort would be more effective in addressing wildland fire potential. Aerial Treatments Reduce Fire Fuels in the Wildland Urban Interface Invasive, nonnative buffelgrass is spreading exponentially in the Sonoran Desert and creating unprecedented fuel loads in Saguaro NP. It is replacing native plants and converting a nearly fire-proof desert plant community into a highly flammable grass-scrubland. In 2014, the park began using a helicopter for herbicide application. Intensive monitoring is occurring as part of the plan to build fire-adapted human communities and maintain and restore resilient landscapes. Wildland Fire: Volunteers Successfully Clear Large Patch of Buffelgrass In March 2012, a nearly four-year quest to remove invasive buffelgrass from part of Saguaro NP ended with the clearing of the Freeman area, thanks to community volunteers. It took 464 people 2,843 person-hours to manually remove this solid 11-acre patch. Recently, buffelgrass has spread exponentially across southern AZ. It has the potential to convert the natural landscape of the park and surrounding areas, increasing competition with native species as well as wildfire risk. Module Conducts Wildland-Urban Interface Projects Throughout the Intermountain Region In 2013, the Saguaro Wildland Fire Module (WFM) managed multiple projects simultaneously in AZ, TX, and NM. WFMs are highly skilled and versatile fire crews that provide expertise in long-term planning, ignitions, holding, prescribed fire preparation and implementation support, hazardous fuels reduction, and fire effects monitoring. With their help, fire fulfills its natural or historic role to meet resource and management objectives and create fire-adapted communities. A History of Saguaro Cactus Monitoring in Saguaro National Park, 1939-2007 Saguaro National Park was established in 1933 specifically to protect an impressive stand of many large saguaro cacti – the “Cactus Forest” – at the base of the Rincon Mountains east of Tucson, Arizona. However, concerns about the decline of the Cactus Forest have been expressed throughout the history of the park. As a result, research on saguaros in the park began as early as 1939 and continues to this day. Two saguaro cacti, side by side NPS Geodiversity Atlas—Saguaro National Park, Arizona Each park-specific page in the NPS Geodiversity Atlas provides basic information on the significant geologic features and processes occurring in the park. Links to products from Baseline Geologic and Soil Resources Inventories provide access to maps and reports. [Site Under Development] desert landscape Saguaro National Park 2011 NPS-NGS BioBlitz! Learn about Saguaro National Park's bioblitz in this article that is part of the Park Science special issue on biodiversity, 2014. Students spell out "bioblitz" with their bodies at the top of a mountain. 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. Wildland Fire: Right Response, Right Time, Right Reasons Fire managers evaluate each fire and determine the safest, most effective, and cost-efficient strategies to manage it. Article contrasts two recent lightning-ignited wildfires in Saguaro NP. Fire managers decided to manage the Deer Head fire to maintain a healthy forest and wildlife habitat. In contrast, they decided to fully suppress the Jackalope fire, which was burning approximately 0.1 mile from patches of invasive buffelgrass, which creates a heavy, continuous fuel load. One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire Campaign Aims to Prevent Human-Caused Wildfires Saguaro National Park has been working with local partners to bring the One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire campaign to southern Arizona to help educate the public about ways they can help prevent human-caused fires. The program focuses primarily on vehicle and homeowner equipment-caused fires, but supports the prevention of all human-caused fires. The campaign highlights lesser known but significant causes of wildfires, and seeks to create fire-adapted human communities. Prescribed Burning Reduces Wildfire Fuels In May 2010, Saguaro NP used prescribed fire to treat high-elevation ponderosa pine forest. This was the latest in a series of burns going back to 1996, objectives of which include decreasing fuels to reduce future fire severity, protecting habitat of the threatened Mexican spotted owl, and restoring natural ecosystem function. The forest is now closer to historical conditions, more resilient, and better able to withstand impacts of climate change. Wildland Fire Science in the Classroom On May 1, 2012, an NPS fire communication and education specialist presented six 50-minute programs for 8th-grade science classes, about 155 students total, at a junior high school in Tucson, Arizona. Topics included fire science and ecology, wildland fire management, prescribed fire, and fire careers. The program taught students about the need to restore and maintain resilient landscapes, create fire-adapted communities, and effectively respond to wildfire. 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 Wildland Fire in Ponderosa Pine: Western United States This forest community generally exists in areas with annual rainfall of 25 inches or less. Extensive pure stands of this forest type are found in the southwestern U.S., central Washington and Oregon, southern Idaho and the Black Hills of South Dakota. Recently burned ponderosa pine forest. Civilian Conservation Corps at Tumacácori The CCC is one of the most well-remembered and highly regarded programs of the New Deal. Camp NM-1-N, located at Bandelier National Monument in New Mexico, made important contributions to Tumacácori’s visitor center. men with truck and olive tree in courtyard garden Susan Keys Receives Jeanie Harris Award Susan Keys, the fire program management assistant at Saguaro National Park, has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Jeanie Harris Award. The Jeanie Harris Award commemorates the legacy of service of Jeanie Harris, an Intermountain Region fire budget analyst. The award is given to a National Park Service (NPS) fire program management assistant or a fire budget analyst, at either the regional or park level. Pollinators - Hummingbirds Hummingbirds (family Trochilidae) are amazingly adapted pollinators, and they play an important role in pollination. A flying hummingbird hovers next to a red flower 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 Buffelgrass Management in Saguaro National Park Saguaro National Park is located in the scenic southwest Sonoran Desert. Visitors from around the world are drawn to the park’s iconic southwestern landscape, characterized by a wide diversity of plants and animals including the giant saguaro cactus. Today, this desert is becoming increasingly threatened by buffelgrass (<em>Pennisetum ciliare</em>), a perennial grass native to Africa. People manually removing buffelgrass Resilient Landscapes Program Funding Helps Expand Interagency Efforts to Combat Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Invasion In 2016, the Department of Interior expanded funding for the Southern Arizona Resilient Landscapes Collaborative. This project crosses agency boundaries to address the issue of buffelgrass, an exotic fire-adapted invasive grass, by removing the threat to fuel wildfires and restoring resilience to the biologically rich Sonoran Desert. Dense stand of the invasive grass buffelgrass choking out native vegetation in Saguaro National Park Inventory of Medium and Large Mammals at Saguaro National Park Many visitors to national parks eagerly anticipate the chance to see large mammals such as bears, elk, and bighorn sheep. Yet surprisingly little is known about mammals in most parks. At Saguaro National Park, wildlife cameras were used for 10 years (1999-2008) to document the park’s medium and large mammals and where they occur. A black bear photographed in the Rincon Mountains Southwest River Environments In the arid Southwest, water means life, and prehistorically, rivers were the lifelines of the people. The Colorado River flowing through a canyon 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 “Pulse study” of the Madrona Pools, Saguaro National Park In May 2003, Saguaro National Park sponsored a “pulse study” of the Madrona Ranger Station area in the park’s Rincon Mountain (east) District. Madrona pools 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 Lowland Leopard Frogs in Saguaro National Park Saguaro National Park was established to protect the saguaro cactus, but the park also provides habitat for many unique animals. The lowland leopard frog (<em>Rana yavapaiensis</em>) is a native frog that depends on unique desert waters. It has declined in the desert Southwest and is considered a species of special conservation concern. Lowland leopard frog Levi Manning and Manning Cabin: Past and Present The Manning Cabin sits in the Rincon Mountains in Saguaro National Park. The cabin belonged to Levi H. Manning, a successful businessman and one-term Mayor of Tucson. Manning had the cabin built in 1905 for use as a mountain summer home. The cabin was a retreat for his family from the heat of Tucson and a place where they could entertain friends. He was the first to build and own such a retreat in the mountains. Manning Cabin, May 1986 Eusebio Francisco Kino Padre Kino was a unique man and very much a part of the history of the American Southwest. His missionary work, maps, and explorations documented many cultures and wonders of the New World. statue of mane on a horse Saguaro Citizen Science Every ten years, Saguaro National Park hosts a census of its namesake plants. The 2010 Saguaro Census assessed the population of saguaros, as well as the plants in 45 permanent study plots, to better understand the density of plant populations in the park's landscape. Volunteer citizen scientists assisted in field monitoring the plants. Saguaros, cacti, and wildflowers 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 Vegetation Mapping at Saguaro National Park Vegetation maps tell park managers what’s growing where, and what kinds of habitat occur in a park. At Saguaro National Park, the Sonoran Desert Network mapped and classified 97 different vegetation associations from 2010 to 2018. Communities ranged from low-elevation creosote shrublands to mountaintop Douglas fir forests on the slopes of Rincon Peak. Map with irregularly shaped color fields representing location of different vegetation associations Series: The New Deal at Tumacácori The grounds of Tumacácori protect a map of treasures made by men and women during the New Deal era of the 1930's. Will you find them all? black and white photo of young men and truck in walled courtyard garden 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. Series: Park Air Profiles Clean air matters for national parks around the country. Photo of clouds above the Grand Canyon, AZ Saguaro Trail Crew Assists with Post-Fire Trail Damage at Tonto National Monument The 2019 Woodbury fire impacted soil conditions creating unstable trails, increased flood hazard, and created greater risk of falling rocks or trees. In fall 2019, a trail crew from Saguaro National Park assisted Tonto National Monument mitigating trail damage that resulted from soil movement after the Woodbury Fire. Left: damaged eroding trail with logs next to trail; Right: rebuilt trail with gabion in place. Paleozoic Era During the Paleozoic Era (541 to 252 million years ago), fish diversified and marine organisms were very abundant. In North America, the Paleozoic is characterized by multiple advances and retreats of shallow seas and repeated continental collisions that formed the Appalachian Mountains. Common Paleozoic fossils include trilobites and cephalopods such as squid, as well as insects and ferns. The greatest mass extinction in Earth's history ended this era. fossil corals in a rock matrix 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 Series: Intermountain Park Science 2021 Integrating Research and Resource Management in Intermountain National Parks Group of National Park Service staff and volunteers standing in front of a desert canyon. Climate Change and Other Factors Influencing the Saguaro Cactus This article describes factors influencing the long-term dynamics of the saguaro cacti, a symbol of the desert southwest and namesake of Saguaro National Park. After decades of decline in some areas of the park, the saguaro population grew dramatically in the 1970s and 1980s, but establishment has been poor since then. We examine the influence of climate, tree-cutting, and other factors on changes in saguaro populations at the park. top of a large cactus with blooming white flowers 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 Climate and Water Monitoring at Saguaro National Park At Saguaro National Park, iconic plants, desert wildlife, and park visitors all depend on reliable water sources. 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 natural resources. Learn about our recent findings. Man stands on platform near springbox over large pool Saguaro Cacti at Saguaro National Park The Saguaro cactus is an iconic and unmissable feature of the Sonoran Desert landscape. The cactus stands out in the landscape, growing tall with thick, arm-like branches that extend from the trunk. The Saguaro has evolved to survive the harsh environment, through periods of heat, drought, and the occasional winter frost. Native peoples have long used almost every part of the Saguaro for construction materials, tools, food, and ceremony. Vertical Saguaro cacti grow scattered over a hillside, surrounded by other desert vegetation. Changing Patterns of Water Availability May Change Vegetation Composition in US National Parks Across the US, changes in water availability are altering which plants grow where. These changes are evident at a broad scale. But not all areas experience the same climate in the same way, even within the boundaries of a single national park. A new dataset gives park managers a valuable tool for understanding why vegetation has changed and how it might change in the future under different climate-change scenarios. Green, orange, and dead grey junipers in red soil, mountains in background Dare to Imagine: Elise Dillingham Read about how Elise went from training to become a flight nurse for the US Air Force to engaging youth citizen scientists in Southwestern parks. This article is part of a National Park Foundation funded project called the Dare to Imagine project dedicated to highlighting women in parks who are breaking barriers and showing what a scientist looks like. graphic of a young woman in the field. text reads: Elise Dillingham, biologist The Extraordinary Saguaro Bloom of 2021: An Explanation After an unseasonal bloom in fall 2020, saguaro flowers in May 2021 appeared down the length of main stems and arms, and—remarkably—even on small buds (“nubbins”). Theories abounded about what caused the phenomenon—but soil moisture appears to be an important key. Blooms grow on the top and down the sides of mature saguaro arms

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