What You Need To Know About The Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park Has Actually Two Park Locations In Tucson, AZ – East And West
The Place To See Saguaro Cactus
Saguaro National Park is home to almost all Saguaro Cacti in the Unites States. The Saguaro Cactus is a giant among cacti. It grows in a small area of the United States in the Sonoran Desert in Tucson AZ.
The stately saguaro cactus has long been the recognized image of the great southwest. It appears in photographs silhouetted in a desert landscape against a sunset. The word saguaro, pronounced, “sah-wah’-ro,” came from a Spanish mispronunciation of an ancient Papago word referring only to this species of plant.
As cactus go, the Saguaro is the largest. It will grow to be 50 feet tall. But it grows at a snail’s pace. Only a few inches each year. Yes, that means a 40 or 50 foot Saguaro will be centuries old.
It will take 65 years for the arm of a Saguaro to appear. And a mature Saguaro will weigh in at 8 tons.
The first Saguaro blossom will appear when the cactus is 50 to 60 years old (about 7 to 8 feet tall). Clusters of creamy white flowers bloom near the ends of top and on the arms in May and June. The blossom will be there for only one night. These short-lived flowers will be completely open by midnight. But by midday, the 24-hour flower closes forever.
The white waxy Saguaro blossom became the Arizona State flower in 1931.
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro National Park includes two distinct areas. The Tucson Mountain District on the west side of Tucson. And the Rincon Mountain District on the east side. Both are part of the United States National Park System.
President Hoover signed a proclamation establishing Saguaro National Monument in 1933. It was an obscure act for the time that provided a wonderful benefit to Tucson residents and visitors.
The act helped to protect and preserve the Saguaro Cactus and its habitat.
The two districts of Saguaro National Park cover 91,327 acres. The Eastern Rincon Mountain District is the highest. Rising to over 8,000 feet. And it includes over 128 miles of trails.
The park is near the northernmost limit of the Saguaro’s natural survival zone within the Sonoran Desert.
Saguaro National Park – Tucson Mountain District (West)
The Tucson Mountain District (West) is lower in elevation with a denser saguaro population.
Petroglyphs created by the ancient Hohokam tribes are in the west park. This rock art pre-dates modern written history by thousands of years ago,
Saguaro National Park – Rincon Mountain District (East)
Situated on the eastern boundary of Tucson. This side of the park is less populated with Saguaro then the west district. But the Saguaro are bigger due to higher rainfall and water runoff from the Rincon Mountains. Saguaro National Park East rises to over 8,000 feet with over 120 miles of trails to explore.
The Saguaro National Park is one of the many places to see in Tucson. It and the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum make it easy to see the natural beauty and wildlife of the desert.
Harming a saguaro cactus in any manner is illegal in Arizona. Construction projects must take special precautions to move every saguaro affected. The giant saguaro cactus is a candidate for the endangered species list.
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