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Saturday, January 1, 2011
Saguaro National Park, Arizona
Saguaro National Park, located in the state of Arizona, is part of the United States national park system. Saguaro National Park is divided into two sections, lying approximately 20 miles (32 km) east and 15 miles (24 km) west of the center of the city of Tucson, Arizona. Total area in 2009 was 91,440 acres (37,000 ha) of which 70,905 acres (28,694 ha) is designated wilderness. There is a visitor center in each section. Both are easily reached by car from Tucson, but there is no public transport into either section. Both sections 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. The park gets its name from the saguaro cactus which is native to the region. Many other kinds of cactus, including barrel cactus, cholla cactus, and prickly pear, are also 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 East Entrance
The park was established as Saguaro National Monument on March 1, 1933, and changed to a national park on October 14, 1994.
Facilities in the park include 150 miles (240 km) of well marked and maintained hiking trails, and shorter walking trails with interpretative information available. Hiking is not advisable during the hot summer months.
Note: This is No. 23 of a series of articles on national park in the US.