Saguaro National Park: Improvements – Tucson AZ


The city of Tucson is flanked by two halves of the Saguaro National Park, which protects extensive areas of Sonoran Desert landscapes and the biodiverse communities of the Tucson Mountains and Rincon Mountains – two of the many “sky islands” of southern Arizona.

The eastern district of Saguaro National Park was set aside as Saguaro National Monument by President Herbert Hoover in early 1933; today, it is known as the Saguaro NP – Rincon Mountain District (RMD).  The western district of the park was originally part of the Tucson Mountain Park, a county park created in 1929; the northern section of the latter was added to the Saguaro National Monument in 1961 and when the monument became a national park in 1994, it was renamed Saguaro National Park – Tucson Mountain District (TMD).

In the 1930s, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) did extensive improvements to both parts of the Saguaro National Park. The CCC role in the Saguaro NP (TMD) was greater than in the eastern half of the park because the latter is largely roadless wilderness and the former is more accessible to daily visitors.

Throughout the present Saguaro NP the CCC “boys” carried out a host of improvements, starting with land restoration, erosion control, access roads and water supply.  To this they added facilities for park visitors, including campgrounds, overlooks, picnic areas, trails and more.

Two erosion control dams in arroyos are shown here: at Signal Hill and Sus picnic area in the western part of the park.  Such dams were not terribly effective, since they soon filled with sediment.  The one at Signal Hill also served as a foot bridge.

For the western half of the park, the CCC camp was SP-6, located at the northwest corner of the park at the intersection of W. Rudasill and N. Sandario roads. Traces of the camp remain but are no longer visible from the road.


Source notes

Audretsch, Robert and Sharon Hunt, 2014. The Civilian Conservation Corps in Arizona. Charleston SC: Arcadia Publishing. p. 20



Project originally submitted by Richard A Walker on March 10, 2015.
Additional contributions by Joan Greer.

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Location Info

Saguaro National Park
Tucson, AZ

Coordinates: 32.278608, -111.159263

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