Trail sign, Saguaro National Park - 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, and more.
An important contribution to recreational use was the creation or improvement of hiking trails in both parts of the national park. Some were former roads built by miners or the CCC itself – such as the Golden Gate Pass road in the Tucson Mountain District, now closed to vehicle traffic. Others were new, like the trail to the top of Wasson Peak. A couple sample trail signs are shown here, but we do not have full information on all the trails done by the CCC in Saguaro NP.
Audretsch, Robert and Sharon Hunt, 2014. The Civilian Conservation Corps in Arizona. Charleston SC: Arcadia Publishing. p. 20
Project originally submitted by Richard Walker on November 16, 2019.
Additional contributions by Joan Greer.
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