This is the third diary in my Expanding the National Park System series . Last week I visited chilly Alaska, today I'm visiting the balmy state of Arizona. Arizona is called the Grand Canyon State, so obviously we will spend some time at one of our most famous national parks, that President Theodore Roosevelt pleaded to ' leave it be, as man can only mar it". Arizona was the last state in the Lower 48 to join the Union, in 1912. Arizona is home to three national parks, as well as a staggering 18 national monuments, the most currently of any state. many of them are small, with 7 covering 2000 acres or less. The ones I will propose to add, will be considerably bigger.
This is the third diary in my Expanding the National Park System series. Last week I visited chilly Alaska, today I'm visiting the balmy state of Arizona. Arizona is called the Grand Canyon State, so obviously we will spend some time at one of our most famous national parks, that President Theodore Roosevelt pleaded to ' leave it be, as man can only mar it". Arizona was the last state in the Lower 48 to join the Union, in 1912. Arizona is home to three national parks, as well as a staggering 18 national monuments, the most currently of any state. many of them are small, with 7 covering 2000 acres or less. The ones I will propose to add, will be considerably bigger.
Arizona has the sixth highest percentage of federal land ownership, clocking in at 48.1%, slightly ahead of California, and slightly behind Idaho. Like many western states Arizona has tried for some time to get its hands on the federal holdings within its boundaries, but as they are finding out now firsthand the hard way, there's absolutely no way they could properly manage or fund such wide areas. That's the fed's job, under the general welfare clause. If anything, most of the federal lands within Arizona should either be wilderness, national parks or monuments, to ensure their protection forever. Heres the breakdown of Arizona.
Total Area 113 998 sq miles
Land Area 113 635 sq miles
Water Area 363 sq miles
Coastline 0 sq miles
Additional national monuments- 5
Currently Arizona has 3 national parks, 18 national monuments, 6 national Forests, 9 Wildlife Refuges, and 4 historic sites.
National Parks -3
Grand Canyon established 1919 covers 1,217,262 acres
One of the most popular national parks in the system, the Grand Canyon was the first real test of the Presidential powers of the Antiquities Act when it was upgraded to a national Park in 1919 under President Wilson, when a senator from Arizona sued to block its creation. The Supreme Court ruled in 1920 that the move by the President was legal, and thus codified the Antiquities Act's legality, and well as made clear that the scope of the Presidents powers under the Act were vast and broad. The Canyon could have been set aside much earlier, as Benjamin Harrison made efforts in 1882 1883 and 1886 to set it aside. Eventually Harrison set it aside as a Forest Reserve in 1893, Theodore Roosevelt set it aside as a Game preserve in 1906 then as a national monument in 1908. There were proposals floating around to dam the Colorado river in the area of the canyon in the 1950s, but significant public opposition, as well as the park's protected status killed the bill. the Colorado was later dammed in the Glen Canyon Area, an area that other diarists have noted for its own unique beauty. in the additional monuments section, Glen Canyon will be one of my proposed monuments, an act which will necessitate removal of the Dam. Access to the north rim of the canyon is available from Arizona St Route 67, while the South Rim is accessible from the north via US Route 89,from the East via Arizona St Route 64, and the from the south via Interstate 40.
Petrified Forest Established 1962 covers 221 552 acres
First established as a national monument in 1906, the park protects large quantities of fossilized woods that date from the late Triassic period roughly 225 million years ago,or at the beginning of the age of dinosaurs. apart from the trees , ferns, plants and even dinosaur fossils are located here. unfortunately theft of petrified wood has been an ongoing problem since the 1860s and continues to this day, with an estimated 12 short tons or 11000 kilograms of wood stolen every year. the fine for stealing wood is 325 dollars, not a very significant hit in the wallet for thieves. Besides the fossils, over 400 types of plants and over 200 birds are found here, as well as large animals like bobcats, pronghorns and coyotes.50000 acres of the park is wilderness, and there are no campgrounds in the park.
Saguro Established 1994 Covers 91442 acres
divided into two sections, east and west of Tucson, the park was originally established as a monument in 1933 as one of Presidents Hoovers last acts as President. the original monument is now the Ricon mountain district, the western part is the Tucson Mountain district which was added when Congress made Saguro a national park in 1994. most of the park -70000 acres, is wilderness. The park is home to several species of cactus, including Saguro, prickly pear, barrel and cholla. there are no campgrounds in the park, and a permit is required for overnight stays. Saguro is the smallest of Arizona's three national parks.
Agua Fria Established 2000 Covers 72344 acres
One of four monument managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Agua Fria protects the Agua Fria river, as well as elk, black bears and mountain lions. also in the monuments are hundreds of ancient Indian artifacts, including pueblos.
Canyon de Chelly Established 1931 Covers 83840 acres
One of the most visited monuments in the system. Chelly protects three canyons- de Chelly, Monument, and del Muerto. Unique among the NPS, the monument isn't owned by the feds, its owned by the Navajo nation. visiting the monument requires a park ranger or authorized Najavo guide to accompany visitors.
Casa Grande Ruins Established 1918 Covers 473 acres
Protects structures of the Ancient pueblo Peoples built during the Hohokam period. Casa Grade is Spanish for 'big house' and refers to the largest structure in the monument. From 1937-40, the CCC built adobe buildings to serve as administration offices and housing. those buildings are now on the national Register for Historic Places. a ramada now protects the ruins from weathering.
Chiricahua Established 1924 Covers 11984 acres
Famous for its vertical rocks formations, which look like something out of a Wile E Coyote-Roadrunner cartoon, the monument protects the remains of a massive eruption from the Turkey Creek Caldera.
Grand Canyon-Parashant Established 2000 Covers 1,048,325 acres
Set aside by President Clinton in 2000, this million acre monument is jointly managed by the NPS and BLM, with most of it (over 800000 acres) managed by the BLM. Parashant is a Paiute word meaning 'tanned elk hide'. it is not officially considered a NPS unit, its acreage is included with Lake Mead NRA. the monument contains 4 wilderness areas.
Hohokam Pima Established 1972 covers 1690 acres
this monument protects an ancient Hohokam village named Snaketown, and lies in the Gila River Indian reservation. to protect the village and artifacts within, the monument is closed to the general public.
Ironwood Forest Established 2000 Covers 188619 acres
one of four BLM monuments, it protects larges areas of Ironwood trees, which can be very long lived, as long as 800 years. The monument allows grazing and mining, which is something more national parks and monuments do not.
Montezuma Castle Established 1906 covers 859 acres
one of the earliest national monuments, it protects cliff dwellings built by the Sinagua people around 700 AD. Despite the name, the dwellings are neither a castle nor do they have anything to due with the Aztec ruler Montezuma. access to the ruins themselves is prohibited since the mid-1950s to preserve the structures.
Najavo Established 1909 covers 360 acres
Located within the Najavo reservation, this monument protects three of the most intact cliff dwellings of the Hisatsinom people. the three buildings are- the Inscription House, Keet Seel (Broken house in Navajo), and Betatakin ("House Built on a ledge"). of the three,only the Inscription House is closed to the public.
Organ Pipe Cactus Established 1937 Covers 330 688 acres
This monument borders the Mexican state of Sonora and is the only place in the US where the Organ Pipe Cactus grows wild. The land that became Organ Pipe was donated to the feds by Arizona in exchange for improving the roads through the area to facilitate bootlegging alcohol, in defiance of Prohibition. Basically, we owe this monument to booze and the American love of same.
Pipe Spring Established 1923 Covers 40 acres
First discovered by the Mormons in 1858, the site is cut off from the rest of Arizona by the grand Canyon and lies in the reservation of the Paiute Indians. The spring provides water to the native wildlife and provided a good spot for a trading post,which was built over the main spring in 1872. The fort later named Windsor Castle, was bought by Brigham Young and run by the Mormons until they lost possession of it in 1887 for violating the Edmunds-Tucker Act. after the current reservation was established,the area was set aside as a national monument, as a memorial to frontier life.
Sonoran Desert Established 2001 Covers 496,400 acres
the second largest national monument in the state (Behind Grand Canyon-Parashant), the monument was one of President Clinton's last acts in office. Run by the BLM, the monument allows limited grazing, and protects parts of the Sonoran Desert, which extends into California and Mexico.
Sunset Crater Established 1930 Covers 3040 acres
Protects Sunset Crate a young volcano which last erupted between 1085 and 1150, and covered an area of 850 miles with ash and debris. since the eruption the area has partly re-vegetated, and hiking is the best way to see the area. The monument was established partly as a response to plans by the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation film company to detonate large amounts of explosives on the rim of Sunset Crater in order to create an avalanche for its 1928 film " Avalanche!' starring Zane Grey. Hiking to the summit is not permitted, there are hiking trials around the base of the crater.
Tonto Established 1907 Covers 1120 acres
Preserves cliff dwellings built by the Salado people during the 13th 14th and 15th centuries. Located within Tonto National Forest, the monument protects many kinds of cactus and trees including mesquite and agave.
Tuzigoot Established 1939 coves 812 acres
Protects pueblo ruins built by the Apache overlooking the Verde Valley. Tuzigoot means "Crooked water" in Apache. Unlike most pueblos, Tuzigoot uses trap doors to go from room to room. it was excavated as part of the Works Project Administration, a New Deal program.
Vermilion Cliffs Established 2000 Covers 293,689 acres
Protects the cliffs in extreme northern Arizona, which run along the Utah border, protects one of the largest collections of petroglyphs in the Southwest. and is home to the California Condor, as well as many species of hawks, as well as bald and golden eagles.
Walnut Canyon Established 1915 covers 2250 acres
Located near Flagstaff, Walnut creek protects ruins built by the Sinagua people, who lived in the area from 1100 to 1250. . Sinagua means 'without water' in Spanish. in addition to the ruins, the monument protects 387 different species of plants, from cactus to black walnut. originally administered by the Forest Service the monument was transferred to the Park Service in 1933.
Wupatki Established 1924 covers 35422 acres
Built by the ancient Pueblo peoples, Wupatki was the largest pueblo in the state at the time, and was first inhabited around 500 AD, and was inhabited until around 1225. Wupatki which means Tall House, has around 100 rooms, and is a sacred site to many of the native tribes including the Najavo, Hopi, and Zuni, who believe their ancestors still live in the site, and watch over it.
Apache-Sitgreaves Established 1908 Covers 2,761,386 acres
Originally two national forests (Apache and Sitgreaves), the forests were combined and are managed as one unit by the Forest service. the combined forest is the second-largest of Arizona's 6 national forests.the Sitgreaves unit covers about 800000 acres and is the smaller and more northern part of the unit. The Apache unit contains 1.8 million acres and contains 4 wilderness areas.
Coconino Established 1908 Covers 1, 856.038 acres
Divides into three parts, Coconino contains parts of 10 wilderness areas, and borders four other national forests,Apache-Sitgreaves to the southeast, Kaibab to the west and northwest, Prescott to the Southwest and Tonto to the south. the northern unit, the Flagstaff District, contains the four tallest mountains in the state including Humphreys Peak, the tallest mountain in Arizona at 12,633 feet. the district contains Walnut Creek and Sunset Crater national Monuments and borders Wupatki national Monument. The Red rock District surrounds the town of Sedona, and is the second most popular tourist area in the state, besides the Grand Canyon. Red Rocks refers to the buttes, mesas, and canyons in this area. the third district is the Mongollan Rim district, which is located south of the Flagstaff district and east of red rock. this contains pine forests and lakes.
Coronado Established 1902 Covers 1,780,000 acres
Arizona's oldest National Forest, it contains 8 wilderness areas and is composed of 5 districts across the state. the forest has expanded over the years as parts of other national forests were added or absorbed into it. the film Three amigos are partly filmed in the forest.
Kaibab Established 1909 Covers 1,600,000 acres
The youngest of Arizona's national forests, Kaibab is divided into three sections. the north Kaibab and South Kaibab are separated by the Grand Canyon, the South Kaibab is divided into the Tusayan and William Ranger districts. The south Kaibab section is bigger ( by about 400 square miles) than the North Kaibab section.
Prescott Established 1908 Covers 1,250,000 acres
The smallest National forest in the state, Prescott contains 8 wilderness areas, and absorbed Verde national forest in 1908 and Tusayan Forest in 1934 to create the existing boundaries.
Tonto Established 1905 covers 2,873,200 acres
the Largest forest in the state and 5th largest in the country, Tonto contains 8 wilderness areas, and absorbed parts of the Black Mesa NF and all of Pinot Mountain national forest in 1908, and part of Crook NF in 1953.
Wildlife Refuges -9
Bill Williams River Established 1941 covers 6105 acres
This refuge protects some of the last remaining areas of cottonwood trees along the lower Colorado River. Resident animals include beavers, cougars, gray foxes and mule deer. funding for the refuge is provided by the non-profit group Friends of the Bill Williams River Wildlife Refuge.
Buenos Aires Established 1985, covers 117,107 acres
Located near the Mexican border, this refuge has been used as an entryway into the country by illegal immigrants. due to the longstanding violence in the border areas of Mexico, the portions of the refuge close to the border have been closed for safety reasons. The refuge is home to 58 mammal species, including puma, pronghorn and white-tailed deer, as well as a small number of jaguars. There are around 325 species of birds, and 58 species of reptiles and amphibians. Most of the refuge is open to the public.
Cabeza Prieta Established 1939 Covers 860,010 acres
The largest refuge in the state, Cabeza Prieta was established to protect the desert bighorn sheep, which was in rapid decline in the area in the 1930s. The Arizona Boy Scouts, along with the Sierra Club and other conservation groups, were able to save the sheep by setting aside over 1.5 million acres, which became Cabeza Prieta and Kofa WR. today, the sheep are thriving in the refuge and the populations are substantially higher than before the refuge was created. the refuges name, which is Spanish for "Dark Head" come from the mountains in the western part of the refuge. 800000 acres of the refuge is wilderness, and precautions should be taken before visiting the refuge as the area is desert and has been used for bombing, so unexploded bombs may be encountered. for obvious reasons, those should be left alone.
Cibola Established 1964 Covers 16627 acres
Contains some of the last remaining stretches of natural flowing river in the lower Colorado. this section of the Sonoran Desert, called the Yuma Desert gets very little rain - about 2 inches a year- and gets very hot up to 120 degrees in summer. Over 250 species of birds are have been found here as it is one of the last stops on the Pacific Flyway for birds headed to the ocean.
Havasu Established 1941 Covers 37515 acres
this refuge protects 30 river miles - about 300 miles of shoreline, that run from Needles California to Lake Havusu City in Arizona. A portion of the refuge is set aside as Wilderness.Funding for the refuge is provided by the same non-profit group that helps protect the Bill Williams River WR.
Imperial Established 1941 Covers 25768 acres
Protects another 30 miles of the Colorado.This contains the last un-channeled portion of the Colorado before it enters Mexico. 15000 aces, more than half the refuge is wilderness. Unlike the desert surrounding it, the refuge is mostly wetlands which draw animals from all over, as it is the only source of water for many miles.
Kofa Established 1939 Covers 665,400 acres
Named after a former mine in the area- the King of Arizona mine, Kofa was established alongside Cabeza Preita as a refuge for the desert bighorn sheep. it is the second largest refuge in the state - behind Cabeza Prieta, and contains two mountain ranges the Kofa mountains and the Castle Dome mountains, which are prime habitat for the bighorn sheep as well as mountain lions.
Leslie Canyon Established 1988 covers 2270 acres
The youngest and smallest of Arizona's Wildlife refuges, Leslie Canyon was established to protect the yaqui chub and yaqui topminnow, two endangered fish, as well as a rare gallery forest of cotton wood, velvet ash and black walnut.
San Bernardino Established 1982 Covers 2309 acres
Located on the US-Mexico border, San Bernardino protects the headwaters of the yaqui river which flows into Mexico. like Leslie canyon, San Bernardino preserves a fragment of habitat for rare fish, that were plentiful in the area until the late 1800s.
Historical parks Memorials and other Units -4
Tumacacori Established 1990 Covers 360 acres
Originally preserved as a National Monument in 1908. Tumacacori was re-designated as a historical park in 1990. the park protects three mission sites -Tumacacori, Calabazas and Guevavi. the last two missions are closed to the public except for reserved tours. Tumacacori was originally built in 1691 and is one of the oldest missions in the state alongside Guevavi. Calabazas was built in 1756.the Calabazas and Guevavi missions were added in 1990 with the re-designation of the park.
Fort Bowie Established 1972 covers 1000 acres
Established originally in 1862 to protect from attacks by local Chiricahua Indians, Fort Bowie was a focal point in the war against Geronimo and the Chiricahua Indians for more than 30 years culminating in the surrender of Geronimo in 1886 and the resettlement of the Chiricahua to Florida and Alabama. The fort was abandoned in 1894, and the ruins of the fort are preserved in the historical park.
Hubbell Trading Post Established 1965 covers 160 acres
Bought in 1878 by John Lorenzo Hubbell, this trading post became the center of trade between local Najavo Indians and settlers in the region during the late 19th century.The Hubbell family owned the post until the NPS bought it in 1967. The post itself is still open to the public, and is maintained much as it was in frontier times. other buildings built by the Hubbell family are included in the park.
Coronado Memorial Established 1952 Covers 4750 acres
Commemorates the 1540 expedition of Francisco Coronado to the area which is now Arizona and the US Southwest. It was originally designated an international memorial in 1941, in the hopes that Mexico would set aside some land in its territory to form an international park like Waterton-Glacier, but despite interest by Mexico it was never set aside, so Congress re-designated the memorial in 1952.
Proposed monuments -5
Glen Canyon- Upgrades the existing recreation area to monument status and removes the current dam to restore the area to its previous setting. Existing area 1,254,117 acres. Proposed area 1.3 million acres
Grand Canyon Watershed
Protects the watershed of the grand canyon from mining and other developments. currently managed by the BLM. Estimated area 1 million acres.
Upgrades the current recreational area to Monument status. Contains 9 existing wilderness areas, all on the Nevada side of the border. existing area 1,495, 806 acres. proposed area 1.5 million acres
Upgrades the existing wildlife refuge to monument status. Estimated area 1 million acres
Upgrades the existing wildlife refuge to monument status. estimated area 700000 acres
And there is my rundown of Arizona. My next diary will take us to the state of Arkansas next week. as always, comments imput and criticism are welcomed for the improvement of future diaries.