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CHIRICAHUA NATIONAL MONUMENT NEWS RELEASE
January 11, 2013
Contact: Chiricahua National Monument Visitor Center 520-824-3560 x 0
Chiricahua National Monument Offers Free Entry on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Chiricahua National Monument will waive entrance fees on Monday, January 21, 2013. The free entry is offered as part of a nationwide initiative to encourage people to visit and experience the many wonders of national parks across America. The National Park System includes 398 units and amazingly, 265 of those never charge an entrance fee. Other fee-free days at all national park units this year include: April 22-26 (National Park Week), August 25 (the National Park Service's birthday), September 28 (National Public Lands Day), and November 9-11 (Veterans Day weekend).
Nicknamed the "Wonderland of Rocks," Chiricahua National Monument (NM) was established in 1924 to protect the fantastic rhyolite rock formations known as "The Pinnacles." The park also features 17 miles of hiking trails, a visitor center that is open daily, and the first-come, first-serve
25-site Bonita Canyon Campground. Winter is a great time to explore the national monument. Cooler temperatures and clear skies make for great hiking weather. Chiricahua NM is home to many species of birds, including Mexican species not commonly found in the United States.
Chiricahua NM also protects remnants of the area's history. Guided tours of the Faraway Ranch house are currently offered Wednesday through Sunday at 11:00 am and 2:00 pm. Visitors should meet at the benches near the house for the free 40-minute tour. From its humble beginnings as a single family homestead in the 1880s to a popular 20th century guest ranch, the house and furnishings are reminders of days past.
Nestled in the Chiricahua Mountains, the monument receives an average of 12 inches of snow from November through March. Although the monument generally remains open, the upper portion of the scenic drive may be closed while staff clears snow from the roadway and parking areas. Be sure to call the Chiricahua NM visitor center before heading out for more information and current conditions. Visitors should dress in layers, and be prepared to encounter snow and ice on the trails. In recognition of the fee-free day, Western National Parks Association, the nonprofit organization that operates the bookstore in the visitor center, will offer a 15% discount on all items in the store on Monday, January 21.The monument is located four miles east of the junction of Arizona Highways 181 and 186. There are no services (gas, food, or drinks)available at the park. For more information, visit www.nps.gov/chir or call the visitor center at (520) 824-3560 ext. 0