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Contact: Sue Walter, 520-387-6849 x7301
Ajo, Arizona - National parks around the country are making plans throughout the year to celebrate America's best idea turning 100. Organ Pipe Cactus is celebrating during the park's peak tourist season;January through March. "Instead of having one event, park staff decided to hire more interpretive seasonal rangers so that every day there will be additional programs offered to the visitors" explained Sue Walter, Chief of Interpretation. "In addition a couple new programs are being launched to celebrate the centennial."
The new seasonal staff includes five general rangers from around the country hired to conduct a wide range of ranger-led programs, plus two additional staff that specialize in educational outreach to local schools and night sky/astronomy programs. Both of these programs are being introduced to celebrate the centennial and will continue into future years. The training for the new employees included two weeks of resource immersion with the park's subject matter experts, a multi-agency wilderness workshop and wilderness first aid.
In addition to the traditional ranger led programs, multiple star gazing and full moon activities will be offered throughout the season to introduce visitors to the amazing Sonoran Desert night sky, as well as programs highlighting areas of the park that reopened last year, including the Quitobaquito Spring and Gachado Line Camp.
Another centennial initiative is a national action to get more people into parks doing healthy activities called "Healthy Park Healthy People." Organ Pipe Cactus has two new activities;yoga and a hiking challenge. Thanks to local yoga instructors, Morgana Wallace, Nina Sajovec and Merrill Meadow, visitors can learn about the benefits of yoga and try it for themselves in the natural setting. The "I Hike for Health" challenges visitors to hike five miles which they document and earn a challenge pin when they complete the challenge.
A list of the ranger-led programs and schedule is on the park's