For the longest time, the only indication of an international border was stone obelisks placed every few miles across the border. Eventually a barbed-wire fence appeared, to try and keep livestock and vehicles from traversing the desert wilderness of Organ Pipe Cactus. In the mid 1900s, the land surrounding Organ Pipe Cactus became prime corridors for illegal trade, due to its rugged terrain, yet close proximity to major metropolitian areas. In order to avoid detection, many individuals began illegally driving through the barbed-wire fence into the Wilderness of Organ Pipe Cactus.
The damage caused by this illegal use was astounding. Eventually over 200 miles of illegal roads traversed Organ Pipe Cactus.
In 2004, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument undertook the work of constructing a vehicle barrier along the south boundary at the Mexico border. It stretches 30 miles of our southern boundary.
The barrier was designed to stop vehicles from driving around the US customs offices in Lukeville on Hwy 85, or up through the desert wilderness instead of using Hwy 85.
In 2006, the NPS finished building this steel fence. Although this three-year construction project was costly, the natural and cultural resources it has protected are priceless, as well as it's positive impacts to visitor safety, officer safety, and our national security.