International Border Vehicle Barrier

International Vehicle Barrier
This steel fence is designed to stop car and truck traffic that used to drive from Mexico, through the wilderness of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, to enter into the United States illegally.

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.

photo of vehicle tracks left in the wilderness of ORPI
The damage left behind by vehicles traveling through the sensitive desert wilderness is lasting and extremely detrimental to native plant and animal species.

Sue Rutman, NPS Photo


The vehicle barrier has stopped nearly all off-road vehicle traffic through Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The barrier has not been breached and monitoring has revealed a dramatic decline in illegal off-road vehicle activity. Visitor safety has increased, as the potential for high-speed chases along park roads has virturally vanished. The porus nature of the barrier allows water, and animals- including the highly endangered Sonoran Pronghorn, to safely roam its natural range uninterrupted.

In 2015, the National Park Service, in partnership with the Department of Homeland Security and neighboring public lands, embarked on a sucessful Wilderness Restoration project to restore the disturbed lands to their natural state.


Last updated: November 3, 2016

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Mailing Address:

10 Organ Pipe Drive
Ajo, AZ 85321


(520) 387-6849 x7302

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