Centennial Initiative 2016

The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25, 2016. To us, it's not about cakes and candles - it's about being an organization ready to take on the challenges of our second century. Our blueprint to get there - A Call to Action - outlines the innovative work we want to accomplish. Saguaro National Park is part of this effort. Take a look at what we're doing locally and get involved!

What has already happened or is on-going!

Park Prescription Day 2016

Park Rx Logo

On April 24, 2016, the public was invited to join Saguaro National Park staff, state and local officials, health care providers, military veterans and Jefferson Park neighbors to walk, bike, or run 1.75-miles along a proposed Health and History Loop Trail connecting Banner-University Medical Center to the historic Jefferson Park neighborhood. The proposed trail will be the first public-private wellness trail in Arizona, designed so that doctors can prescribe a walk in nature Read more

Tourism to Saguaro National Park creates $66.5 million in Economic Benefit for Tucson

Cactus forest

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 753,440 visitors to Saguaro National Park in 2015 spent nearly $47.5 million in communities near the park. That spending supported 691 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of $66.5 million. Read more

2016 Citizen Science Interns

Group of Citizen Science interns

Saguaro National Park has teamed up with the local community who serve as Citizen Scientist for the Centennial Saguaro Survey of 2015-2016. Read More

2016 Tucson Festival of Books Opportunities to "Find Your Park"

Visitor pinning her favorite park on a map of national parks nationwide

On March 12 and 13, 2016 local residents and visitors were encouraged to "Find Your Park" at the Festival of Books on the University of Arizona Mall. Saguaro National Park was one of 20 of other national parks across the west in the National Parks Experience pavilion sponsored by Western National Parks Association. Read more

Centennial Celebrations at Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park mascot Sunny the Saguaro and Regional Director Sue Masica

Saguaro National Park hosted special events in March 2016 celebrating our 83rd Birthday and the NPS Centennial. Read more

Saguaro National Park at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Ranger Carolyn and the saguaro cactus display at the Philadelphia Flower Show

Saguaro National Park was chosen as one of 16 National Park Sites to have displays created in honor of the NPS Centennial. Saguaro staff provided photos and videos for reference to the artists. Ranger Carolyn, one of our Next Generation Ranger Corps interns traveled to Philadelphia in order to represent Saguaro National Park and talk about Centennial Citizen Science programs. Read more

Centennial Saguaro Survey 2016

Photo of Lauffer Middle School volunteers who were engaged in a Centennial Saguaro Survey on January 23rd 2016

Saguaro National Park has teamed up with the local community who serve as Citizen Scientist for the Centennial Saguaro Survey of 2015-2016. These Citizen Scientist collected data from a Saguaro plot which was established in 1941. This data will be compared to past surveys to determine the viability and future of the saguaro cactus and how it may be responding to a changing climate. Read more

Centennial SaguaroOn March 1, 2016, we celebrated our 83rd birthday with the National Park Service! This photo is a composite of our Centennial Saguaro as it has grown over the years. Just like our Centennial Saguaro, the park has become an iconic staple of the southwest, branching it's arms out to connect with local communities while stabilizing our cultural roots. Read more

NPS Celebrates Centennial Year with the Tucson community at the Rodeo Parade

NPS staff from Southern Arizona marched in the annual Fiesta de Los Vaqueros

Park Staff from Saguaro National Park, Tumacácori National Historical Park, Coronado National Memorial, Montezuma Castle National Monument and Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument marched in the annual Fiesta de Los Vaqueros! Many people loved Jasmine, the Saguaro Centennial Donkey who walked with us as our equine unit. We are excited to celebrate our Centennial Year with the Tucson community and urge everyone to come #FindYourPark! Read more

Honoring 100 Years of the National Park Service-Textile Style

A collage of the centennial quilt collection

Saguaro National Park displayed 13 art quilts created to celebrate the centennial of the National Park Service during February at the Arizona State Museum, on the University of Arizona campus. The quilts were created by Fiber Works, a group of textile artists from the Lincoln-Omaha, Nebraska area. Fabric artist, Peg Pennel created one of the 13 quilts using Saguaro National Park as her inspiration. Read more

Saguaro NP and Southern Arizona Roadrunners Host 5th Annual BEYOND Fun Run/Walk Event

Three people pose with Sunny the Saguaro, the park's mascotApproximately 250 eager fun runners and walkers lined up at the corner of Hohokam and Kinney Roads in Saguaro National Park to commemorate the 5th Anniversary of the tragic events of January 8, 2011 and to celebrate our community, as part of the 5th Annual BEYOND event. Read more

Tourism to Saguaro National Park Creates Over 58 Million in Economic Benefits

Saguaro cacti silhouettes at Saguaro National Park

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that 673,752 visitors to Saguaro National Park in 2014, spent nearly $41.6 million in communities near the Park. That spending supported 610 jobs in the local area and had a cumulative benefit to the local economy of more than $58 million. Read more

Volunteers Contribute a Million Dollars Worth of Time And Talent

Two Saguaro National Park volunteers smile for a photo on the outside patio at Tucson Mountain District

During the fiscal year of 2015, we had 554 volunteers contribute 43,948 hours of volunteer service. That's amazing! Saguaro volunteers have many positions around the park including helping at the visitor centers, removing invasive plants, patrolling our park trails, and many more vital roles that help keep Saguaro running. Read more

Congressman Grijalva And Local Students Celebrate Founder's Day

Group photo of Cholla and Pueblo high schools, Congressman Raul Grijalva, and park staff

Local high school students were joined by park staff and Congressman Raul Grijalva at Saguaro's Tucson Mountain District on the National Park Service's 99th birthday, August 25th. Share their experience through our short video and learn what the service's 99th birthday means for our parks. Read more

Weed Free Trails Program Gathers Local Citizens

A volunteer with a digging tool and a volunteer with a clipboard, at work in the desert

Saguaro National Park volunteer program, Weed Free Trails, has seen an increase in new volunteer participants of all ages showing an interest in protecting our trails.Read more

Youth Groups Tackle Buffelgrass, Becoming Stewards of the Future

Volunteers help remove Buffelgrass to help maintain Saguaro National Park’s natural beauty.

Saguaro National Park established a monthly volunteer event in 2007. The objective of this event is to manually remove invasive non-native grasses within the park. One of the grasses volunteers pull is Buffelgrass which competes with native plants for resources and is a fire threat to the Sonoran desert.Read more

Scholarly Pursuits: Park Break on Hydrogeology of Tinajas

Photo of graduate students and professor at Madrona Pools, Saguaro National Park

Graduate students came from all over the US to study the hydrogeology of spring-fed stream pools at Saguaro National Park during a “Park Break” spring break project at the park. The students did a fast but deep assessment of the geology and origin of water in these pools, and made recommendations for managing these small water sources that are so important for wildlife at the park. Read more

A Greener Saguaro with Bananas?

Saguaro National Park's Green Banana Award

There are green bananas in Saguaro National Park? Yes in fact there are four of them, once per quarter, buildings are competing to reduce energy consumption. Saguaro highlights and quantifies the costs saving by presenting the “Green Banana Award” to the best performing energy reduction facility during All Employee Meetings. The award celebrates the facility with the highest energy percentage savings per quarter over the previous year. Read more

Trail Volunteers Complete Stewardship Project on the Quilter Trail

Trail Volunteers Complete Stewardship Project on the Quilter Trail

On Saturday, November 2, 2013, volunteers from Saguaro National Park, the Arizona Trail Association, and international students from the University of Arizona Society of Mining Engineers volunteered their time by completing trail maintenance on the Quilter Trail, a segment of the Arizona Trail, where they brushed and installed erosion control devices. Read more

Pedals and Parks Cycle Saguaro

A child on a moonlit bike ride through Saguaro National Park.

With support from the National Park Foundation, Friends of Saguaro National Park, Arizona Trails Association, Seeds of Steward Ship, Cirrus Visual, and the University of Arizona, Saguaro National Park was able to repair and improve several wash crossings along the new multi-use Hope Camp Trail. Now cyclists, equestrians, and hikers alike can share the trail and connect with nature and the spectacular viewsheds as they get started on the Arizona Trail. Read more

Takin’ It to the Streets: Remote Sales Opportunities for America the Beautiful® Pass

Park rangers staff a both at a local outdoor retail store

Through the creation of a Remote Sales program, the Fee Management staff from Saguaro National Park has been able to provide remote sales and outreach services at a number of community and commercial events throughout the Tucson metropolitan area. Read more »

Transportation Funds Enable Urban School Children To Visit Saguaro National Park

Children hiking as part of an environmental education program

As school budgets shrink and visits by schools and community youth groups diminished, transportation funds from the Friends of Saguaro National Park rejuvenated visits, especially from targeted, underrepresented communities where budget cuts had the most pronounced effects. In 2011, between the BioBlitz and regular programming, an additional 4,000 young people visited the park that otherwise would not have. Read more »

Electronic Field Trip as part of BioBlitz 2011

Ranger Jeff and Dara on camera

During the 2011 National Geographic BioBlitz, Saguaro National Park was able to bring over 2,300 students into the park for the event. Millions more were offered an opportunity to participate virtually though a National Park Foundation Electronic Field Trip. Read more »

Civilian Conservation Corps Recognition Day

visitor is reading a sign explaining the history of

President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the legislation on March 31, 1933 that launched the Civilian Conservation Corps. In the 9½ years that followed, more than 3 million young men worked in our National Parks, and other public lands and advanced the development of these areas. The CCC Recognition Day event brings together authors and historians, lecturers, and alumni of the program itself to interact with the public to inform them about this important facet of our history. Read more »

Camp Moreno: Hispanic Family Overnight Adventure at Saguaro National Park

Children explore a tent with a backdrop of the Sonoran Desert behind the tent .

In October 2012, Saguaro National Park and the Intermountain Region hosted an overnight family camp at the park, with support from Western National Parks Association, the National Park Foundation and Alpino Mountain Sports with families attending from Roskruge K-8 School. Read more »

Barriers to the Wilderness Next Door: Hispanic Community Focus Groups Project

Diverse youth and a park ranger examine a plant encountered on a hike in a wash in Saguaro National Park.

In order to inform Saguaro National Park's community engagement initiatives, in cooperation with the University of Idaho's Park Studies Unit, a series of 8 bilingual focus groups were conducted in the greater metropolitan Tucson area with 43 members of the local Hispanic community participating. The results of this research have provided insight to Saguaro National Park about how to more effectively engage the significantly underrepresented local Hispanic community. Read more »

Rincon Mountain Visitor Center Exhibit Project

Exhibits original to building from the 1950s and one of the schematic drawings for the new exhibits in development

In 2012 Saguaro National Park began the process of overhauling the In 2012 Saguaro National Park began the process of overhauling the Rincon Mountain Visitor Center public space, with the generous help of the Friends of Saguaro National Park. Interior renovations to the building were finished in the fall of 2012 and work to design the new exhibits went into contract at the start of FY13. We anticipate installation of the final exhibit collection in the summer of 2014. Read more »

Saguaro National Park Tourism Creates $21.9 Million in Local Economic Benefit

View of saguaro cactus in Saguaro National Park

A new National Park Service (NPS) report for 2011 shows that the 610,045 visitors to Saguaro National Park spent $21.9 million in communities surrounding the park. This spending supported 294 jobs in the local area. Read more »

BioBlitz 2011

Rocky Mountain Acting Superintendent accepting the Bioblitz flag from Saguaro Superintendent and a represenative from National Geographic

On October 21-22, 2011, Saguaro National Park became the fifth park to host the annual BioBlitz. Starting in 2006 and continuing until the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016, the National Geographic Society and the National Park Service are sponsoring ten annual BioBlitzes, each a 24-hour scientific inventory and celebration of the diversity of life in a selected premier national park. These events are designed to make connections between parks, science, a Read more »

Reduce, Reuse and REFILL

Reusable water bottle

Saguaro National Park joined a growing number of parks and universities no longer using vending machines to sell disposable bottled water or soda on site. Read more »

Healthy Awards Program

Holistic wellness components of the Healthy Awards Program

Saguaro National Park has implemented a self-motivation based Healthy Awards incentive program to help employees improve their health and wellness, which may ultimately save lives as well as reduce costs. Read more »

Student Scholars in Action at the Saguaro National Park BioBlitz

Jason Schaller, entomology scholar at the University of Arizona, with Saguaro intern Yesenia Gamez and park ranger Katie Hooper

The Western National Parks Association supported scholarships for four graduate student projects as part of the 2011 BioBlitz at Saguaro National Park. Read more »

Wildlife Cameras at Saguaro National Park

Photo of mountain lion and cubs by wildlife camera, Saguaro National Park

Saguaro National Park has teamed up with the Friends of Saguaro National Park to create a website of literally thousands of wildlife photographs from the park taken during a recent wildlife camera study. Read more »

Preserving Rare Desert Waters in Saguaro National Park

Photo of Rincon Creek

Saguaro National Park is engaged in a long-term partnership to better understand, monitor, and protect the park's rare desert waters, which include intermittent streams, perennial springs and stream pools known locally as tinajas. Read more »

Children's Hiking Club

Children's Hiking Club student hikers with leaders in Saguaro National Park

The Children's Hiking Club was formed in October, 2012, to introduce children from Summit View Elementary School to the joys and health benefits of hiking. Monthly after school club meetings and monthly Saturday morning hikes in Saguaro National Park have provided educational opportunities to learn about resource preservation, Leave No Trace hiking ethics, healthy eating habits and the benefits of physical activity. Read more »

Parks in Focus: Connecting Youth to Science and Nature through Photography

Photograph of a saguaro cactus, looking upwards from the base towards a cloudy sky.

Since 2010, Saguaro National Park has partnered with the Udall Foundation's Parks in Focus program and the Boys and Girls Clubs to bring youth to the park to learn about and photograph the park. In 2012, the partnership was expanded, with the help of an America's Best Idea grant from the National Park Foundation, with program participants on a backpacking trip into the park's wilderness. Photos from the program have been exhibited in the park's Visitors Center. Read more »

Second Annual BEYOND Social Run

BEYOND participants running on a dirt road among the saguaro cactus in Saguaro National Park

This 5 mile run is part of a community-wide initiative to get more people outside recreating, enjoying the area's open spaces, and making a commitment to improve our collective physical and mental health. Read more »

Saguaro National Park Work Unit Surveys (W.U.S.)

Saguaro National Park's Work Unit Survey

Saguaro National Park developed a metric to stimulate discussion about overall culture and track successes and areas for improvement. Read more »

Youth Internship Program for Wilderness Stewardship at Saguaro National Park

Two youth interns and a volunteer measuring a saguaro

Youth interns work, hike, and help study the changing desert southwest while pursuing a career pathway with the National Park Service. Read more »

Connecting high school students to park through service learning

High school student volunteers photograph wildlife tracks

Youth interns work, hike, and help study the changing desert southwest while pursuing a career pathway with the National Park Service. Read more »

Citizen Science Centennial Saguaro Surveys: November 2015 to April 2016

The park has created a citizen science program inviting the public out to the park to participate in surveying the saguaro in the Park. This unique opportunity provides the public a chance to work in the park with our natural resources and the staff, while concurrently providing hands on education. What better way to enhance the public's perception of Saguaro National Park and the work that is accomplished daily.

Click here for more information.

Last updated: March 24, 2023

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