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Title: Cactus Forest Drive, Saguaro National Monument
Author: Anonymous
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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    [Illustration: Cover picture by George Olin.]

                          Cactus Forest Drive

                       SAGUARO NATIONAL MONUMENT
                    18 Miles East of Tucson, Arizona


                      NATIONAL PARKS AND MONUMENTS

Saguaro National Monument is one of more than 175 units administered by
the National Park Service, U. S. Department of the Interior. They
include such outstanding scenic areas as Grand Canyon and Yosemite
National Parks and other Parks and Monuments set aside for their scenic,
scientific, historic or archeologic values. These superb areas are yours
and are a part of your heritage as American citizens.

The National Park Service has the job of preserving the Parks and
Monuments in their natural, unspoiled condition and of making them
available for your enjoyment in such a manner as to leave them
unimpaired for the inspiration of future generations. To achieve this
high purpose it has been necessary to prohibit such activities as
woodcutting, hunting, grazing, mining and even flower-picking. The men
in the uniform of the National Park Service are here to serve you, and
will welcome the opportunity to make your stay at Saguaro National
Monument more enjoyable.

We hope you will cooperate with us “by taking only pictures and
inspiration and leaving only footprints and goodwill.”

                         TIPS TO PHOTOGRAPHERS

Photographers will note that several trails have been laid out for their
convenience. These lead to particularly fine specimens and groups of
Saguaros, but have not been developed as permanent trails. They are
merely guides to the better photographic locations.

The best time to photograph the Cactus Forest is late in the afternoon
when the lengthening shadows make the cactus stand out in bold relief.
Excellent views of the forest, with the Santa Catalina Mountains in the
background, may be had from the hilltops as you drive north on the loop
road. The Arizona sun is brighter than you think, so use a light meter.


If you are interested in the work of the National Park Service and in
the cause of conservation in general, you can give active expression of
this interest, and lend support by aligning yourself with one of the
numerous conservation organizations which act as spokesmen for those who
wish our scenic heritage to be kept unimpaired for the enjoyment of
future generations.

Names and addresses of conservation organizations may be obtained from
the ranger.

                         KEEP AMERICA BEAUTIFUL

    [Illustration: Ray Manley photo]


In 1933 President Herbert Hoover by presidential proclamation created
Saguaro National Monument. Within its boundaries is found the
magnificent forest of mature Saguaros that is recognized as the finest
stand of this great cactus in the United States. It is one of the few
National Monuments dedicated to the protection and preservation of a
native plant species.

It is also one of the most diversified of our National Monuments. With
an altitudinal range of over 5,000 feet its 63,000-acre area encompasses
the peaks of two mountain ranges. Against this background of towering
mountains the cactus forest is presented as a rare jewel mounted in an
incomparable setting.


The Saguaro (_Carnegiea gigantea_) is the largest cactus native to the
United States. Common in northwestern Mexico, its range north of the
border is limited to southern Arizona, with the exception of a few
isolated small colonies along the California side of the Colorado river.
It grows on low desert plains and foothills in the hot dry climate of
the Lower Sonoran Zone. A prominent feature of this desert landscape is
the great variety of xerophytic (especially modified to exist on limited
water supply) plants, especially the cacti. In response to the arid
conditions under which it must survive the Saguaro exhibits a degree of
adaptability equalled by few plants anywhere.

The construction of the Saguaro is simple, yet effective. The stem is
supported by an inner framework of from 12 to 30 slender vertical ribs.
Arranged in a circle and joined at various places these ribs form an
openwork tube that possesses great strength and rigidity. In and around
this tube is a spongy tissue capable of absorbing a great amount of
water. This is facilitated by the accordion-like pleats of the interior
surface of the stem. These extend or close together as the moisture
content of the plant increases or diminishes.

The roots that serve this living storage tank are no less remarkable.
The tap root is small and acts as little more than a pad to support the
great weight of the plant. The radial roots are heavy and of great
length. They radiate out from the base of the Saguaro, usually no more
than a foot below the surface of the ground, but often to a distance
equal to the height of the plant. They serve the double purpose of
gathering food and moisture, and of holding the great bulk of the trunk
upright against the fierce desert storms. In their progress through the
rocky soil in which the Saguaro usually grows they become contorted and
act as anchors which are not easily dislodged.

    [Illustration: George Olin Photo
    _The red pulp and shiny black seeds of the Saguaro fruit are eagerly
    taken by almost all animals. Even man finds it delicious. The
    scarlet lining of the opened and split pod is often mistaken by
    newcomers for a red flower._]

    [Illustration: Ray Manley Photo
    _The Saguaro blooms at night, and on bright days closes about 10 the
    next morning. They attract swarms of insects, which in turn lure
    many birds. This is the state flower of Arizona and blooms in May
    and June._]

The associations of the Saguaro with other plants of the desert have not
as yet been fully studied. However, it is apparent that for the first
years of its life the young Saguaro seedling requires the protection
furnished by a shrub or tree. Here it makes slow but steady progress
until at 50 years of age it may be 10 to 12 feet tall. During the next
century it may attain a height of 40 feet and a weight of several tons,
dwarfing its protector of former years.

The ecological importance of the Saguaro to animals is better known. Two
species of Woodpeckers, the Gila Woodpecker and the Gilded Flicker,
drill deep holes into the plant and fashion nests in the cool interior.
Actually this causes little damage to the Saguaro, which soon forms a
thick scar tissue around the walls of the excavation, sealing it away
from the rest of the plant. In succeeding years these nests may be taken
over by Elf Owls, Sparrow Hawks, Flycatchers, or Purple Martins. Larger
birds build their nests among the branches of the Saguaro. Chief among
these are the Red Tail Hawks and Great Horned Owls.

    [Illustration: Ray Manley Photo

    Yucca elata (Palmilla, _Soapweed_) _is one of the best known plants
    of the Southwest. The beautiful white plumes of flowers appear in
    May and June._]

                         _CACTUS FOREST DRIVE_

While at Saguaro you will find it is desirable to take advantage of the
recreational and educational facilities provided for your use. After you
leave the Administration Building, signs along the 9.1-mile loop road
will direct your attention to special exhibits along the way. Each area
has been chosen because of features especially interesting to the
visitor. Limited exploring and hiking trips are encouraged along Cactus
Forest Drive. A picnic area provided with fireplaces, tables and ramadas
is located at the 8-mile point.

Among the many stops along the Cactus Forest Drive five have been
selected as especially important to an understanding of the natural
features of the Monument. Each has “in place” information which will add
to your appreciation of the Cactus Forest.

First Stop

ROCK PARAPET—Approximately 200 years ago prevailing climatic conditions
were of such nature as to permit germination of a large number of
Saguaro seeds, creating the more or less even-aged stand of Giant
Saguaros we see here today.

The Tanque Verde Mountains to the east are composed largely of
crystalline rocks formed under conditions of great heat and pressure.
They were elevated by movements of the earth’s crust and now are
gradually being eroded away.

The Tucson Valley to the north is in reality a deep canyon (2,000 to
3,000 feet) filled with debris.

Second Stop

CRISTATE SAGUARO—This abnormal growth, called a cristate, is of rare
occurrence. Many theories have been advanced as to what causes these
“crests” but none hold true in all cases. Although the cause is unknown,
the pattern of their growth is simple. Instead of growing in three
directions the cells of a cristate grow only upward and outward in two.
This results in a fan-shaped malformation with a long growing line in
the center of the upper edge. Although a cristate may apparently develop
from an injury, there is every reason to believe that, once established,
the tendency to cristate becomes a genetic character. Seed from
cristates often produce cristate plants. An excellent specimen of
cristate Barrel Cactus may be seen at the entrance to the Nature Trail.

Third Stop

NATURE TRAIL—Along this 300-yard trail you will find most of the
important plants native to the Cactus Forest. Each plant is labelled
with both common and scientific names, together with much additional


    The Tanque Verde (green tank) _and Rincon (inside corner) Mountains
    are an important part of Saguaro National Monument. This is
    presently the “back country” of the monument. The mountainous
    section has a wide variety of interests in the field of biology. The
    range of climates and life zones combine to make one of the most
    interesting stories to be found in any of your national parks or

    ELEVATION—2,600 to 8,590 ft.
    EL. 2,600 FT.
    EL. 3,000 FT.
    EL. 8,590 FT.
    EL. 8,465 FT.

    [Illustration: George Olin Photo
    _Redtail Hawk_

    _This large Buteo is a common resident of the Monument. It
    frequently nests among the arms of the Saguaro. Since its food
    consists mainly of small rodents it is one of the most beneficial of
    our birds._]

Fourth Stop

an elevation of 4,000 feet.

The country you see here is a good example of what is called the Lower
Sonoran life zone. Here you may expect such typical desert animals as
the Roadrunner, Gambel Quail, Kangaroo Rat, Jackrabbit and the Javelina
or “wild pig”.

Fifth Stop

JAVELINA DEN (_hah-veh-LEE-nah_)—In these undercuts the Javelinas (or
Peccary) often hide during the day to escape from the heat of the sun.
At night many Javelinas are often present in this particular area due to
the abundance of Jojoba bushes.

From the view point near the Javelina Den a striking view may be had of
the distant Santa Cruz Valley. On a clear day seven mountain ranges may
be seen from this spot.

    [Illustration: _Screech Owl_—_These small grayish owls (usually with
    more conspicuous “ear” tufts) are permanent and valued residents of
    the Saguaro country. On their silent night-time hunts they eat great
    numbers of mice and insects._]

    [Illustration: _Western Box Turtle_—_Occasionally observed in the
    Cactus Forest._]

    [Illustration: _Gila (Hee-lah) Monster_—_The only poisonous lizard
    in the United States; it is protected in Arizona by law. Its skin is
    beaded and its color is marbled black with pinkish or yellowish. The
    Gila Monster reproduces by eggs which are laid in the sand._]

    [Illustration: _Peccary_—_Bands of peccaries, so-called wild pigs,
    are commonly seen along the Cactus Forest Drive._]

    [Illustration: _Palmer Thrasher_—_Robin-sized, with curved bill,
    long tail and gray-brown back. Often nests in the Cholla Cactus._]

    [Illustration: _Mexican Mule Deer_—_Most people are accustomed to
    thinking of deer as animals of the forest, but surprisingly enough
    the rough foothill country in the desert supports a large population
    of deer. The Mule Deer is a true vegetarian and during the fall and
    winter browses extensively on trees and shrubs and during spring and
    summer consumes a variety of grasses and herbs. The young are born
    in late spring or summer and the fawns are sometimes seen at that
    time of year._]

    [Illustration: _Gilded Flicker_—_Many of the small holes in the
    Saguaros were made by this bird as it hollows out a cavity for its

    [Illustration: _Roadrunner_—_This odd looking, ground-dwelling
    relative of the Cuckoos resides in brushy places throughout the
    Southwest. It eats insects, spiders, lizards, small snakes and mice.
    Rattlesnakes sometimes are killed by Roadrunners._]

    [Illustration: _Whitewinged Dove_—_Large numbers of these birds may
    be seen in the Cactus Forest when the Saguaro fruits are ripe._]

    [Illustration: _Gambel Quail_—_A common desert dweller that may be
    observed at any season of the year. It nests on the ground._]

    [Illustration: _Arizona Rock Squirrel_—_Distinguished from the Gray
    Squirrels by their less bushy tail and mottled coat. They are ground
    dwellers, but can climb trees if necessary._]

    [Illustration: _White-throated Wood Rat_—_Commonly known as the Pack
    Rat, this interesting animal builds its nest in a mound of cactus
    segments. Marauders think twice before they molest this spiny home.
    Seldom seen in daylight. Note the baby, lower left._]

    [Illustration: _Above_—_Harris Ground Squirrel_—_A small ground
    squirrel with striped back and a bushy tail usually held erect. They
    are active during the day and may be seen from April through

    [Illustration: _Below_—_Arizona Round-tailed Ground
    Squirrel_—_Another common ground squirrel of the desert. It has a
    short tail and is tan in color._]

        “All photographs on pages 9-12 by Marvin H. Frost, Sr.”
                            5th Ed. 4-56 20M

Saguaro National Monument, a unit of the National Park System, is one of
180 areas administered by the National Park Service, U. S. Department of
the Interior.

The traveling public is becoming increasingly aware of the National
Monuments, which have received less publicity than the great, well-known
National Parks, yet which possess extremely interesting features.

Many of these are in the Southwest; we hope you will take the
opportunity to visit one or more of them on your trip.

_Administered as a group by the General Superintendent, Southwestern
National Monuments, Box 1562, Gila Pueblo, Globe, Arizona_

    Arches National Monument, Moab
    Natural Bridges National Monument (care of Arches)
    Rainbow Bridge National Monument (care of Navajo)
    Aztec Ruins National Monument, Aztec
    Chaco Canyon National Monument, Bloomfield
    El Morro National Monument, El Morro
    Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument (care of General Supt.)
    Gran Quivira National Monument, Gran Quivira
    Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Chinle
    Casa Grande National Monument, Coolidge
    Chiricahua National Monument, Dos Cabezas
    Coronado National Memorial, Star Route, Hereford, Arizona
    Montezuma Castle National Monument, Camp Verde
    Navajo National Monument, Tonalea
    Sunset Crater National Monument (care of Wupatki)
    Tonto National Monument, Roosevelt
    Tumacacori National Monument, Tumacacori
    Tuzigoot National Monument, Clarkdale
    Walnut Canyon National Monument, Rt. 1, Box 790, Flagstaff
    Wupatki National Monument, Tuba Star Route, Flagstaff

_Other areas administered by the National Park Service in the Southwest

    Grand Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon
    Grand Canyon National Monument, Grand Canyon
    Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Ajo
    Petrified Forest National Monument, Holbrook
    Pipe Spring National Monument, Moccasin
    Saguaro National Monument, Rt. 8, Box 350, Tucson
    Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Monument (care of Colorado
          National Monument)
    Colorado National Monument, Fruita
    Great Sand Dunes National Monument, Box 60, Alamosa
    Mesa Verde National Park
    Lake Mead National Recreation Area, Boulder City
    Lehman Caves National Monument, Baker
    Bandelier National Monument, Santa Fe
    Capulin Mountain National Monument, Capulin
    Carlsbad Caverns National Park, Carlsbad
    White Sands National Monument, Box 231, Alamogordo
    Platt National Park, Sulphur
    Big Bend National Park
    Bryce Canyon National Park, Springdale
    Capitol Reef National Monument, Torrey
    Cedar Breaks National Monument (care of Zion)
    Timpanogos Cave National Monument, Pleasant Grove
    Zion National Park, Springdale
    Zion National Monument (care of Zion)

                    This booklet is published by the
                Box 1562 H, Gila Pueblo, Globe, Arizona

 _which is a non-profit distributing organization pledged to aid in the
  and interpretation of Southwestern features of outstanding national

The Association lists for sale interesting and excellent publications
for adults _and_ children and very many color slides on Southwestern
subjects. These make fine gifts for birthdays, parties, and special
occasions, and many prove to be of value to children in their school
work and hobbies.

May we recommend, for instance, the following items which give
additional information on Saguaro National Monument and the Southwest?

  ****3. ARIZONA’S NATIONAL MONUMENTS. King, ed. Comprehensive chapters,
          written by rangers, on the 16 monuments in the state and Grand
          Canyon. Beautifully illustrated, 8 color plates, maps. 116 pp
  ***45. FLOWERS OF THE SOUTHWEST DESERTS. Dodge and Janish. More than
          140 of the most interesting and common desert plants
          beautifully drawn in 100 plates, with descriptive text. 112
          pp., color cover, paper
  ***60. FLOWERS OF THE SOUTHWEST MESAS. Patraw and Janish. Companion
          volume to the Deserts flower booklet, but covering the plants
          of the plateau country of the Southwest. More than 140 species
          are beautifully illustrated in the 100 plates of line drawings
          by Jeanne R. Janish, with descriptive text, 112 pp., color
          cover, paper
  ***61. FLOWERS OF THE SOUTHWEST MOUNTAINS. Arnberger and Janish.
          Descriptions and illustrations of plants and trees of the
          southern Rocky Mountains and other Southwestern ranges above
          7,000 feet elevation. 112 pp., color cover, paper
  ***64. POISONOUS DWELLERS OF THE DESERT. Dodge. Invaluable handbook
          for any person living in the desert. Tells the facts about
          dangerous insects, snakes, etc., giving treatment for bites
          and stings, and dispels myths about harmless creatures
          mistakenly believed poisonous. 48 pp
  ***67. ANIMALS OF THE SOUTHWEST DESERTS. George Olin and Jerry Cannon.
          Interestingly written accounts of 42 desert dwelling mammals
          with 75 line drawings. 112 pp., color paper cover
  **107. TUMACACORI’S YESTERDAYS. By Earl Jackson. The interestingly
          written story of 18th and early 19th century Indian and
          Spanish life in southern Arizona and Sonora as reflected in
          the history of the mission of San Jose de Tumacacori, now
          Tumacacori National Monument. 96 pp., color paper cover, 53
          excellent illus
  **131. NALAKIHU. By Dale S. King. Thorough and concise reports on an
          interesting pueblo in Wupatki National Monument. Technical but
          has interesting summaries and discussions. 193 pp., 81 plates,
          17 tables
  **650. FOR THE DEAN. Erik K. Reed and Dale S. King, eds. Handsome
          volume of anthropological essays by 23 of his former students
          in honor of the noted Dr. Byron Cummings of the U. of Arizona.
          Valuable contribution to science, consisting mostly of
          Southwestern subjects. Authors include Haury, McGregor,
          Hawley, Wedel, Willey, Spicer, etc., and subjects cover wide
          field: Pueblo witchcraft, Cocopah history, Papago physical
          status, Great Kivas, etc. 319 pp., illus., cloth

For the complete list of almost 100 publications and 1700 color slides
on Southwestern Indians, geology, ruins, plants, animals, history, etc.,
ask the Ranger, or you can obtain one by mail by writing the

                           NATIONAL MONUMENTS
                 Box 1562 H—Gila Pueblo, Globe, Arizona

    [Illustration: Petroglyph of Gambel Quail]

                                    _Offset by_ KILLIAN PRINTING SERVICE
                                                          GLOBE, ARIZONA

                          Transcriber’s Notes

—Silently corrected a few typos.

—Retained publication information from the printed edition: this eBook
  is public-domain in the country of publication.

—In the text versions only, text in italics is delimited by

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