The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is located in southern Arizona and is one of the many unique geological attractions located in the state. The area is named for the unique plant that wildly grows along its plains - the Organ Pipe cactus. It is the only place in the United States that grows the cacti which makes both the area and vegetation precious. The Organ Pipe is a special type of cacti that is more common in Mexico. The plant has thin stems that grow upwards from the base. The cactus look like large clusters and can grow in heights of ten feet and up. The Organ Pipe are some of the largest cactus plants in the United States. Another interesting feature of the monument is the large Indian Reservation that is located on the premises. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is also home to the Tohono O'Odham people. The monument covers a total of 330,000 acres.
Besides the Organ Pipe, there are various other cacti that grow in the monument area. Researchers and geologists have counted twenty-six distinct species of cactus at the monument. Flora that is native to the Sonoran Desert thrive in the area. Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument celebrates the landscape of the Sonoran Desert, leaving visitors in awe of its vast beauty. The area is mild and usually sunny with extremely hot summers. A variety of animals that have naturally adapted to the extreme temperatures have made the desert their home.
A Visitors Center is located on the monuments ground. The Center was named after Park Ranger Kris Eggle who was killed during a United States Border Patrol operation. At the Visitors Center, new tourists to the monument can view a captioned slide show explaining the monument's importance and provides information on places hikers can explore. There is also a museum located in the Visitors Center that has photographs and dioramas on the Sonoran Desert. A primitive campground is located at the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The campgrounds are open all year long and are available on a first-come, first-served basis. There are approximately 208 campsites on the ground. Visitors have access to tables, rest rooms, grills, water, and a trash dump at the campsite.
An entrance fee of $3 is required to enter the park for persons on foot or bicycle. An additional charge of $2 is incurred for vehicles. Annual passes that allow year long passage into the monument can be obtained for a fee of $15. The monument sees a relatively low number of visitors when compared to other national monuments in Arizona. The reason for the low attendance is attributed to the monuments far location away from other popular tourist sites.
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a protected area that is used for conservation and scientific research studies. Because of the monument's importance, it was designated as an International Biosphere Reserve by the United Nations. Constant projects are invested into the monument to keep the grounds beautiful and free of too much human interference. The projects increase the quality of experience the monument provides.
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