By The Numbers: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument boasts diverse Sonoran Desert flora and fauna, interesting geology, traces of the historic Camino del Diablo trail, gorgeous scenery, and more. Here are some numbers that help to tell the park's story.
Acreage of the park. Federally protected wilderness accounts for a whopping 94 % share (312,600 acres).
Recreational visits in 2009. Visitation is skewed toward the cooler months, with nearly 80% tallied during October through April. The hot month of August averages less than 4% of annual visitation.
Earthquakes detected during a recent one-year period by a very sensitive seismic station placed in the park as part of the National Science Foundation’s 2,000-station EarthScope initiative.
Vascular plants identified in the park, including 28 cactus species. The extraordinary biological diversity of this desert park is reflected in 279 bird species, 53 mammals, 40 reptiles, four amphibians, and even one fish.
105° F (plus)
Typical daily maximum temperature during May through September. During October through April, afternoon temperatures are likely to be in the 60s or 70s.
Length of the park border shared with Mexico. Illegal immigrants and drug smugglers pose significant hazards. The park's visitor center is named for Kris Eggle, an Organ Pipe Cactus ranger murdered by drug smugglers in 2002.
23 or so feet
Maximum height of the Organ Pipe Cactus (Stenocereus thurberi), the second-tallest cactus in the U.S. (after the saguaro). The plant, which may take 150 years to reach its maximum height, has 5 to 20 slender, spiny branches curving upward from a single short trunk near ground level.
Length of the Ajo Mountain Drive, the park's most popular road for windshield touring and bicycling.
Average annual precipitation. This amount, which can vary greatly from year to year, is far below that needed to sustain trees or grassland in such a hot environment. The result is a desert shrubland dominated by vegetation that can tolerate searing heat as well as frost, drought and flash flooding.
Natural arches in relatively accessible locations. Two can be viewed in Arch Canyon and another is accessible from Ajo Mountain Drive via a wayside trail. There are other arches in more remote locations.
Overnight stays in July 2009. That's one-hundredth of one percent of last year's 19,382 overnight stays.
Fish species found in the park. The tiny Quitobaquito pupfish (Cyprinodon macularius eremus) that inhabits the park's Quitobaquito springs, stream, and pond is a rare species found nowhere else in the U.S.
Amount of pack animal grazing permitted in the park. Pack animal users are required to carry supplemental feed such as pellets or rolled grains on all trips