Public Access Increases

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Date: September 17, 2014

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

News Release

Release Date: 09/09/2014

Contacts: Sue Walter, e-mail us 520-387-6849 ext. 7301

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Increases Area Available for Public Access

Ajo, Arizona – Areas in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument that have been closed since 2003 will again be available for public access beginning September 15, 2014. More than half the monument was closed to the public due to safety concerns from cross border illegal activity such as human and narcotic smuggling. This park action is a result of increased staffing and infrastructure and an emphasis on educating visitors to the risks that exist at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.The park is using new signage, informational brochures and increased safety orientations at the visitor center to improve visitor's situational awareness about the illegal activities that occur in the park.

Since 2003 the National Park Service has also increased the Visitor and Resource Protection staff at Organ Pipe from five rangers to 20.The Ajo Station of the U.S. Border Patrol has increased its staff from 25 agents to over 500 in the field with access to the park.In nearby Lukeville, the Office of Field Operations, Customs and Border Protection has increased the staff at the Point of Entry from 12 to 32 officers.

"No national park can guarantee the safety of every visitor and inherent risks exist in many backcountry settings.Cross-border activity in southern Arizona remains a reality," said Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument Superintendent Brent Range."Organ Pipe is public land. We feel that educating our visitors will provide the public with the tools they need to decide how they wish to enjoy the park."

"We support and understand the importance of the National Park Service's decision to expand public access at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument.We look forward to continuing our collaborative relationship and accomplishing each agency's shared goals." said Patrol Agent in Charge Scott Good of the Ajo Border Patrol Station.

Additionally, the Department of the Interior, National Park Service and U.S. Customs and Border Protection have worked cooperatively to construct infrastructure intended to provide additional security to border areas. Where there used to be a barbed wire fence designating the border between Mexico and the United States there is now a 30-mile vehicle barrier fence and a 5.2-mile pedestrian fence. The fences have reduced the illegal access by vehicles through the desert and have almost eliminated high speed pursuits on Hwy 85. Surveillance and radio towers also aid in the tracking and apprehension of illegal smugglers.

For more information about Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument contact Public Information Officer Sue Walter at 520-387-6849 x7301 or via email at: e-mail us.

About the National Park Service: The National Park Service will celebrate 100 years of caring for America's 401 national parks in 2016.Our more than 20,000 employees work with communities across the nation to help preserve local history and unique landscapes and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Learn more at


Last updated: February 24, 2015

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Mailing Address:

10 Organ Pipe Drive
Ajo , AZ 85321


520 387-6849

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