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TOPIC: Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument 6 months 1 week ago #1

I'm considering adding a stop to the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument this winter. It looks very nice but when seeing images like below I pause concerned about personal and property safety.

Has anyone been? What was your experience?

TIA and safe travels.

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Ken & Gizzi
Ford 2015 F350 DRW
--
"My Redwood; Go anywhere and always be at home."
"The trouble with trouble is it starts as fun"

"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been" - Wayne Gretzky
Last Edit: by KenA.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument 6 months 1 week ago #2

From the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument web-site:

www.nps.gov/orpi/planyourvisit/safety.htm

What most people want to know: Is the monument a safe place to visit?

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument is a safe place to visit. However, illegal border crossings and activities, including drug smuggling, occur daily. It is unlikely that you will encounter any illegal border activity but you should be aware that such a situation is possible. Many safety precautions are in existence as a means to protect you and to continue preserving this national treasure.

Remember that cell phone service is usually out of range within Monument boundaries.

1) Know where you are at all times, follow good safety procedures and use common sense when making decisions.
2) Do not pickup hitch-hikers
3) Keep valuables, including spare change, out of sight and lock your vehicle
4) Avoid traveling in well-used but unofficial "trails"
5)People in distress may ask for food, water or other assistance. It is recommended that you do not make contact. Report the location of the distressed people to park staff, or the Border Patrol.
6) Report ANY suspicious behavior to park staff or Border Patrol. Please do not contact suspicious persons.

The number one danger: Driving

Most visitor injuries in the monument result from motor vehicle accidents. Speed limits along all roads within the park are established for your safety and to protect the animals that cross these roads. Remember, too, that you share the road with bicyclists and pedestrians. Due to the uneven nature of the terrain, the scenic drives have a 25 foot vehicle length limit.

Another article of interest:

www.yahoo.com/news/blogs/ticket/fighting...actus-132342614.html

ORGAN PIPE CACTUS NATIONAL MONUMENT, Ariz. -- On a hot desert morning last week, a group of 20 tourists gathered in the visitor center in Arizona's Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument to attend a mandatory safety briefing before taking a guarded van tour to Quitobaquito springs. The springs is part of the 69 percent of the remote border park west of Tucson that has been closed to the public since Kris Eggle, a 28-year-old law enforcement park ranger, was shot and killed while pursuing drug runners armed with AK-47s in 2002.

Organ Pipe was named "the most dangerous national park" that year and also in 2003 by the U.S. Park Rangers Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police, before the group discontinued the series. The drastic increase of drug activity on Arizona's southern border since the 1990s has turned Organ Pipe rangers into de factor Border Patrol agents, and spurred state lawmakers to pass several laws cracking down on illegal immigrants within the state.

Another Article:


tucson15.nytimes-institute.com/2015/05/2...-organ-pipe-reopens/

During the park’s closing, the smuggling and illegal border crossings continued. In 2013, the most recent year for which figures are available, roughly 100,000 pounds of drugs were recovered and more than 4,000 arrests were made in the park, according to Customs and Border Protection.

The decision to reopen the monument was in the making for a few years, said Matthew Vandzura, chief ranger at the park. Officials needed to assess visitor safety issues, like cellphone coverage and the ease of access

Mr. Vandzura said officials also had to reconsider how they would educate visitors about the park. They went from telling the public “It’s dangerous, don’t go there,” he said, to an “education-based system where we say, ‘We are going to tell you everything we can about the potential threats and dangers. We are going to give you a realistic picture of what is going on and you make your own decision.’ ” This is a practice adopted by many large-scale parks, including the Grand Canyon.

Park officials said that the amount of human and drug trafficking will always be a problem, and visitors are warned of the chance that they will see people moving through the park illegally. Visitors are asked to report what they see so that proper measures can be taken.

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Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument 6 months 1 week ago #3

Thanks GipC for the background info. Good advise all around.

My question though is have you been there? If so what was your experience. Local knowledge is what I seek above all.

Thanks!

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Ken & Gizzi
Ford 2015 F350 DRW
--
"My Redwood; Go anywhere and always be at home."
"The trouble with trouble is it starts as fun"

"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been" - Wayne Gretzky

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument 6 months 1 week ago #4

Went there last January but stayed in Ajo. Great park and there is a campground in the park with sites large enough to accommodate Redwoods.Lots of Border Patrol presence on the ground and in the air so can't imagine much risk. The park campground has power and water and was full in January so a rez is recommended.

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Northwest Travellers

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument 5 months 3 weeks ago #5

We stayed in the National Park campground in 2013. The sites are large and the park is beautiful with lots of great hiking and scenic drives.
Last year we stayed just outside the park boundary near Why, Az at Gunsight Wash BLM area.
While exploring the park in November 2017, we drove along the scenic drive on the southern border of the park with Mexico. We came upon a group of migrants which included some men of various ages and a young girl, perhaps 10 years old. They were waiting along the roadside for Border Patrol to discover them. Upon our return trip along the road, Border Patrol had arrived and were interviewing them. That has been our only encounter with any activity along the border there.
The park is gorgeous and well worth visiting.
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EandLTeam
Last Edit: by EandLTeam.

Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument 5 months 2 weeks ago #6

Thanks EandL, this helps my decision process.

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Ken & Gizzi
Ford 2015 F350 DRW
--
"My Redwood; Go anywhere and always be at home."
"The trouble with trouble is it starts as fun"

"I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been" - Wayne Gretzky
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