ENP 15.4 Saguaro: Symbol of the American West
Photo: This is what the ocotillo cactus fence from the Freeman Homestead looks like today.Discussion includes the following:
- Ranger Jeff Walner shares his background with Saguaro National Park (3:21)
- Jeff describes how immigrants led to the unique western ranching culture and history of Saguaro National Park. (4:46)
- Jeff describes the rise of traditional “cowboy” within Saguaro National Park (6:10)
- Jeff explains the impact of the arrival of the railroad in Tucson, Arizona (8:03)
- How did the mix of Mexican, Native American, and American culture influence cowboy culture in Arizona? (9:01)
- We learn what exactly the cattle were grazing out in the desert (11:04)
- How did the homesteaders using the lands of the Saguaro National Park live, build, and survive? (13:42)
- The origins of how homesteader generosity eventually gave us the gift of Saguaro National Park (16:15)
- Is there any truth to Hollywood’s depiction of John Wayne’s iconic feats using the Saguaro and barrel cacti?
- How does Hollywood and pop culture fit within the Sonoran desert and Saguaro National Park? (21:56)
- How Hollywood, Peanuts, and pop culture helped make the Saguaro cactus iconic throughout the world (22:26)
- How people view the symbol of the Saguaro differently. (24:12)
- Why is Saguaro National Park significant to American and Native American culture? (25:23)
- Jeff’s favorite story from Saguaro National Park. (27:35)
Photo: Saguaro National Park plaque with information on Desert Homes
Tips for your Travels:
- Pair the following tips with the sample itineraries from our recent family adventure to make the most of your Saguaro National Park visit:
- Always check the weather!
- If you come during the summer for the biodiversity, be wary of the heat!
- Allow for extended time to complete more challenging “elevation” hikes in Saguaro.
- Carry more water than you think you need!
- If traveling in the summer, map your hikes so you finish early - before 9am! - and save trips to visitors centers for midday when the temperatures climb
- Winter is an amazing time for backcountry camping
- November through April are the busiest months and parking is limited so consider coming later in the day and plan sunset hikes
- Leave your pets at home as encounters with wildlife can be deadly
- Loop drives offer great views with pull-offs for picnicking and trails for quick hikes
- The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a short drive from the park and features historic collections, live plants, and desert animals such as the javelina in a zoo-like setting
- Visit Saguaro National Park for more information.
- Review the park’s safety guidelines especially when visiting in hotter months.
- For the life of the workers on large area ranches, read Patricia Preciado Martin's oral history books: Beloved Land and Images and Conversations. The latter has reminiscences of Frank Escalante, well-known as a cowboy/vaquero in the Rincon valley and mountains.
- The Tanque Verde Guest Ranch, adjacent to Saguaro East, has a history that is unpublished. You may see their website for a highly rated "dude ranch" that still hires "cowboys" and is a park concessionaire.
- Become a Patron to continue our great journey through these beautiful parks.
- Make sure to listen to the previous episode on Saguaro National Park for more great information.
- Explore more adventures through beautiful parks.
- Contact us to tell us about your family adventures or ask a question.
playerCATEGORIES: Podcasts, Saguaro National Park