Grijalva Cheers House Passage of Saguaro National Park Expansion
December 14, 2020
TUCSON— Today the U.S. House of Representatives passed Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva’s Saguaro National Park Boundary Expansion and Study Act of 2020 (H.R. 7098). The bill will expand Saguaro National Park and further protect the unique Sonoran Desert habitat of the greater Tucson area in Arizona, an effort he has championed since 2007.
Under the terms of the bill, the Secretary of the Interior is authorized to acquire a total of approximately 1,232 total acres of land to include in the park. The bill also directs the National Park Service to study future opportunities for expansion with a focus on land with high natural, cultural, recreational, and scenic values.
“Expanding and protecting Saguaro National Park is a no brainer in Southern Arizona because this park is our back yard,” Grijalva said. “This expansion will benefit both people and nature by increasing parkland in our community, improving wildlife habitats and connecting recreational trails in the area. Saguaro is already a popular destination for Arizonans and visitors from all over, and this is an exciting opportunity to permanently protect open space and provide more recreational opportunities. Today, with the House passage of my bill, we’re one step closer to achieving our goal. I am grateful to the community members who have worked with me to get to this point, and we’re going to continue until it becomes law.”
Saguaro National Park is home to iconic southwestern species including the saguaro cactus, desert tortoise, and coyote. The park received more than 1 million visitors in 2019, the largest amount the site has received since it first received federal protection 87 years ago.
The parcels identified for inclusion in the park will protect biodiverse riparian areas, wildlife habitat, scenic views, and archaeological sites and create an important linkage between Saguaro National Park and Pima County’s Sweetwater Preserve. The parcels in question were identified for inclusion in the park because of their high conservation value, the immediate threat of sale, and significant local support.
H.R. 7098 is supported by the Pima County Board of Supervisors, the Tucson Mountain Homeowners Association, the National Parks Conservation Association, and the Trust for Public lands, and many other conservation organizations.
Click here for a video message from Rep. Grijalva on the bill’s passage.