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The Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument lies in the desert southwest of Tucson, and it is about the hottest and driest in the USA. Much of the land is within the boundaries of the huge Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Gunnery Range and closed to the public but another large tract is given over to an Indian reservation, home of the Tohono O'Odham people. The whole area is quite densely covered by various types of cactus including the ubiquitous saguaro, sacred to the local tribe, and the much rarer organ pipe (Stenocereus Thurberi ), which grows only in the far south of the state and particularly strongly in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, an extensive section of pristine desert bordering Mexico.

The most scenic drive (Puerto Blanco Drive) is only open for five miles of the most northern section (out of 25 miles) due to illegal aliens from Mexico crossing through this area. The Border Patrol patrols this area extensively.

 

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Blooming Saguaro

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