Tumamoc Hill extending access hours, getting new "tour" app - Tucson News Now

Tumamoc Hill extending access hours, getting new "tour" app

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Tumamoc Hill has become a popular destination for residents looking for a workout or taking a break from the city and thanks to some changes coming in the near future, more will have the chance to experience it. 

"Tumamoc Hill is a remarkable community gathering place, and represents the best of our city. We will continue to welcome the public and help connect people to the wonders and history of this site and the Sonoran Desert," said Benjamin Wilder, Tumamoc's interim director. "This is an opportunity to lift up the curtains of science and bring the public into a working research facility."

Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 5 access hours to the popular destination will be from 4 a.m. to 10 p.m., before the park was closed to the public from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. With the extended hours will come cable fencing and gates to mark the end of the walking path and to restrict access beyond the paved road.  

Tumamoc will also be getting a new app called "the Tumamoc Tour" that will be available in English and Spanish, on both Android and iPhones.

According to a news release, the tour is narrated by David Yetman (English) and Alberto Burquez (Spanish), with music by Calexico and Gabriel Naim Amor, and will tell the story of the Sonoran Desert through the lens of Tumamoc Hill. Six sections and 16 YouTube videos give the listener a fuller understanding of Tumamoc's significance.   

"So many people already love Tumamoc Hill, but are not aware of its historical significance. This tour will expand people's sense of what a special place this is," Wilder said.

Tumamoc is an 860-acre ecological reserve and U.S. National Historic Landmark that is owned and operated by the University of Arizona in partnership with Pima County.

The area hosted human inhabitants more than 2,500 years ago when indigenous people developed a village at the top of the hill. Nearly 500 years later, the Hohokam settled the area and farmed the land at the base of the hill. The Tohono O'odham are the descendants of the people who used to reside on the hill.

Tumamoc eventually became the site of the longest continuously studied ecological plots in the world, with research on the saguaro cactus beginning in 1903 under the direction of the Carnegie Institution of Washington, D.C. The UA officially purchased Tumamoc in 1956, focusing on research, education and preservation.

"Our goal is to enhance the walker experience and give interested visitors to Tumamoc a greater understanding of the significance of this ecological reserve," said Joaquin Ruiz, dean of the UA College of Science. "This app was conceived last fall and is modeled after the Mount Lemmon Science Tour, which has exceeded our expectations with more than 100,000 downloads since it was released in fall 2015."

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