The park celebrated its 75th anniversary with a series of events in mid-April. It was established by President Roosevelt in 1937 to protect both the habitat of organ pipe cactus and a portion of the Sonoran Desert ecosystem.
The April 14th event began with a flag ceremony led by a special events team at the Kris Eggle Visitor Center. Superintendent Lee Baiza then introduced guest speakers Ned Norris, chairman of the Tohono O’odham Nation, and Bill Broyles, author of Where Edges Meet and Our Sonoran Desert.
When the speakers concluded their presentations, the audience enjoyed the Ballet Folklorico de Ajo as they performed dances outdoors in front of the visitor center, the dancers’ colorful dresses moving in graceful arcs to Mexican folk music.
Following the dancing, an open house was held in the visitor center museum to view new exhibits, with rangers on hand to answer questions about the displays. The theme of the museum is “Seasons of the Desert” and exhibits illustrate the natural, cultural and archaeological history of the area.
Later, over 60 former and current employees gathered for an evening barbecue to celebrate the park’s past and look forward to its future. Former employees came from as far away as Idaho and North Dakota.