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County buys part of Tumamoc Hill

Citizen Staff Writer



Pima County successfully bid to buy a 320-acre parcel at Tumamoc Hill Monday for $4.7 million to preserve the ecologically important tract that is home to the University of Arizona’s Desert Laboratory.

The county used $2.35 million from 1997 and 2004 bonds, along with another $2.35 million from the state’s Growing Smarter Fund, to purchase the property at auction from the Arizona State Land Department.

The parcel has been a key target in the county’s overall Sonoran Desert Conservation Plan for several years.

“For many years, the community has expressed is desire to have this landmark conserved and protected from development,” Sean Sullivan, associate director of the Coalition for Sonoran Desert Conservation, said Monday.

The parcel has been used for over a century for the study of native Sonoran Desert plants, including the only long-term observations of saguaro cactus populations undertaken.

Prehistoric people inhabited the location as far back as 2,000 years ago and left behind the ruins of terraced sites, according to the UA history of the site.

The site will be preserved as is for continued use by the UA Desert Laboratory, Nicole Fyffe, special staff administrator to County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry, said Monday.

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