Monday, April 16, 2012

Safety at Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona

We’ve left Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, but wanted to say something about safety there. We’ve met people who refuse to go there, concerned with drug trafficking in the park and the issue with people illegal crossing the border between Mexico and the United States. As far as drug trafficking, yes, it is a problem in the park and in 2002 a park ranger, Kris Eggle (for whom the visitor’s center is named) was killed in the line of duty in pursuit of drug traffickers. The park took swift action and closed much of the backcountry to visitors, however drug trafficking from Mexico is real and happening, although not in the campground and areas where visitors frequent. The same goes for illegal immigrants into the US – they, too, tend to stay away form the popular areas, for fear of being caught. That being said, the first day we arrived, once we had set-up and eaten lunch, we took the short drive (1 ½ miles) to the visitor’s center. One the way back, not twenty-minute later, we drove by 3-4 rangers handcuffing what seemed to be an illegal entrant – the sirens of border patrol quickly coming.

Even with all this going on, we felt safe here and would come back again. More photos of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument have ben posted to our Picasa photo page ~ enjoy!


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