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Hittin' the Trails 4 You: New hours announced for Tumamoc Hill - KVOA | KVOA.com | Tucson, Arizona

Hittin' the Trails 4 You: New hours announced for Tumamoc Hill

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TUCSON — Tumamoc Hill is undertaking a few changes to both enhance the walking experience and preserve its plants, animals, historic structures and scientific research.

Beginning September 5th, the University of Arizona will extend access hours to the public to 4 AM to 10 PM. Previously, Tumamoc was closed to the public in the middle of the day, from 7:30 AM to 5:30 PM.

In an effort to preserve the irreplaceable resources, cable fencing and gates will be installed at the top to mark the end of the walking pathway and to restrict access beyond the paved road.

"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."

A new English/Spanish mobile app, the Tumamoc Tour, soon will be available for both iOS and Android devices. The tour, narrated by David Yetman (English) and Alberto Burquez (Spanish), with music by Calexico and Gabriel Naim Amor, tells 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 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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