Meet The Monument

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Date(s) - 11/15/2014
8:00 am - 3:00 pm


(Click to enlarge)

Helpful Links:
MTM 2014 Flyer
MTM Map to Event Site
MTM 2014 Volunteers Needed

The Fourth Annual Meet the Monument Event – November 15th

General Information and Schedule of Events

Signs will lead you in on the recommended route from I10 Exit 236 (Marana Exit) to Trico-Marana Road to Silver Bell Road.  The un-paved section of Silver Bell Road has been graded and high clearance vehicles are not required to get to the event site.  People have asked about Sasco Road as an alternative route, it is reported to be “rough but passable”.

Volunteers are Needed!! – Please see volunteer opportunities at: MTM 2014 Volunteers Needed.   Contact Jim Avramis at [email protected] or Royce Ballinger at [email protected] to volunteer or for additional information.

Hikes will begin at 8AM.

8k Walk on the Wild Side — Drew Milsom – Meets at the MTM site at 8:30AM.
The number of hikers is limited and pre-registration is required for this hike, sign up with Jim Avramis at [email protected].
Note:  This hike will be off trail and will involve about 1200 feet of total elevation gain. We will be hiking around Ragged Top. While it will be a rugged hike, there is no rush so the pace will be moderate.
5k Discovery Hike — Gary Borax with botanist, Ries Lindley – Meets at MTM site at 8AM
Birding Hike — Robert Ashbaugh – Meets at MTM site at 8AM
Nature Photography — Allan Morgan and Chris Flanagan – Meets at MTM site at 8AM

Walkabouts will leave from the event area around 1:15:

Natural history of Sonoran Desert — Royce Ballinger and Lin Hanson
Nature Photography — Alan Morgan and Chris Flanagan

The Talks will be held at the “speakers tent”.

9:00 – 9:50 — Joe Sheehey — Big Horn Sheep and the last native herd on Ragged Top
10:00 – 10:50 — Bob Schmalzel — Cacti of the Sonoran Desert
11:00 – 11:50 — Allen Dart — Archaeology of the Ironwood Forest Area
12:00 – 12:50 —  Bernard Siquieros (Peter Steere) — Tohono O’odham culture and traditions as related to the Ironwood Forest

Meet the Monument

Meet the Monument is conceived as an event that introduces the Ironwood Forest National  Monument (IFNM) to the public. It is designed to bring you out to the desert and give you several options to experience it first hand.  This event is structured as a learning experience, not a festival. There are no vendors here. To ensure security, the Bureau of Land Management sweeps the area a few days prior to the event, and is present all day.


The Proclamation that created the IFNM in 2000 cited the presence of the rare Nichols Turks Head cactus, the last remaining native herd of Big Horn Sheep in the Tucson Basin, the abundance of the Desert Tortoise, and the largest stand of Ironwood Trees in North America as reasons to set this parcel of land aside for protection. Consequently, activities are designed to give participants information on the desert flora, fauna, and natural history specific to the IFNM, and to get them out into it to see for themselves. We have two strands in this event: hikes/walkabouts, and talks.

The Talks: This year one speaker will discuss the cacti of the region, another will discuss the Big Horned Sheep resident on Ragged Top Mountain and what is being done to protect and propagate this fragile population in the Monument, a third will discuss the archaeology of the Monument area, and a final speaker will represent the Tohono O’odham Nation and discuss the culture and traditions of these neighbors of the Monument.

The Hikes: For those interested in experiencing the desert first hand, several optional hikes are available.  Hike leaders from the U of A Ramblers, Tucson’s Meetup hike group, and two local Marana Hiking Clubs will team up with local naturalists to point out plants, bushes and trees of interest on 8k and 5k hikes into the desert in the vicinity of Ragged Top Mountain and Wolcott Peak.  A bird watching specialist from the Audubon Society will lead a shorter birding hike along the washes close to Silverbell Road, a route on which this hike sighted 14 species of birds within a two mile track last year.  Two professional landscape photographers will lead a morning hike into the area surrounding base of Ragged Top Mountain and provide instruction on how to photograph the desert.  A former Friends of Ironwood Forest Board member and retired herpetologist from U of Nebraska along with a volunteer environmental education ranger at Saguaro NP West will lead a natural history hike up the wash behind the event site for those not inclined to a longer walking challenge.

Please reserve this date on your calendar and plan to join us for another chance to experience first-hand the Ironwood forest National Monument.

The Fourth Annual Meet the Monument event will be held on November 15th at the Group Camping Site on Silverbell Rd.  Map with directions to the site: MTM Map.

Contact Royce Ballinger at [email protected] or at 520-628-2092.

Sonsored by :

  • Arizona Lottery
  • Bach’s Cactus Nursery
  • Integrity Automotive
  • Pima Federal Credit Union
  • Rusty Lizard Press
  • Cynthia Williams, Long Realty