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Labelled with ICRA
Minerals Fossils and Artifacts Tucson Mineral and Gem World
Family owned and operated in the same location since 1968
2801 South Kinney Road, Tucson, Arizona 85735 Phone: 520-883-0682
for information e-mail me at tmgw883@msn.com

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Click here for MAP and driving directions from down town Tucson.

Catalina State Park & Visitor Center

COURTESY OF DESERT TIMES / MONUMENT NEWS
by Ron Ratkevich

Only a few miles north of Tucson is a virtual paradise for campers, hikers, horsemen and naturalists. Featured at Catalina State Park is a vast array of desert plants, wildlife and archaeology located in the foothills and canyons of this wild life preserve. The environment at the base of the Catalina mountains offers great camping and picnicking. The equestrian center provides a staging area for trail riders and ample parking is available for cars and horse trailers. Miles of equestrian, and birding trails wind through the park and adjoining Coronado National Forest, as well as an interpretive trail to a prehistoric village site. There are 48 campsites at Catalina State park, 24 with electricity and water. Camping is allowed only in designated areas and camping is on a first come, first served basis; No reservations are available. Handicapped restrooms and handicapped access showers are provided, and a dump site is available in the park. Wood fires are not permitted, but Charcoal, Duraflame and gas are allowed for cooking.

Plants within Catalina State Park lie within the Sonoran Life zone. They include mesquite, paloverde, acacia trees, ocotillo, cholla, prickly pear. Arizona Ash and native walnut grow along the wash. You may see Jack and cottontail rabbits, coyotes, Mule Deer, Javelin, ground squirrels, packets, snakes, and more than 150 species of birds make the Park their home. Mountain Lions, Bighorn Sheep and black bear have also been observed on rare occasions.

More that 1,500 years ago, a large Hohokam village was established on a ridge above Sutherland Wash, now Catalina State Park. The village, called Romero ruins, cover 15 acres. The ruins were named after Francisco Romero a rancher who built his home on top of the main archaeological site. Thirty-three other archaeological sites have been found within what is now the park boundaries. You can visit these sites, but be sure not to remove any artifacts, as the sites are protected by law.

If you are a geology buff, the central core of the Catalina Mountains is granite, uplifted and altered by metamorphism over 100 million years ago into a mica-filled rock called gneiss. These mountains and rock formations produce the spectacular view from the Park property. The park is situated on Miocene sediments (25 million year old) deposits of sandstone, limestone, mudstone and conglomerates.

Catalina State Park is located 10 miles north of Tucson City limits off State Route 77. It encompasses 5,500 acres in the foothills of the Catalina mountains at an elevation of 2,650 feet. The park is open year round, 24 hours a day. Use fees are $5.00 for day use or $10 per night for camping ($15 per night for electrical and water hookup camp sites.)

If you like camping or wish to bond with some of the finest accessible wilderness areas close to home, be sure to make plans to visit Catalina State Park. There is no food service available at the park so pack a hearty picnic lunch; you will want to do a lot of hiking and exploring. For further information call the park headquarters at 628-5798.


BATTLE OF PICACHO PEAK

COURTESY OF DESERT TIMES / MONUMENT NEWS
by Ron Ratkevich

At Glorieta Pass, New Mexico, a Civil War battle commonly called the "Gettysburg of the West", 1,300 Union determined Union Volunteers routed the Confederate forces, burning supply wagons and bayoneting hundreds of horses and mules. Before making their way back to New Mexico, a company of Confederate forces called the "Arizona Volunteers" marched into Tucson in February 1862 giving Union sympathizers a clear choice: Swear allegiance to the Confederacy or leave the territory. On February 14th of that same year, Arizona seceded from the Union.
California's Union troops were sent to rescue Union troops who were captured in a trap at the Pima Villages near Phoneix. The rescuers were too late, having encountered Confederates at Stanwix Station about 80 miles east of Yuma. A skirmish erupted there with only one soldier wounded, but it was the western most battle of the Civil War.
From the Pima Villages, Union troops were sent to search for Confederates still in the vicinity. On April 15th, 1862, at Picacho Peak, 40 miles northwest of Tucson, Lieutenant James Barrett discover a company of Confederates and a fierce battle ensued. Barrett and two Union soldiers were killed. No Confederate soldiers were killed but five were wounded or captured. The remaining rebels escaped, making their way to Tucson. The entire battle lasted only a few minutes. For those who are Civil War buffs, visit Picacho Peak, and remember how that war was more than just an eastern-states conflict. Day trip

Fort Apache Historic Park

by Ron Ratkevich

Fort Apache Historic Park is located near the present town of Whiteriver. The fort was established in 1870 to help the White Mountain Apache Tribe protect their lands from both other tribes and white settlers who coveted the same land. During the same period, the post and the area surrounding the Post were designated as a reservation for the White Mountain Apache tribe.
Fort Apache is located in the heart of Apache country, and the Fort recalls the days of both conflict and compromise. The fort became an isolated outpost which represented anglo expansion during the turbulent period of the "Indian wars."
Fort Apache is most famous because of its association with the notorious renegade Apache leaders, such as Geronimo and Cochise, who were hounded constantly by the soldiers from Fort Apache and the White Mountain Apache Scouts who were friendly to the white soldiers, including Chiefs Alchise and Diable. These scouts, knowing the lay of the land were instrumental in finding renegade bands the negotiations between the Apaches and the U.S. military which eventually brought a lasting peace throughout much of the Southwest. Today, nearly 130 years later, visitors cam walk through old Fort Apache using a self-guided walking tour or a guided tour provided by the Apache tribe. There are more than twenty buildings which date from the 1870's through the 1930's. These buildings and other ruins comprise the 288-acre historic site of the old fort. Also located on the Fort's grounds are prehistoric sites, and petroglyphs dating from prehistoric and historic, the old milit
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Last Updated: April 11,2006