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National Park Service celebrates 102nd birthday this weekend

Posted at 3:45 AM, Aug 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-08-24 15:41:57-04

The saguaro cactus is an iconic symbol of Arizona's desert landscape. Its lifespan is measured in decades — even centuries. Some saguaro's in Arizona have been here longer than the National Park Service, which turns 102 this weekend. 

Jared Suydam, a Park Ranger at Saguaro National Park reminds that saguaro's are not only unique in age but unique to this part of the planet.

"No matter where you come from on earth, this place is not like any other, this is the only place that looks like this," Suydam said.

On the 102nd birthday of the National Park Service, they want you to "discover something new at 102." Which you may not think you could see more then saguaro at a park home to around 1.8 million cacti but you actually can.

A short hike up Signal Hill gives you a glimpse of petroglyphs left by early desert settlers. Dating as far back as 800 years, etched in stones by the Hohokam Native American's that inhabited the Sonoran Desert as far back as 400 b.c. 

Besides saguaros and ancient history, the park also boasts some of the most spectacular sunsets around.

Even starting a battle with our neighbors to the west. A "sunset war" against Joshua Tree National Park. However thanks to that Arizona monsoon and the desert landscape, Suydam of-course says Saguaro is the better place to watch the sun go down. 

"Especially this time of year we have monsoon clouds, you get just that right amount of dust in the air and you'll see the beautiful reds and golds and pinks and purples." 

So whether you're exploring Saguaro, one of Arizona's 21 other National Parks, or anywhere else in the United States. Get out and discover something new as the National Park Service turns 102.