Nicole Neri/Cronkite News
Beautiful but deadly: Don't get stuck in Saguaro National Park (or anywhere else) while temperatures soar in the desert.
Throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, Saguaro National Park East and West have remained open (sans restrooms and parking lots) to allow locals a place to get some fresh air while Gov. Doug Ducey's stay-at-home order has been in place.
While park officials are still determining how to best reopen amenities, they are encouraging park users to prepare for soaring temperatures in the Sonoran Desert.
“It is hot and we recommend getting an early start and only hiking in the morning,” Saguaro National Parks spokesperson Andy Fisher said. “Once the temperature is over 95, we suggest being back to the trailhead before 10 a.m. Make sure you have a plan and have communicated that plan to someone who will know when to expect you back, and always, always, always take more water than you expect to need.”
Fisher said that there has been an uptick in park users needing rescue because the have run out of water. She urges: “When it's half down, turn around.”
“We can't stress how important it is to know your own limitations and not try to test them these days,” she says.
Saguaro Parks has yet to determine how its “phased reopening” will happen, but are working to determine how to safely open facilities.
“We know that it will be a phased reopening, so probably not what we would expect as a ‘normal’ operation this summer,” Fisher concludes. “Staff and visitor safety are paramount to the decisions we are making.”