McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — Environmentalists and activists from across the country are expected to descend upon Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in southwestern Arizona on Saturday afternoon to protest against the building of a border wall in this national park.
The event is being dubbed as a “peaceful, non-confrontational protest against the border wall,” according to a Facebook event notice.
It is being organized by the Center for Biological Diversity, a national nonprofit conservation organization, and other area nonprofits that are concerned that the border wall will “will block the migration of wildlife, destroy archaeological sites, and imperil endangered species and wilderness lands,” according to a news release.
“Trump’s wall is being rammed through one of the most beautiful, sacred and biologically diverse places in Arizona,” Laiken Jordahl, a borderlands campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a news release.
The 500-mile federal natural reserve in the Sonoran desert is home to 200-year-old saguaro cacti, which environmentalists say are being destroyed as 30-foot-tall new border wall panels have begun going up there.
“I’ve personally witnessed the heartbreaking sight of bulldozers plowing down saguaros in Organ Pipe National Monument to make way for President Trump’s reckless, expensive wall,” said Kevin Dahl, Arizona program manager at the National Parks Conservation Association. “Not only is a national park being destroyed, but wildlife will be blocked from accessing critical water supplies and migration routes.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which in conjunction with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is building 33 miles of new border wall through Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, recently reported on social media that together with the National Park Service they are working diligently to try to save as many saguaro cacti as possible.
In a Facebook post, CBP wrote that 110 plants, including 76 saguaro, 10 ocotillo, one senita, 16 hedgehog, and seven barrel cactuses have been relocated and transplanted from the area where the wall is going in.
But Jordahl said transplanting these plants is not enough. He says that millions of gallons of water in this desert are being drained for border wall construction materials, “imperiling” Quitobaquito Springs, which is “a rare desert oasis home to two endangered species, the Sonoyta mud turtle and Quitobaquito pupfish.”
Border Report visited Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument during the Border Tour in September and plans to be at Saturday’s protest.
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