Tonto National Monument
|Tonto National Monument|
IUCN category V (protected landscape/seascape)
Lower Cliff Dwelling
|Location||Gila County, Arizona, USA|
|Nearest city||Phoenix, Arizona|
|Area||1,120 acres (450 ha)|
|Created||October 21, 1907|
|Visitors||53,426 (in 2011)|
|Governing body||National Park Service|
Tonto National Monument is a National Monument in the Superstition Mountains, in Gila County of central Arizona. The area lies on the northeastern edge of the Sonoran Desert ecoregion, an arid habitat with annual rainfall of about 16 inches (400 mm) here. The Salt River runs through this area, providing a rare, year-round source of water.
Well-preserved cliff dwellings were occupied by the Salado culture during the 13th, 14th, and early 15th centuries. The people farmed in the Salt River Valley, and supplemented their diet by hunting and gathering native plants. The Salado were fine craftspeople, producing some of the most flamboyant polychrome pottery and intricately woven textiles to be found in the Southwest. Some of the artifacts excavated nearby are on display in the visitor center museum.
The Tonto National Monument Archeological District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966. Tonto National Monument, Lower Ruin and Tonto National Monument, Upper Ruin are archeological sites that were NRHP-listed in 1989.[a]
The Upper Sonoran ecosystem is known for its characteristic saguaro cacti. Other common plants include: cholla, prickly pear, hedgehog, and barrel cactus (flowering from April to June); yucca, sotol, and agave; creosote bush and ocotillo; palo verde and mesquite trees; an amazing variety of colorful wild flowers in good years (February to March); and a lush riparian area which supports large Arizona Walnut, Arizona Sycamore, and hackberry trees.
It also serves as a home for native animals such as whitetail and mule deer, mountain lion, bobcat, three rattlesnake species and many more.
- All three NRHP-listed areas are included within the National Monument, but the National Monument itself is not NRHP-listed
- "Listing of acreage as of December 31, 2011". Land Resource Division, National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
- "NPS Annual Recreation Visits Report". National Park Service. Retrieved 2012-05-14.
- Roosevelt 1 WNW, Arizona - Climate Summary. Western Regional Climate Center.
- "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2009-03-13.
- Apache Trail website: Ancient Cliff Dwellings Info
- NPS: official Tonto National Monument website
- Tonto National Monument: Saving a National Treasure
- American Southwest, a National Park Service Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
- Tonto National Monument: a traveller's diary
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