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Education ResourcesColossal Cave Mountain Park
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Song Dog

Song Dog
Heard more often than seen, the crafty and resourceful coyote is a minor deity in the religion of many of the southwestern Indian tribes. Coyotes are abundant in the southwest and in Colossal Cave Mountain Park.




Education and Research In the Park
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Education Department Mission Statement:

To interpret and inspire an understanding of the changes over time that have shaped the unique cultural and natural resources found in the Colossal Cave Mountain Park region.

Educational Outreach:

In the sense that taking a tour through Colossal Cave is in itself an educational experience, the Park has been involved in educational outreach for years. Additionally, the group tour program for schoolchildren has long been designed for education as well as amusement.

In 1997 over 1,500 children attended field trips at La Posta Quemada Ranch on ranch history, ranching, and ranching tools and techniques. Park staff has facilitated teacher workshops on cattle ranching as well as student field trips on archaeology, specifically the use of the land in the area from pre-history to the present.

Docent Training:

In partnership with the Rincon Institute and the Vail School District, the Park has launched a docent program. The first phase consists of an eight-week course designed to train the docents to teach schoolchildren about the natural and cultural history of the area. The second phase—one day per month—will provide the docents opportunities for program development and research. They will also create discovery boxes to be used during presentations for schoolchildren who visit the Park.

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Scientific research has been conducted in the Park for years...

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Beautiful Saguaro J.Marlow

Saguaro Cacti
Colossal Cave Mountain Park is located near the Saguaro National Monument East. These cacti are unique to the  Sonoran Desert and are found nowhere else in the world.

It can take up to one hundred years for a Saguaro Cactus to grow its arms.


Lessons in Nature!

Scientific research has been conducted in the Park for years, starting back in the early 1950s with a study of the bat maternity colony in Colossal Cave by Dr. E. L. Cockrum. Other researchers of those years were interested in some of the invertebrate life of the Park. More recent studies have dealt with the Hohokam sites, stream flow and rainfall, the geology and mapping of Colossal Cave, and the Park bat population and its distribution. Current ongoing studies include one on endemic invertebrates and another on Saguaro Cactus (Carnegiea gigantea) flowering and fruiting times.

Historical research projects have been instigated and funded by the Park since the early 1960s, when J. C. Martin (then June Caldwell) was commissioned by Joe Maierhauser to shed some light on the facts underlying the Cave’s Bandit Legend. Other projects have been conducted by Dr. Gerald Harwood, and by the most persistant and thorough researcher, Dr. E. L. Cockrum, who has amassed information on just about every aspect of the Park’s history.


The Colossal Cave Mountain Park Research Library is fulfilling its role as a source of information for staff and researchers. The library houses over 800 books (including its Children's Collection) in addition to thousands of historic photographs, newspaper clippings, and a selection of scholarly journals. The library is open daily to provide assistance for ongoing research and the Park's educational outreach programs.


View the Timeline to learn more about The Life and Times of Colossal Cave Mountain Park and La Posta Quemada Ranch.


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Colossal Cave Mountain Park
16721 E. Old Spanish Trail
Vail, AZ 85641 - 520.647.PARK (7275)


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