Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pusch Ridge Wilderness

The Pusch Ridge Wilderness north of Tuscon in Arizona was established in 1978. Various trails such as the Pima Canyon Trail offer access to this rugged and steep area of the western Santa Catalina Mountains. One of the last remaining populations of desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis) occurs in this area, but the numbers are dwindling. The Wilderness, as a trailhead panel explains, also hosts a diversity of vegetation communities from Sonoran desert at 3,000 feet elevation to semi-desert grasslands, oak woodlands, chaparral, ponderosa pine forests, and mixed-conifer forests at 9,000 feet. Precipitation varies from less than 12 inches at the base of the mountain to nearly 30 inches at the summit. Nearly half of the precipitation falls during the summer monsoon season. In winter, snow is common at higher elevations.

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