Living in the national and ecological borderlands of Southern Arizona, the Rincon Group of the Sierra Club’s Arizona Grand Canyon Chapter is positioned to influence a diverse set of environmental issues in and around the Tucson metropolitan area. The Rincon Group was created in the 1970s and has grown steadily in scope and influence over the years. Today, the Group addresses several fundamental environmental challenges, including the effects of border security on the region’s landscapes, advancement of abundant renewable energy sources, water conservation and smart growth. Many of our initiatives focus on grassroots movements and rely heavily on the passion and dedication of the greater Tucson community and fellow Sierra Club members. Banner photo by Russell Lowes.


Rincon Group Programs, Second Quarter 2016


Rincon Group programs are from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month. They are at the Ward Three Tucson City Council Office, 1510 E. Grant Road. They are free and open to the public.

Thursday, April 14. National Park Service and Saguaro National Park. Learn about the National Park Service history from the beginning to 2016, the Centennial year! Jeff Walker, Park Guide at Saguaro National Park will dive into the history of the NPS, how it started and the major steps along the way. Then Jeff focuses on Saguaro National Park's past, present and future. He will discuss the Saguaro Cactus Program at the park, which follows the development of the cactus forest over that last 83 years and what to expect in the future. Saguaro National Park's Centennial projects and events will then be presented, followed by a question and answer session.

Thursday, May 12. Groundwater Depletion Impacts Downtown Tucson.  Christopher Eastoe, a retired University of Arizona geoscientist, reveals how the growth of Tucson from a Spanish Presidio to an urban area of 1 million has led to a progressive decline in groundwater availability. By the end of the 19th century, a shallow aquifer beneath the Presidio and groundwater discharge into the Santa Cruz riverbed had failed. By the end of the 20th century, supply from the large regional aquifer of the basin was no longer sustainable. Beneath downtown, oxygen and hydrogen isotopes in groundwater can be used to trace the decline of the water table. Perhaps we could learn from El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, which are reacting effectively to an even worse groundwater loss.

Thursday, June 9. Endangered Cacti: Their Status and Outlook. One third of all species of cacti are endangered, many critically. Sierra Club activist Bill Thornton will discuss the scope of the problem and conservation efforts, with emphasis on two federally listed species in the Tucson area.  Bill is a second-generation native Arizonan and lifelong cactus hugger, and a member of the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society’s “Cactus Rescue” team.


Outings, Second Quarter 2016


APR 9 (SAT) “B” Florida Saddle (9.4 miles RT, 3500’ EC). The Florida Trail is a lightly-used trail that goes to the Florida Saddle and on to Mt Wrightson. We will be traveling 4.7 mi. to the Florida Saddle. Florida is the Spanish word for flowered. Hopefully, we will see some flowers on this hike. With the EC, we will be hiking through a variety of vegetation. Near the saddle, there are a number of large Douglas-fir that shade our final destination. Contact Colleen Collen at 520-577-4543 or Tucson

APR 9 (SAT) “C” Early Morning Nature Hike on the San Pedro River (3-4.5 miles; less than 500 ft elevation gain) Join us for this moderate early morning hike in the San Pedro Riparian Area. Don’t expect a high speed hike; this hike is designed for about 2.5-3 mph speeds, with pauses to observe birds, plants, and the beautiful scenery.  Novice hikers are welcome.  Bring plenty of water, snacks, hiking boots/shoes, & hat/sunscreen.  Limit 8-10.  Meet time 6 AM.  Please sign-up on Sierra Adventure Meetup site or contact Beth Ann Krueger ( or 520-405-5470) for reservations and more information. Sierra Vista

APR 17 (SUN) “B+” Sheepshead Hike/scramble (4 miles RT, 1600' accumulated gain). The Sheepshead is a huge granite dome located in the West Cochise Stronghold. Its face presents an awesome sight as it rises an estimated 800+ feet out of the rolling prairies below. Strong hikers with climbing/scrambling experience contact John Che preferably at or 520-360-2507. Tucson

JUN 4 (SAT) “B+” Samaniego Peak (12 miles RT, 2000 ft EG). Join us for an awesome and exhilarating part-trail and off-trail hike to a remote peak in the Santa Catalina Mountains. It’ll be a wonderful exploration of sub-alpine forest featuring pines, junipers, Manzanita, oak and beautiful grassland. We will observe this rich fauna as well as rare and striking red Arizona Madrone trees. The route and summit will highlight some of the most incredible views in the Catalinas. We will observe and discuss the fascinating geology of the sky islands of southeastern Arizona. Limit 12; contact Mitch Stevens at 520-991-1199 or mitchstevens@qwestoffice.netTucson

JUL 3 (SUN) “C” Mt. Lemmon: Aspen Loop Trail (4-mile loop; 800 ft EC). We will start early and drive to Marshall Gulch high in the Santa Catalina Mountains. During a snack break, we can talk about the 100thAnniversary of the National Park Service and how it differs from the Forest Service and other land management agencies. Limit 15. Contact Meg Weesner for details at or 520-290-1723. Tucson



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