(Extensions of Remarks - October 13, 2011)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1851-E1852]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                         HON. RAUL M. GRIJALVA

                               of arizona

                    in the house of representatives

                       Thursday, October 13, 2011

  Mr. GRIJALVA. Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor Saguaro National 
Park for their participation in the 2011 BioBlitz, sponsored by the 
National Geographic Society and the National Park Service. Starting in 
2007 and leading up to the National Park Service's Centennial in 2016, 
only one national park from among the park service's 395 units is 
selected each year to host the nationally recognized event. This year, 
Saguaro National Park and the community of Tucson have been chosen for 
this honor. The 2011 Saguaro BioBlitz is the fifth of 10 events, with 
Tucson joining the communities of Washington DC, Los Angeles, Chicago 
and Miami as a host.
  The 2011 BioBlitz, to be held this October, is an exciting 24-hour 
race to find, identify and count as many plants and animal species as 
possible inside Saguaro National Park. Teams of students and the 
general public will be partnered with scientists and experts in fields 
of biology, ecology and botany to scour the park and work together to 
do the counting. For two days surrounding the event, Saguaro National 
Park will simultaneously host a Biodiversity Festival, where the public 
can interact with scientists as they come in from the field to identify 
and catalog species. One thing is clear; the BioBlitz will introduce 
many to some of the most ecologically valuable lands in the Sonoran 
Desert: Unique topography, rare desert flora; scenic and recreation 
opportunities; and prime habitat for a host of desert creatures.
  Saguaro National Park is a shining example of the Sonoran Desert's 
magnificent beauty and biodiversity. First established as a National 
Monument in 1933 for the purpose of protecting the giant Saguaro Cactus 
and then designated a National Park by President Bill Clinton in 1994, 
Saguaro National Park has been part of the Tucson community for over 75 
years. Today, the National Park Service works to preserve desert, 
mountain and riparian habitats in the Tucson and Rincon Mountains. 
Saguaro National Park covers 91,327 acres and, of that acreage, 78 
percent is designated wilderness. This land was not just preserved for 
its scenic views but also for its ecological wonders that must continue 
to be explored by the young and old, alike.
  As the 2016 Centennial approaches, there is a consensus that this 
milestone must be viewed as an opportunity to recommit ourselves to 
protecting and preserving our National Park System. It is events such 
as this that will create new generations of stewards to safeguard our 
National Parks for the next 100 years. In direct alignment with the 
White House's America's Great Outdoors initiative and the National Park 
Service's Call to Action, the BioBlitz gets kids outside, connecting 
communities with our public lands.
  Saguaro National Park, its staff, and the volunteers are vital 
players in the protection of America's public lands. As Ranking Member 
of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands 
and having seen our

[[Page E1852]]

community grow to over a million people during my lifetime, I know the 
importance of protecting our beloved desert. Saguaro National Park is a 
vital part of not only my community's history, but this Nation's 
history. I know that the BioBlitz will help teach our youth about the 
importance of protecting these special places, fostering greater 
appreciation, enjoyment, and stewardship for the future.
  I congratulate Saguaro National Park and its staff for being part of 
the BioBlitz experience.