Nestled in the Rincon Mountains of Vail, Colossal Cave Mountain Park is a popular tourist destination that offers cave tours, Western Trail horseback rides, hiking, camping, and picnic facilities. The National Register of Historic Places describes it as a 2400-acre natural resource park that includes the crystal-filled Colossal Cave and the historic La Posta Quemada Ranch.
Native peoples have used Colossal Cave for centuries as a place of shelter and refuge. Colossal Cave is the largest “dry” cave in the United States, meaning that its formations are dormant and no longer growing.
In August 2015, Pima County entered into a new lease with Ortega National Parks to manage Colossal Cave Mountain Park. Ortega has focused on renovating several aspects of the Park, such as reinvesting in existing infrastructure. Since the transition, attendance at the Park has doubled, and revenue from cave tours has tripled. Overall, the first quarter total revenue for the Park has quadrupled under Ortega’s management.
On June 6th, 2016, I had the honor of speaking at the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Colossal Cave Road Improvement Project. Upgrades include widening the main road as well as improving pedestrian facilities, bicycle amenities, drainage and landscaping. Pima County’s efforts at improving Colossal Cave Road not only addresses the safety issues generated by concerns of the Vail schools and residents, but also improves the corridor citizens and tourists use to arrive at Colossal Cave Park and indirectly benefits and enhances the park’s amenities and features.
On July 14th, 2016, Colossal Cave Mountain Park received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence. This prestigious recognition celebrates hospitality businesses that have earned outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year. Pima County hopes to develop Colossal Cave Mountain Park into a destination that is a must-see for visitors as well as a local go-to for the residents of the “Old Pueblo.”
My interest in protecting and improving this important cultural resource and conserving La Posta Quemada Ranch helps to recognize and maintain the ranching heritage of the Rincon Valley. I champion Colossal Cave Mountain Park and La Posta Quemada Ranch because I believe that Pima County assets in District 4 are some of the most significant and iconic features in Southern Arizona.