New Year Means New Road for Tumamoc Hill

Jan. 1, 2019
TUCSON, Ariz. — Tumamoc Hill is undergoing a transformation in the new year. The University of Arizona will undertake a complete repaving of the mile-and-a-half road up Tumamoc Hill later this month to make it more passable for walkers and researchers and to preserve the ecological and historical elements of the property.

Beginning Jan. 22, Tumamoc Hill will be closed to walkers for two weeks. UA crews will pulverize the current road to create a base for the new 3-inch asphalt road.

The process is expected to take two weeks, with the road anticipated to reopen on Feb. 1.

“We see this as a huge opportunity to improve a road that has outlasted its time,” said Ben Wilder, director of Tumamoc Hill. “After more than three decades, the new road will look and feel better to those who use it to exercise and it also will assist with the Desert Lab’s mission of research and education.”

Tumamoc is an 860-acre ecological reserve and U.S. National Historic Landmark owned and operated by the University of Arizona in partnership with Pima County.

The Desert Laboratory at Tumamoc was created in 1902 by Andrew Carnegie beginning more than 100 years of ecological research on the hill, which is a rich resource for scientists and other researchers, who study its plants, animals and other features.

The cost of the new road is approximately $200,000. The UA will invest half, with the UA College of Science raising the rest through a crowdfunding campaign at To incentivize giving, Edith Sykes Lowell and David Lowell are providing a dollar-for-dollar match up to $50,000. Edith Sykes Lowell is the granddaughter of Godfrey Sykes, one of Tumamoc Hill’s early scientists.

Wilder is using the crowdfunding opportunity to launch the Friends of Tumamoc with a goal of engaging a larger community interested in sustaining the hill for future generations.

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Media contacts:
Margie Gudaitis
Associate Director, Development University of Arizona College of Science

Ben Wilder
Director, Tumamoc Hill
520-626-3987 or 520-971-2486

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