In 1937, President Franklin D. Roosevelt designated Organ Pipe as a national monument.  Since then, the park staff have carried out the dual mission of all national parks to preserve the environmental and facilitate visitors’ enjoyment of it, a pair of objectives that sometimes come into conflict.

At the same time, the park has managed grazing and mining within the park, demands that conservation take a back seat to national security, the ongoing challenges presented by the many varieties of border crossers.  As the essays in this section show, Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument’s history reflects global forces playing out in individual bodies intimate encounters with heat, pain, death, work, hope, and beauty.