Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pay attention to laws, customs when visiting Arizona's tribal lands

Each of Arizona's 22 Native American Reservations operates under its own unique governmental structure and establishes its own rules for visitors. Visitors should not assume that what applies in one Tribal community is the general rule for all Tribal communities. Please observe all Tribal laws and regulations. For specific information, it's recommended that you contact the individual tribe(s) before your visit.

Basic Guidelines
Taking photos, video and audio recordings, as well as sketching, is a particularly sensitive issue. Permits may be required, and fees and restrictions vary, particularly for professionals. Therefore, it is important to contact each individual Tribe regarding its policies. Do not attempt to engage in any of the above mentioned activities without prior authorization. Failure to comply with Tribal regulations could result in fines, confiscation of equipment and/or expulsion from Tribal Lands.

Dances are sacred ceremonies. Observe them as you would any other religious function by dressing and acting appropriately. Be mindful of where you sit, stand and walk. For example, at certain Hopi dances men and women sit apart; during pow wows it may not be appropriate to stand beside a drum; and it is inappropriate to walk across the pow wow arena during a dance. Never pick up any object that is dropped during a ceremony. Please refrain from talking to the ceremonial dancers. Applause after ceremonial dances is considered inappropriate.

Some of the Tribal buildings and structures may be several hundred years old and damage easily; do not climb on walls or other structures. Do not disturb or remove animals, plants, rocks or artifacts including pot shards, as Tribal and federal laws prohibit the removal of such items.

Use caution when driving, especially at night. Much of the reservation land is open range, and small herds of sheep, goats, cattle and horses move freely along and across roads.

Like any community, a reservation is home to those who live and work there and should be respected as such. Although most reservation communities are open to the public during daylight hours, the homes are private and should be entered only by invitation.

Save money with an annual pass to Arizona State Parks

Do you enjoy visiting your favorite Arizona State Park time and again? Or do you find that visiting State Parks in a region is more appealing? Whichever suits your needs, Arizona State Parks offers a deal for you, your friends, and your family through its annual pass program.

Three annual passes are available, a standard pass for $75 a year, a premium pass for $200 that offers increased benefits, and a disabled veteran's annual pass which is free. Any two individuals may put their names on a pass.

Learn all about the passes at the Arizona State Parks website. They are available for purchase at many Arizona State Park visitor centers and gift shops.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Kartchner Caverns State Park cave tour reservations now available online

Kartchner Caverns State Park cave tour tickets and Kartchner campground reservations are now available for booking 24-hours a day on the Arizona State Parks website. The Kartchner Caverns call center will be the central reservation system headquarters for all State Parks as campground reservations come online this spring at the other parks.

According to Arizona State Parks Executive Director Renée Bahl, "Kartchner Caverns is extremely popular and our visitors now will be able to book cave tours from anywhere in the world in advance or the same day. The website is simple and intuitive," says Bahl. "With just a few clicks web surfers can conveniently choose a date, pick their tour times, type and number of tickets, and check-out 24-hours a day. Then the customer will receive an email receipt to printout and bring with them to the park on the day of their tour."

Kartchner Caverns is a stunning limestone cave discovered in 1974 in Southeastern Arizona that opened to the public in 1999. The cave flourishes underground with 99% humidity, while the desert above is only at 10% humidity. Maintaining the delicate ecosystem inside the cave while offering tours to the public has been a balancing act for the State Parks. Rust-colored stalactites drip down like icicles and giant stalagmites reach up from the floor of the cave glistening with the drops of moisture that cover the colorful flowstone.

Kartchner Caverns cave tours can be booked one year in advance with Throne/Rotunda and Big Room tours available all winter. The Big Room is closed Apr. 16-Oct 1 so the mother bats can roost and raise their young in that part of the cavern, and the Rotunda/Throne Room is closed in order to allow for scientific monitoring and assessment from October 10 through December 14.

Prices for the tours are $22.95 for adults and $12.95 for children age (7-13) and customers may book up to a maximum of 20 tickets. Tours start at 9AM and go throughout the day until 4:30PM.

For more information about all of Arizona's State Parks call 800-285-0373 or visit the website.