New Year Means New Road for Tumamoc Hill

Jan. 1, 2019

New Year Means New Road for Tumamoc Hill

TUCSON, Ariz. — Tumamoc Hill is undergoing a transformation in the new year. The University of Arizona will undertake a complete repaving of the 1 1/2-mile 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 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 UA 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. 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.


Media contacts:
Margie Gudaitis
UA College of Science

Ben Wilder
Tumamoc Hill
Office: 520-626-3987 | Cell: 520-971-2486

Pam Scott
University Communications
Office: 520-621-1951 | Cell: 509-570-4610

Established in 1885, the University of Arizona, the state's super land-grant university with two medical schools, produces graduates who are real-world ready through its 100% Engagement initiative. Recognized as a global leader and ranked 16th for the employability of its graduates, the UA is also a leader in research, bringing more than $606 million in research investment each year, and ranking 21st among all public universities. The UA is advancing the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships, and is a member of the Association of American Universities, the 62 leading public and private research universities. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $8.3 billion annually.