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March 17, 2020

Tumamoc Hill Will Temporarily Close to Public

TUCSON, Ariz. — Tumamoc Hill will close temporarily to the public on Wednesday, March 18, at noon, for an undetermined period of time, as a safety precaution in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

"Given the rising public health concerns regarding spread of the novel coronavirus, COVID- 19, Tumamoc Hill is taking the utmost precaution to safeguard our community,"
Joaquin Ruiz, University of Arizona vice president for global environmental futures. "As a core gathering site for so many Tucsonans, Tumamoc Hill also unfortunately has the potential to be a prime vector for spread."

"We have been closely following the use of Tumamoc Hill in recent days, along with the CDC and local guidelines," said Ben Wilder, director of Tumamoc Hill. "The number of people congregating on Tumamoc Hill, more than 1,500 on each of the past three days, is far above the recommended public gathering size. There is no way we can guarantee the safety of those that come to Tumamoc Hill at this time."

The Tumamoc Hill website and Instagram feed (@desert.laboratory) will provide the latest updates including when the hill will reopen to the public.

"We know how much Tumamoc means to our community," Wilder said. "It is a place for escape, connection, friendship and health. The current moment dictates that to maintain each of these qualities, the right thing to do is the hardest. Please respect this decision and do not hike Tumamoc Hill, a sensitive cultural and ecological environment, from any approach, until we formally reopen."

Additional information is available on the University of Arizona COVID-19 website,

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Media contacts:
Ben Wilder
Desert Laboratory on Tumamoc Hill
520-621-6949 (office) | 520-971-2486 (cell)

Pam Scott
University Communications
520-621-1951 (office) | 509-570-4610 (cell)

The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in 2018 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $687 million in annual research expenditures. The university advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 65 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually.