Catalina State Park is home to more than 5,000 saguaros like the ones seen above along a trail. The group Friends of Catalina State Park has designated 75 or so adoptable saguaros.

Doug Kreutz / Arizona Daily Star

Some people pay money to “adopt” stars far out in the galaxy. Others pony up dollars to adopt wolves in support of conservation. Now — here in cactus-studded Southern Arizona — you’re invited to adopt a saguaro.

The Adopt a Saguaro program is for a very good cause, says a spokeswoman for the Friends of Catalina State Park, which started the program about a week ago.

“The money raised will be used for things that need to be done at the park (north of Tucson) that the state can’t fund,” said Pam Ludwig, a past president and member of the Friends group. “For example, there’s a need for a new ramada in the group area. We also need covers (roofed shelters) in the horse corrals.”


All of the 75 or so saguaros designated so far for adoption can be easily viewed from trails in the park, Ludwig said.

People may choose to adopt at a variety of levels — ranging from a basic one-year adoption for $25 to a 25-year adoption of an old or unusual “granddaddy saguaro” for $3,000.

Each adoption comes with a certificate noting the saguaro site’s GPS coordinates, an information sheet, a photo of the cactus and a one-year membership in the Friends of Catalina State Park. Adoptions available at the $50, $100 and $3,000 levels include additional amenities such as small gifts and books.

After the one-year standard adoptions are up, people are free to readopt, or the saguaro can be made available to someone else.

People will not be permitted to place plaques or other objects beside the saguaros they adopt, Ludwig said. It’s important not to leave the designated trail to get closer to a saguaro because that can cause damage to the land and vegetation.

“Five or six of the saguaros have been adopted already,” Ludwig said. “It’s just a nice thing to be able to say you’ve adopted this saguaro and the money is going to benefit the park.”

The Friends of Catalina State Park website — — includes photos of adoptable saguaros and adoption forms. Information also is available by calling 825-9122.

Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at or at 573-4192. On Twitter: @DouglasKreutz