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Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park

37615 US-60
Superior, Arizona 85273
Boyce Thompson Arboretum webpage
Boyce Thompson Arboretum map

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Boyce Thompson Arboretum SP
Coordinates: 33.2795082, -111.158756
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About Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park
Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park is located in beautiful and scenic Queen Creek Canyon, three miles west of Superior. Natural resource developer and philanthropist William Boyce Thompson established the Southwestern Arboretum in the mid-1920’s. The inspiration to create an arid region arboretum sprang from a lifetime of fervent interest in things botanical, horticultural, and natural. It was specifically inspired by Thompson’s visit to Russia during the terrible famine years just after the First World War. Thompson, who was a Colonel in the Red Cross, came to realize how profoundly dependent human beings are on plants. It was Thompson’s fervent desire to do something to enhance man’s symbiotic relationship with members of the plant kingdom. A man of broad vision typical of the expansive “can-do” times, Thompson along with the Arboretum’s first Director, Franklin Crider, fashioned a mission for the Arboretum that was vast and global in scope with economic utility and aesthetic appeal being of primary importance in accessioning material to the collection.

The Arboretum was the first purely botanical institution in this desert State and was founded to promote understanding, through scientific research and public education, for plant-people relationships in the arid and semi-arid parts of the American Southwest and the world. To further goals held in common, Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum entered into a bilateral management agreement with the University of Arizona in the mid-1960’s. This agreement was expanded to include Arizona State Parks in 1976, in recognition of the great recreational, educational, and historical significance of the Arboretum to the people of Arizona.

“The mission of Boyce Thompson Arboretum is to inspire appreciation and stewardship of desert plants, wildlife, and ecosystems through education, research and conservation.”

An Arboretum is an botanical garden that focuses on trees and other woody plants. Although Colonel William Boyce Thompson’s original intent was to plant trees (hence the name, Arboretum), he soon realized that all types of plants from deserts around the world should be included, studied, conserved and made available to the public.

Boyce Thompson Southwestern Arboretum was founded April 1, 1924, incorporated as Arizona’s first nonprofit research institution October 5, 1927, and officially dedicated and opened to the public April 6 1929.
From Boyce Thompson Arboretum State Park webpage