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  • Board honors Maierhauser service to Colossal Cave Park

    Aug 17, 2015 | Read More News
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    Maierhauser ProclamationThe Pima County Board of Supervisors honored Martie Maierhauser with a proclamation Aug. 17 for the nearly six decades that she and her late husband Joe devoted to overseeing and preserving Colossal Cave Mountain Park.  

    “The huge legacy that she and Joe have left is their commitment to open space and their preservation to the natural history of the area,” said J.J. Lamb, former Colossal Cave Mountain Park Education Director.  

    For 12 years, Lamb worked alongside Martie and Joe at Colossal Cave Park and had the privilege of learning first-hand how the family came to manage the park and its efforts to expand and preserve the park throughout the years. 
     
    The Maierhauser’s oversight of the park began in 1956 when Joe took a job as a park operator for Colossal Cave Park, which at the time, encompassed only 495 acres. In 1962 Joe met Martie Keen, a tourist who would eventually become his wife and help him run the park, which also became their home. They managed the park together until 2007, when Joe died from cancer.  

    “Martie and Joe devoted their lives to protecting the natural and cultural history in and around Colossal Cave Mountain Park. It was something that required patience and timing, building relationships and working with neighbors, and various agencies. A true labor of love,” Lamb said.

    Martie MaierhauserThrough a partnership formed in 1992 with Pima County, the Pima County Parklands Foundation and the Maierhauser’s, the park expanded to over 2,000 acres, became a National Historic District and obtained its official name of Colossal Cave Mountain Park.

    Their preservation efforts also included education. Martie involved herself with the Vail community and to support efforts that educated people about the cave and the area’s natural and cultural history. This involvement included providing students with memorable field trip experiences and serving on the Board of the Cienega Watershed Partnership.  

    In 2005 the Maierhauser’s received the Sonoran Institute’s Faces of Conservation Cele Peterson Lifetime Achievement Award and in 2013, the Tucson Historic Preservation Foundation recognized Martie with a Historic Preservation Award for her efforts at the park, which she continued to oversee until recently. 

    “Their gift to the future was ensuring the significant landscape was preserved,” said Lamb, recalling that neither Joe nor Martie ever expected the recognition that came with it.  

    "I don't have any expectations that there will be much memory. After a while, a mountain is named after somebody and everybody forgets why. I guess that in the future I would hope the same philosophy of guardianship would prevail here,” said Joe in an interview with Lamb when asked how he would like to be remembered.