Residents in Southern Arizona have plenty of options for exploring the great outdoors, and Ironwood Forest National Monument provides a relatively close destination for those who live in the Tucson metropolitan area.

The monument is named after the numerous ironwood trees that live in the area, but Bill Clinton created it by presidential proclamation in 2000 due to its objects of historical and scientific interest, including dozens of Native American archeological sites.

Lasha Brown is the executive director of Friends of Ironwood Forest, and she said she recommends residents take some time to visit the area, although they should be aware and come prepared because the monument is quite primitive.

Roads are unpaved, and there are no restrooms or sources of water for tourists.

John Wiens works at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum as a nursery horticulturist, and he said he is a big fan of this destination for its many interesting plants and animals.