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The Sunset Wars: A Tale Of 2 National Parks

Arizona is widely considered to have the best sunsets in the country with vibrant colors and a dramatic landscape to match.

That’s what Saguaro National Park thought too and, a few weeks ago, they took off their gloves to prove it.

Ummm, what?! Did you know @saguaronationalpark has the best sunsets in the world? AND, the saguaro, which is an incredible cactus, can live up to 150-200 years old!! (LN, : @discoverychannel ) #nojoke #seriouslythough #whyhaventyouvisited #datlandscapetho #saguaronationalpark A post shared by Saguaro National Park (@saguaronationalpark) on May 5, 2018 at 4:43pm PDT

On their Instagram page, park personnel posted a dramatic picture of a golden sun peeking through the arms of a saguaro cactus and distant purple mountains with an ombre indigo sky streaked with peachy-colored clouds. In the caption they said “ Did you know that Saguaro National Park has the best sunsets in the world?”  

But Sharlot Hart — the acting lead and supervisory ranger at Saguaro National Park — says other national parks were ready to disagree.

Turns out that Joshua Tree National Park took a little offense at that and shot back with with an invitation to a "sunset off."

A SUNSET OFF? YOU'RE ON @saguaronationalpark. While your sunsets are nice, you might wanna get your facts straight because ours have been putting in work since day one. Check out this #tbt from 2015 (NPS/Brad Sutton: #alttext Joshua trees sillhouetted by sunset background) #parksunsetwars A post shared by Joshua Tree National Park (@joshuatreenps) on May 14, 2018 at 1:42pm PDT

Thus, #ParkSunsetWars began. It wasn’t long before other parks joined in and started posting their own best sunset photos.

Kristi Rugg is the Joshua Tree National Park’s media branch chief, and she was quite diplomatic about the sunset showdown.

"I think national parks have the best sunsets in the nation and Joshua Tree has some pretty spectacular ones," she said.

Both Saguaro and Joshua Tree National Parks agree that the Sunset War has been a great way to show off the beauty of all national parks.

"We didn't want it to be just all about us," said Sharlot Hart. "We wanted to bring the parks to people who can't visit for, whatever reason that is, but we wanted the people to realize that these are the people's parks."

You can see the amazing photos on Instagram and decide for yourself which park has the best sunset. As for the next Instagram war, Kristi Rugg at Joshua Tree is ready.

"Maybe we'll do one with the Galapagos Islands and say who has the best tortoises," she said.

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Kaely Monahan joined KJZZ Original Productions as a producer in December 2016.Monahan is a native, and growing up in the East Valley gave her an intimate familiarity with the Valley of the Sun. Eager to experience a new city, she left Phoenix for Tucson to earn her degree in classical studies from the University of Arizona with an emphasis in mythology. Several years later, her focus transitioned from history to history-in-the-making and news. Monahan went on to earn her master’s degree in international journalism from City University of London.In London, Monahan worked with CBS News and The Times covering international news. On her return to Arizona, Monahan was the art and entertainment editor for the East Valley Tribune, before moving into broadcasting, where she worked in commercial radio as an anchor and reporter.Outside of work, Monahan spends her time reading historical novels, exploring new restaurants in the Valley, and watching movies. Her love of film led her to create a movie review podcast and website. Monahan is also the vice president of the Phoenix Critics Circle.