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Help us reach our $401,000 goal by 12/31 so we can start 2015 strong defending them.

The national parks are yours.

Make your year-end, tax-deductible contribution to protect them today!

YOU can help protect your national parks!

Help us reach our $401,000 goal by 12/31 so we can start 2015 strong defending them.

The national parks are yours.

Make your year-end, tax-deductible contribution to protect them today!

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Photo: National Park Service

Big Bend National Park

Center for the State of the Parks: Park Assessments

Published November 2003


View Full Report
(PDF, 648 KB, 15 pages)

Big Bend National Park was created in 1944 to preserve a portion of the Chihuahuan Desert, an ecosystem that otherwise goes largely unprotected in Texas and Mexico.

The park features broad expanses of Chihuahuan Desert shrubland and grassland interspersed with smaller areas of high-elevation woodland in the Chisos Mountains, near the center of the park. Riparian and wetland areas hugging the Rio Grande and associated with springs throughout the park represent geographically small but ecologically valuable contributions to the park, while deep canyons along the river are among the park's most striking features.

The black bear (Ursus americanus), mountain lion (Felis concolor), and javelina (Peccary angulatus), along with bats, turtles, frogs, toads, and 450 species of birds, either reside in the park or use park resources. The area's rich and varied human history is clearly evident through widespread archaeological and historical sites.

Big Bend may appear pristine, but historical land uses have caused extirpation of several native species, considerable soil erosion, and a general decline in the condition of both natural and cultural resources. Insufficient funds prevent the Park Service from hiring staff needed to preserve historic structures, archival documents, and other cultural resources. Air and water pollution stemming from outside the park and ever-growing demands for water from the Rio Grande are seriously degrading visibility and water resources within the park. The results? Diminished visitor experiences and widespread effects on all species that rely on the river for survival.

 

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