Near Del Rio, on the border with Mexico, Amistad National Recreation Area showcases a large water reservoir famous for fishing, swimming, and water-skiing. Created under the provisions of the Water Treaty of 1944 between the United States and the Republic of Mexico, the reservoir straddles the international boundary on the Rio Grande. The construction of the dam was completed in 1968, and the reservoir began to fill in 1969. Amistad’s 28 mid-channel buoys, maintained by the International Boundary and Water Commission, are located on the Rio Grande arm of Amistad Reservoir and visually mark the boundary between the United States and Mexico.
Amistad National Recreation Area offers a variety of fun things to do, including fishing by boat or from shore, swimming, scuba diving, backcountry camping by boat along the Pecos and Devils River, front-country camping in four developed campgrounds, archery-only bow hunting for white-tailed deer, javelina, and turkey, picnicking, bird watching, canoeing, kayaking, and hiking.
Amistad Reservoir is renowned as one of the outstanding largemouth black bass fishing reservoirs in the United States, and hosts more than 180 bass tournaments a year. The larger tournaments involve more than 250 boats, and several of these are filmed and broadcast nationwide on the ESPN Sport channel. The Del Rio Chamber of Commerce actively recruits more large bass tournaments each year to Amistad Reservoir.
If You Go
Surrounded mostly by private ranchland, the majority of Amistad National Recreation Area and its 540 miles of shoreline (on the U.S. side of the border) are accessible to the public only by boat.
Like most of the parks of the National Park System, the national parks of Texas face serious challenges as we move toward the National Park Centennial Year of 2016. These include the need to acquire adjoining, threatened lands, air and water pollution, under-funding and under-staffing, inappropriate use of off-road vehicles, and the challenges of Texas’s location on an international border.