Guadalupe Mountains National Park protects one of the world’s best examples of an ancient, marine fossil reef. A huge tropical ocean reached from the Atlantic Ocean all the way to West Texas 250 million years ago, allowing sponges, algae, and other marine organisms to build up a reef along the shoreline for 400 miles. After the ocean receded, the reef was buried in thick layers of sediment and was entombed for millions of years until geological uplift exposed it in the middle of dry west Texas. Today the park preserves this unique, globally significant exposed Permian Fossil Reef.
Each year, tens of thousands of hikers, equestrian users, and backpackers visit Guadalupe to experience the vast rugged wilderness and solitude of this isolated park. The rugged wilderness of the park, including the highest peak in Texas, allows these visitors outstanding opportunities for solitude, challenge, self-reliance, and reflection.
—Felicia Carr & Suzanne Dixon, NPCA
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.