Proposed Wilderness in Big Bend National Park

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Nestled in southwest Texas, the vast, 800,000-acre expanse of Big Bend National Park features pristine desert landscapes, lush river canyons, and scenic mountains. Flanked by the Wild and Scenic Rio Grande River along the United States-Mexico border, Big Bend is a crown jewel and tremendous resource for residents and visitors alike.

In 1984, to protect the wild and remote nature of Big Bend, the administration of President Reagan recommended that Congress designate 533,900 acres of the park as federally protected wilderness. A quarter century later, Congress has still not acted on this proposal.

Wilderness designation provides the highest level of protection available to public lands. Such a designation is often applied to backcountry portions of natural parks to help ensure that these areas remain undisturbed. Yosemite National Park, for example, contains over 700,000 acres of fully protected wilderness. These areas are kept in a natural condition and remain free from roads and development so that visitors to the park can enjoy them in a natural state.

That's why it's so important that Congress finally gets the job done on Big Bend National Park.

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