Big Bend Chat

Big Bend National Park Q&A => Backcountry Camping => Topic started by: Don H on October 13, 2016, 10:39:29 AM

Title: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: Don H on October 13, 2016, 10:39:29 AM
El Campo's showing all Laguna sites to be Unavailable through the end of October.  Anybody know what's up?
Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: Jim on October 15, 2016, 09:41:57 AM
From the BBNP Facebook page:

TRAIL CLOSURE: Big Bend National Park is temporarily closing the popular Lost Mine Trail area due to increased bear activity. The Laguna Meadows backpacking campsites have also been closed. All other trails and campsites remain open. The closures will continue until further notice.  The Chisos Mountains is home to a healthy Mexican Black Bear population, and good rains have resulted in localities with abundant pine and oak nut production. Bears feed heavily during the fall in order to prepare for their winter denning period and these closures will help keep our bears healthy and wild. Thank you for your cooperation and support!
Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: Flash on October 15, 2016, 10:07:49 AM

... Saw a ranger on Laguna Meadows Trail with a rifle. He said he was "managing the bears".  Apparently they've been somewhat of a nuisance in that area...


Interesting contrast to the previous post.  :eusa_think: Managing a park such as BIBE must be a crazy balancing act at times...  :eusa_eh:
Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: elhombre on October 15, 2016, 10:35:42 AM
This is the main reason we stopped filling out those stupid "Wildlife Sighting report" slips of paper at the Basin ranger station.  So now we have falcon closures, and bear closures.

"Hey Ranger Betty?"
"Yes, Ranger Bob?"
"Looks like there has been a big increase in jovial visitors coming in and tell us about their incredible experiences of seeing bears on their hikes"
"Oh no Ranger Bob, what will we do?"
"Well, Betty, that means there is only one thing we can do, SHUT IT DOWN!"

If they want people to get out and learn to appreciate nature, what message are they actually conveying by announcing that because nature is happening, all people must stay away.  So a fat bear eating acorns is something that should be avoided.

 "Thank you for your cooperation and support!"
Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: venchka on October 15, 2016, 02:39:01 PM
For the time being at least there are still places where a person can wander freely and responsible for their own safety.
Wayne


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Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: badknees on October 15, 2016, 03:49:55 PM
From the BBNP Facebook page:

TRAIL CLOSURE: Big Bend National Park is temporarily closing the popular Lost Mine Trail area due to increased bear activity. The Laguna Meadows backpacking campsites have also been closed. All other trails and campsites remain open. The closures will continue until further notice.  The Chisos Mountains is home to a healthy Mexican Black Bear population, and good rains have resulted in localities with abundant pine and oak nut production. Bears feed heavily during the fall in order to prepare for their winter denning period and these closures will help keep our bears healthy and wild. Thank you for your cooperation and support!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaSqH8lhB0M
Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: alexhughes10769 on October 16, 2016, 02:13:46 PM
I really hope it's open when I go back in November! That's one of my favorite hikes. I would love to see some bears, too.


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Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: kc5ujf on October 17, 2016, 06:16:55 PM
We climbed casa grande on friday, and we didn't see any bear.  When we got back down to the lost mine parking lot, the rangers were there putting up barricades to prevent parking.


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Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: jake.the.snake on November 21, 2016, 04:05:59 PM

This is the main reason we stopped filling out those stupid "Wildlife Sighting report" slips of paper at the Basin ranger station.  So now we have falcon closures, and bear closures.

"Hey Ranger Betty?"
"Yes, Ranger Bob?"
"Looks like there has been a big increase in jovial visitors coming in and tell us about their incredible experiences of seeing bears on their hikes"
"Oh no Ranger Bob, what will we do?"
"Well, Betty, that means there is only one thing we can do, SHUT IT DOWN!"

If they want people to get out and learn to appreciate nature, what message are they actually conveying by announcing that because nature is happening, all people must stay away.  So a fat bear eating acorns is something that should be avoided.

 "Thank you for your cooperation and support!"

It only takes one idiot trying to get a great picture or just trying to get to close for them to have to relocate or worse put a bear down. That bear could have 2-3 cubs that need relocation. Which would be moving in the opposite direction of where we want the bear population to head. Imagine we let them and the peregrine falcons thrive so come spring there will be twice as many of these spectacular animals to be seen and appreciated, during times that are not so crucial to their residency to the park.


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Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: Jim on November 24, 2016, 11:12:50 AM
It appears on the backcountry calendar that those already closed Chisos sites as well as the Lower Juniper and Blue Creek zones have had their closures extended through the end of the year.
Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: badknees on November 24, 2016, 11:39:59 AM

This is the main reason we stopped filling out those stupid "Wildlife Sighting report" slips of paper at the Basin ranger station.  So now we have falcon closures, and bear closures.

"Hey Ranger Betty?"
"Yes, Ranger Bob?"
"Looks like there has been a big increase in jovial visitors coming in and tell us about their incredible experiences of seeing bears on their hikes"
"Oh no Ranger Bob, what will we do?"
"Well, Betty, that means there is only one thing we can do, SHUT IT DOWN!"

If they want people to get out and learn to appreciate nature, what message are they actually conveying by announcing that because nature is happening, all people must stay away.  So a fat bear eating acorns is something that should be avoided.

 "Thank you for your cooperation and support!"

Imagine we let them and the peregrine falcons thrive so come spring there will be twice as many of these spectacular animals .......


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Actually it doesn't work that way. The maximum population size that the environment can sustain indefinitely is constrained by food, habitat and water. The Chisos is probably maxxed out on bears right now. One dry year and the population will fall to sustainable levels at the prevailing environmental conditions. Human stresses (encroachment) also plays a role, but doesn't appear to be significant with respect to the Chisos bear population. Bears adapt readily to human presence.
Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: jake.the.snake on November 24, 2016, 11:57:07 AM
Yeah, you're right. Didn't mean the population will actually double, but there is still a chance their population can increase, and even if they don't stay in the park and just return when the food is abundant it is still a positive for the bear population and the park. If they let the trail stay open and a bear attack occurs then they will kill that bear. It's better to let a dry season naturally be the reason for the bear population decrease, rather than people killing and relocating bears, unnaturally. If we are interfering with the nesting of the Falcons there are other places they could decide to move to and nest.  Gist of the whole thing is to keep the park as natural as possible. It sucks it being closed to us, but for the Bears to thrive now and not be interfered with will be better for them in the short and long run.


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Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: badknees on November 24, 2016, 12:06:51 PM
Yeah, you're right. Didn't mean the population will actually double, but there is still a chance their population can increase, and even if they don't stay in the park and just return when the food is abundant it is still a positive for the bear population and the park. If they let the trail stay open and a bear attack occurs then they will kill that bear. It's better to let a dry season naturally be the reason for the bear population decrease, rather than people killing and relocating bears, unnaturally. If we are interfering with the nesting of the Falcons there are other places they could decide to move to and nest.  Gist of the whole thing is to keep the park as natural as possible. It sucks it being closed to us, but for the Bears to thrive now and not be interfered with will be better for them in the short and long run.


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Point taken...

The Peregrine closing is antiquated and unnecessary though. The reason why Peregrine populations plummeted, was DDT effects on eggshell thickness, causing egg collapse and hatching failure. The Peregrine is a highly adaptable and aggressive species that nests in close proximity to urban disturbance.

This article may be of interest and it highlights the resurgence of the peregrine - Post DDT

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0159054

This phenomenon is occurring all over the US and Europe.

By the way PLOS (the Public Library of Science) is a great resource of peer reviewed publications

https://www.plos.org/publications
Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: jake.the.snake on November 24, 2016, 12:51:45 PM
Yeah, you're right. Didn't mean the population will actually double, but there is still a chance their population can increase, and even if they don't stay in the park and just return when the food is abundant it is still a positive for the bear population and the park. If they let the trail stay open and a bear attack occurs then they will kill that bear. It's better to let a dry season naturally be the reason for the bear population decrease, rather than people killing and relocating bears, unnaturally. If we are interfering with the nesting of the Falcons there are other places they could decide to move to and nest.  Gist of the whole thing is to keep the park as natural as possible. It sucks it being closed to us, but for the Bears to thrive now and not be interfered with will be better for them in the short and long run.


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Point taken...

The Peregrine closing is antiquated and unnecessary though. The reason why Peregrine populations plummeted, was DDT effects on eggshell thickness, causing egg collapse and hatching failure. The Peregrine is a highly adaptable and aggressive species that nests in close proximity to urban disturbance.

This article may be of interest and it highlights the resurgence of the peregrine - Post DDT

http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0159054 (http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0159054)

This phenomenon is occurring all over the US and Europe.

By the way PLOS (the Public Library of Science) is a great resource of peer reviewed publications

https://www.plos.org/publications (https://www.plos.org/publications)
Cool articles! Thanks!


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Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: Amandaverve on December 05, 2016, 01:37:42 PM
It appears on the backcountry calendar that those already closed Chisos sites as well as the Lower Juniper and Blue Creek zones have had their closures extended through the end of the year.

Jim, I'm new to the forum and really appreciate all of the information.  Can you please share the link of the backcountry calendar?  I'm planning our first visit to stay in BBNP from 12/20-1/2.  I'm really looking forward to the visit, but fairly disappointed about the rim closures.  I'm still hopeful that they will reopen before we leave the park.

Thanks again,
Amanda
Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: mule ears on December 05, 2016, 02:38:05 PM
It appears on the backcountry calendar that those already closed Chisos sites as well as the Lower Juniper and Blue Creek zones have had their closures extended through the end of the year.

Jim, I'm new to the forum and really appreciate all of the information.  Can you please share the link of the backcountry calendar?  I'm planning our first visit to stay in BBNP from 12/20-1/2.  I'm really looking forward to the visit, but fairly disappointed about the rim closures.  I'm still hopeful that they will reopen before we leave the park.

Thanks again,
Amanda

Hi  Amanda and welcome to the board.  Here is the link to the permits page (http://75.41.147.131/permits/welcome.php), once you enter go to step 2 and check site availibilty.  Not all of the High Chisos are closed, the NE and SE rim sites are open and SW3&4.  Folks will have to have several versions of their itinerary but it should work, the big problem is you are landing at maybe the busiest week of the year besides Spring Break.
Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: Amandaverve on December 05, 2016, 03:03:55 PM
It appears on the backcountry calendar that those already closed Chisos sites as well as the Lower Juniper and Blue Creek zones have had their closures extended through the end of the year.

Jim, I'm new to the forum and really appreciate all of the information.  Can you please share the link of the backcountry calendar?  I'm planning our first visit to stay in BBNP from 12/20-1/2.  I'm really looking forward to the visit, but fairly disappointed about the rim closures.  I'm still hopeful that they will reopen before we leave the park.

Thanks again,
Amanda

Jim,
I've been lurking on the forum for a good 6-8 months while planning the trip before actually posting.  I've come across several of your posts and just want to say thank you for all of the helpful information you provide for us newbies! 

Best,
Amanda
Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: dprather on December 05, 2016, 03:17:38 PM
Just to make sure:

(1) Does the Lower Juniper zone stop at the Juniper/Dodson intersection?

(2) Does the Lower Blue Creek zone (assuming it's still closed too) stop at the Homer Wilson ranch house?

(*) Meaning that all OML camping will have to be done between the Juniper/Dodson intersection and Homer Wilson???
Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: Robert on December 05, 2016, 04:54:20 PM
(1) Does the Lower Juniper zone stop at the Juniper/Dodson intersection?
(2) Does the Lower Blue Creek zone (assuming it's still closed too) stop at the Homer Wilson ranch house?
(*) Meaning that all OML camping will have to be done between the Juniper/Dodson intersection and Homer Wilson???

Hard to be completely sure with the lack of detail in the zone camping maps but I think you are correct. Technically speaking you could utilize the Hays Ridge zone but I don't see any advantage in camping there. If you can snag one of the few open Rim sites you could still put together a nice 3 night trip by camping one night on the rim and the other two nights near the Dodson trailheads.

There are several campsites near the Juniper trailhead including some opportunities to camp in the washes coming out of the Chisos. On the Homer Wilson side there are a few spots coming around the front of pt 4817 and up to the pass. Probably some flat areas further down Blue Creek as well.
Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: nuggetf5 on December 05, 2016, 10:18:33 PM
It appears on the backcountry calendar that those already closed Chisos sites as well as the Lower Juniper and Blue Creek zones have had their closures extended through the end of the year.

Jim, I'm new to the forum and really appreciate all of the information.  Can you please share the link of the backcountry calendar?  I'm planning our first visit to stay in BBNP from 12/20-1/2.  I'm really looking forward to the visit, but fairly disappointed about the rim closures.  I'm still hopeful that they will reopen before we leave the park.

Thanks again,
Amanda

Believe you're looking for this link: http://75.41.147.131/permits/welcome.php

Once you click into the next page, check the only choice under Step 2 - Check Site Availability and hit enter. That'll show you all the scheduling. I finally added this to my bookmarks because it's hard to find.
Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: RichardM on December 07, 2016, 02:45:42 PM
Quote from: https://www.facebook.com/BigBendNPS/posts/1374946099190372:0
Update on bear closures as of noon on Wednesday, December 7:
As bear activity begins to decline along with bear and people interactions, park management has decided to open the Lost Mine Trail and some of the previously closed backcountry campsites and zones on a trial basis.
Along with the Lost Mine Trail being open, the following backcountry camping will be reopened: Laguna Meadows, Laguna West, and Juniper and Blue Creek camping zones. The following will remain closed due to recent bear activity: Toll Mountain, Boot Canyon 1-4, Colima 1-3, Juniper Canyon 1, and Southwest Rim 2 campsites.
As we continue to assess bear activity in the park we will modify closures accordingly, to keep people safe and bears healthy and wild. Remember: do not harass, approach, or feed wildlife. Do not linger near bears- give them the space they need to protect their young, travel safely, and eat wild food. We thank everyone for continuing to share this park with our unique wildlife!
Title: Re: Laguna Meadows/West sites unavailable
Post by: nuggetf5 on December 08, 2016, 10:50:01 AM
It appears on the backcountry calendar that those already closed Chisos sites as well as the Lower Juniper and Blue Creek zones have had their closures extended through the end of the year.

Jim, I'm new to the forum and really appreciate all of the information.  Can you please share the link of the backcountry calendar?  I'm planning our first visit to stay in BBNP from 12/20-1/2.  I'm really looking forward to the visit, but fairly disappointed about the rim closures.  I'm still hopeful that they will reopen before we leave the park.

Thanks again,
Amanda

Here ya go: http://75.41.147.131/permits/welcome.php

Once you click to the next page select  Step 2 - Check Site Availability and the radio button below that and hit submit.