Friends of Big Bend National Park
Big Bend Conservancy

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A new map and a request for information.

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Offline Ay Chihuahua!

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A new map and a request for information.
« on: November 19, 2007, 12:41:22 PM »
Hello,

I thought I'd share what I found over the weekend at the BBRSP website.

Also, I'm requesting information about a good 4-5 day backpack route.  I'm currently looking at the Masada Ridge Wilderness area for my exploits.

Anybody know anything about this area?  All I know is what I read from the TP&W magazine article in the April edition from this year.  It sounds like an interesting area.

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SHANEA

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Re: A new map and a request for information.
« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2007, 01:37:29 PM »
Hello and Welcome Aboard!  For your 1st or 2nd post, you have done dang good!  Congratulations!  You will fit well here.  The water is clear, clean, and cool - the food always hot, the beer FlatTire and the Scotch single...

Thank you for the OUTSTANDING LINK!  I'd been wondering when it would open up!

Regards...

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Offline Ay Chihuahua!

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Re: A new map and a request for information.
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2007, 08:31:02 PM »
Hello and Welcome Aboard!  For your 1st or 2nd post, you have done dang good!  Congratulations!  You will fit well here.  The water is clear, clean, and cool - the food always hot, the beer FlatTire and the Scotch single...

Thank you for the OUTSTANDING LINK!  I'd been wondering when it would open up!

Regards...
Thanks, ShaneA. 

From what I understand, this park is going to be a real big deal for folks interested in a wilderness type of experience.  It is different from the BBNP in that it has water...120 springs is what I hear.  This will allow many more opportunities for those wishing to spend multiple days on the trail.  With additional water in conjunction with the 52 backwoods camping spots...which will include a fire pit, covered shelter, and picknick table...BBRSP will offer experiences BBNP can't.  Think about it...you could plan your backpack trip so that you arrive at a spring each day and arrive at a camp site each evening with a cover and potentially a nice cache you've stashed for yourself.  If you planned it out well, you could probably do all your hiking (or biking) with a day pack! 

Ok...what I described may not be, strictly speaking, a wilderness experience, but those opportunities will still exist in spades.  This is going to be very cool...and in Texas even.

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SHANEA

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Re: A new map and a request for information.
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2007, 10:41:20 PM »
Ay Chihuahua!  Yes, I've been waiting for over a year for the expansion to open.  I've been to BBRSP many times since the mid/late 1990's I suppose.  One thing that really appeals to me about BBRSP is that I can have a camp fire.  BBRSP is totally different than BIBE - different scenery, etc.  Plus, if it's really possible, it's a lot less crowded than BIBE - sans Spring Break, Thanksgiving, and Christmas...  One can go to BBRSP during the "high season" of BIBE and have the whole place to yourself. 

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Offline xseption

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Re: A new map and a request for information.
« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2007, 11:01:46 AM »
Thanks for the link. Very useful information!

~ edd
Be the kind of person that you will want to meet!

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Offline toejam

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Re: A new map and a request for information.
« Reply #5 on: November 22, 2007, 07:05:31 PM »
So how do you get to this Masada Ridge Wilderness?

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Offline Ay Chihuahua!

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Re: A new map and a request for information.
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2007, 03:03:40 PM »
So how do you get to this Masada Ridge Wilderness?
Toejam,

I saw your link to the information about the Rancherias Loop...very cool, thanks.

Regarding your question, the short answer is, I don't know yet.  I think the best route would be to start at one of the designated parking lots at the Rincon camp sites, or the one at Tres Papalotes. 

Perusing Google Earth reveals many old ranch roads in the area, which will probably help get you there.  I've found nothing to indicate any water sources in this part of the park.  If this turns out correct, I suppose a 10 mile in and out with an overnighter in between might work.  I hate carrying water!

I've been told there is a gentleman working for the park who is currently GPSing all the springs in the park.  I'm hoping to get in touch with him this week.

This doesn't do much to answer your question, but I hope it helps some.  Rest assured, I will post what I learn if and when I learn it.  Who knows, I may be doing a completely different hike upon discovering more about this area.

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Offline randell

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Re: A new map and a request for information.
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2007, 03:19:01 PM »
Great find! 

The park is indeed a jewel and an outstanding part of the West Texas playground!

Big Bend Ranch Quick Facts
Average No of Visitors: 10k (vs 300k+ at BIBE)
People per 1,000 acres: 2.5 (vs 3 at BIBE)
Springs: 134
One of the wettest areas on the Chihuahuan Desert

These are just a few things I learned in the February 2007 public use meeting in Houston.
There's nothing like a good quest to get you intimate with a place. - Tom Clynes

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Offline xseption

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Re: A new map and a request for information.
« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2007, 03:44:37 PM »
Anybody know anything about this area?  All I know is what I read from the TP&W magazine article in the April edition from this year.  It sounds like an interesting area.

What in the article caught your attention?

~ edd
Be the kind of person that you will want to meet!

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Offline toejam

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Re: A new map and a request for information.
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2007, 09:05:50 AM »
I've been told there is a gentleman working for the park who is currently GPSing all the springs in the park.  I'm hoping to get in touch with him this week.
When I've checked in at Barton Warnock the guys there always acted like the springs are a big secret and they don't want anybody to know there are reliable water sources. When I checked in for 4 days on the Rancherias Loop they made me tell them I was carrying 4 gallons of water (yeah, right!). They also said I was supposed to stay on the trail (yeah, right!). I know of another backpacker who couldn't get useful information from those guys. It seems like they don't trust the visitors to go out there, have a good time and survive.

So if they GPS all the springs, what do you have to do to get the information? Is there a way to win the trust of these guys?

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Offline jeffblaylock

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Re: A new map and a request for information.
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2007, 09:52:52 AM »
Quote
It seems like they don't trust the visitors to go out there

That's certainly been my experience with the state park folks. My first trip out there was cut short when they didn't bother to tell me that a padlocked gate blocked access into the park (This, after driving nearly 25 miles on a dusty, winding dirt path). When I went back, angrily, later that afternoon to get the combination, I asked why on earth is there a locked gate all the way out there. The ranger said, matter of factly, to "keep people out of the park." I drove back armed with three numbers to dial into the lock, but, alas, it was the wrong combination, and I never made it any further.

I went back to the national park, where I felt welcome to explore the backcountry at will.
Jeff Blaylock
Austin, Texas

"We'll be back, someday soon. We will return, someday, and when we do the gritty
splendor and the complicated grandeur of Big Bend will still be here. Waiting for us."--Ed Abbey

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Offline okiehiker

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Re: A new map and a request for information.
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2007, 11:11:14 AM »
Rangers walk an impossible line.  Every day people walk up to the counter and some are highly experienced and some are idiots.  Sometimes it is hard to tell who legitimate and who is not.

Regarding springs in both the state and national parks, I have found that rangers rarely tell the truth.  I cannot tell you how many times I have gone WAY out of my way to get to a water source that I knew I could count on because park rangers quite simply lied about the presence of water in places that I specifically asked about. 

Even in BIBE I have had rangers tell me that there was no water in Boot Canyon only to find that the stream was running at 100 gpm crystal clear beautiful water, not to mention water available at the spring itself. 

It happens with such regularity that I have to believe that the park service instructs their staff to tell everyone that there is no water anywhere any time anyone asks no matter what actual coniditions are. 

I believe that we must go the extra mile to protect the water resources in the backcountry.  I also know that many backcountry visitors are highly irresponsible and one should err on the side of caution.

However, that said, a policy of telling people there is no water when water is actually present will someday cost a stranded hiker his or her life because they will believe the misinformation they have been given. 

One improvement I have noticed over the years at BIBE is that park staff generally are more respectful of the abilities of visitors.  In discussing hiking, climbing and boating they used to be most unhelpful, and that seems no longer to be the case.  At BBRSP they are still at the stage BIBE was years ago.  The advantage is that you will see even fewer people in the BBRSP backcountry than in BIBE.
Funny... I have a story about that...

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chisos_muse

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Re: A new map and a request for information.
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2007, 11:36:34 AM »
At Panther Junction there is a dry erase board in the back that all current info is written as it is received

This would include reports of water availability, road conditions, blooms, bird sightings, anything that is worth posting. This information can be from visitors or rangers or other park staff/residents.

When asked about water, the answer usually given is pack what you need and never rely on any water source. But they will tell you what is reported if anything has been.

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Offline Ay Chihuahua!

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Re: A new map and a request for information.
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2007, 11:59:15 AM »
The days of keeping this park a secret are over.  With new money appropriated by the Legislature and the passage of the new bond proposal, BBRSP is now open for business...or will be very soon.  The parks guys have built some new roads and have improved old ones to create better access for visitors.  There are now 52 or so backcountry camping sites that you can drive to.  They have or will have a fire ring, a shelter and tent pad.

This park has always been starved for money.  The personnel have not been there in the past to support the type of offerings this park possesses.  One important factor has been law enforcement.  Up until recently, the park has only been able to retain one peace officer.  With the newly appropriated dollars, there are now four. 

Another important factor as to why the park has been kept in the dark, is the private land in-holdings that have existed for years within the park.  These have now either been purchased by the state or traded for other lands.  In other words, the park is now whole.

Presidio County Judge Agan is on the TP&WC's advisory committee on BBRSP.  Judge Agan sees the park as an economic generator for his very poor county.  TP&W has hired a media consulting firm to help advertise the park as a wilderness hiking, equestrian, and mountain biking destination...not just to Texans, but worldwide.  Take a look at the Solitario published by TP&W I posted a link to above.  It has a lot of information in it about utilizing this park.  Also compare it to the Paisano published by NPS...notice any similarities?  Based on what I've learned, you can probably expect articles about it in publications such as Backpacker Magazine, as a backpackers wilderness dream come true.

If you're not convinced yet, take a look at who the advisory committee is.

Chair, James King (Ft. Davis) - West Texas Director of the Nature Conservancy;
Vice Chair, Hall Hammond (San Antonio) - a member for many years of the Friends of Big Bend National Park Board;
Jerry Agan (Presidio) - Pesidio County Judge;
Bob Armstrong (Austin) - was instrumental in arranging the purchase of the State Ranch park land and is a former Texas legislator and Land Commissioner;
Jim Carrico (Terlingua) - Retired Superintendent of Big Bend National Park with longtime park management experience;
Tye Fain (Marathon) - Background in various oganizations (particularly the Rio Grande Institute) concerned with park land and tourism in the region;
Fran Sage (Alpine) - Co-founder with her husband, Jim, of the Big Bend Regional Sierra Club.

Each of these folks bring very specific expetise to the table in creating a "destination" park.

Folks, this is big!  All Benders should be taking a good look at what's going on west of the NP.  This is going to create so many wonderful opportunities. 

Rejoice!
« Last Edit: November 28, 2007, 12:04:33 PM by Ay Chihuahua! »

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Offline 01ACRViper

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Re: A new map and a request for information.
« Reply #14 on: December 05, 2007, 05:23:35 PM »
so are these new sites available yet?

 


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