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Black Gap Wildlife Management Area

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Offline catz

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Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
« on: November 12, 2014, 11:49:03 AM »
Drove FM 2627 from US 381 just north of BBNP all the way to the Rio Grande last week.  Right after the Stillwell camping site, the road goes right through the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area.  Since I have seen very little about this area on BBC, I thought I'd pass along what I learned about it during our brief visit.

First, the area is managed by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (not federal, although a sign indicates that the feds are doing research in the area).  The headquarters is roughly halfway through the area, maybe 10 miles from Stillwell.  A passenger car can easily make it to the HQ, but don't expect to find a Visitors Center type of place.  What is there (among other buildings) is a self-registration booth where you can sign up for one of the many camp sites in the area.  Yes, there are camp sites located throughout the Area, only two of which are accessible by a regular car (both of these are in the HQ complex).  All the rest require high clearance, four wheel drive to reach.  Or so we were told.

I didn't count them all, but there must be at least 25 camping sites available.  Based on the sign up sheet while we were there, on any give day very few if any are actually taken.   

But that could be different when a hunting season is in effect because the Area does allow hunting.  At least for deer and pronghorn antelope, maybe more (Bighorn sheep, possibly).  I do not know when the hunting seasons are.

The area is beautiful, especially south of the HQ.  Many dark ridges and canyons. Not mountains exactly, but close enough.  Not seemingly as rugged as BB Ranch, but rugged enough.  No formal hiking trails but I think you are free to roam wherever you want from your campsite, except maybe when hunting is allowed.

In order to use one of the camp sites, you have to first have either an annual hunting license ($48) or a special limited use permit ($12).  Plus a fishing license if you want to pursue that activity.  Texas State Park passes do not work.  You can get one of the allowable permits from 1-800-895-4248 and (I'm assuming) via the PWD web site and probably wherever hunting licenses are sold (we ran into somebody and he said he got his at "the TruValu Hardware store in Alpine, the one that has all the guns and ammunition".  They do not sell the permits at the HQ so you have to get it ahead of time.  The unmanned self-registration room contains a sign up sheet as well as maps which show where each site is located and what road to take to get there.  The two sites near the HQ had tables and covers; I'd be surprised if the more remote sites have either, but they might.

If all you want to do is day hike and not camp, I assume that one of the permits is still required.

We drove all the way to the river where I was surprised to find that La Linda is in Mexico, not the US.  There is a bridge across the river but it is closed.  On the US side there is zero--just a single ranch house.  No services at all.  My understanding is that the guy who lives in the ranch house has the key to the gate that allows access for canoists and rafters to and from the Rio Grande.  Although there are a good number of buildings across the river in La Linda, I think very few of them are actually occupied.
Wake me when it's time to go.

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Offline catz

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Re: Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2014, 11:55:19 AM »
Richard--You probably should move this to the Black Gap page.  I posted this here without really looking.   :icon_redface:
Wake me when it's time to go.

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Offline badknees

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Re: Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
« Reply #2 on: November 12, 2014, 06:14:00 PM »
The only hunts at Black Gap this year are for Mule or White-tailed deer. They take place on Dec 08, 2014 – Dec 11, 2014. Only 4 individual permits were issued.
Not all those who wander are lost.
– J.R.R. Tolkien

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Offline jim2

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Re: Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
« Reply #3 on: November 12, 2014, 07:18:41 PM »
Thanks for posting this. I've been curious about this place.

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Offline Flash

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Re: Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2014, 08:03:47 PM »
Quote
We drove all the way to the river where I was surprised to find that La Linda is in Mexico, not the US.  There is a bridge across the river but it is closed.
Yes, the end of FM 2627 across from La Linda is a lonely place indeed. My late father-in-law worked over there when he was with Dow Chemical long ago. He told of being flown in there and landing on the airstrip on the US side, going uphill with a hump in the middle.

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Offline P-T Boundry Hiker

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Re: Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2015, 09:54:05 PM »
Flash,
It has been sometime ago but was your farther-in-law Andy Kurie?  He managed (?) or worked at the fluorspar mine in La Linda and ran the "resort" at the end of 2627. Had the pleasure of meeting him several times.  Like I said, it was some time ago but they were good memories indeed.  Guess I am showing my age.

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Offline Flash

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Re: Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
« Reply #6 on: February 17, 2015, 10:33:18 PM »
Flash,
It has been sometime ago but was your farther-in-law Andy Kurie?  He managed (?) or worked at the fluorspar mine in La Linda and ran the "resort" at the end of 2627. Had the pleasure of meeting him several times.  Like I said, it was some time ago but they were good memories indeed.  Guess I am showing my age.
No, no, Andy Kurie is not my father-in-law and I have never met the man. Two different people, however both were former Dow employees.

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Offline fullmetaljacket6793

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Re: Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
« Reply #7 on: June 21, 2017, 09:21:25 PM »
Ill be heading out in July to scout it out so i will update what i find out.


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Offline BlindWilly

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Re: Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2017, 01:00:03 PM »
Ill be heading out in July to scout it out so i will update what i find out.


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Any updates?
I'm wanting to camp out here and explore a few days this year.
I'm working on an itinerary that would include here a few days, then scoot over to the State Park and hit Casa Ramon up in the NW side.  (or vice versa)
"No matter where you go, there you are"
-Buckaroo Bonzai

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Online House Made of Dawn

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Re: Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2020, 12:37:45 PM »
So...old topic, new question: I've been surfing the Black Gap WMA official website and almost every activity page includes this tagline:

"Access restricted to Maravillas and Horse Canyons, Rio Grande and the headquarters campsite from March 1 to August 31."

And I'm wondering what exactly that means.  I see two ways to interpret it.  1) Between the dates March 1 and August 31, there is no allowable access to the WMA except to Maravillas and Horse Canyons, the Rio Grande, and the HQ campsite.  Or, 2) Between the dates March 1 and August 31, access into Maravillas and Horse Canyons, the Rio Grande, and the HQ campsite are restricted and difficult to obtain

My personal assumption is that option #1 is correct and that this is a restriction due to the potentially devastating and dangerous heat during those months. What say you?  Anyone know the details of all this?  I assume the road tour along FM 2627 to the Rio Grande is still allowable at any time of year. But what does the tagline indicate? Are the Rio Grande fishing campsites difficult to reserve during the March-August window?  Or, if available, are campers trapped there or could the campsite still be used as a base for limited hiking/birding/general exploration inland? Would that violate the rules laid out in the tagline? I can't tell. Hoping y'all can save me a call to the BGWMA folks.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline Robert

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Re: Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2020, 01:22:00 PM »
This makes me think #1 is correct.

Black Gap WMA: Rules

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General visitation is allowed only during the period March 1 - August 31 and is restricted to roads (Horse and Maravillas Canyons) accessing the Rio Grande Corridor.

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Online House Made of Dawn

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Re: Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2020, 01:58:07 PM »
This makes me think #1 is correct.

Black Gap WMA: Rules

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General visitation is allowed only during the period March 1 - August 31 and is restricted to roads (Horse and Maravillas Canyons) accessing the Rio Grande Corridor.

I know, right? But what is "general visitation"?  There are plenty of references elsewhere on the website to camping, hiking, birding, fishing, etc. during the months outside the March-August window.  Some of those mentions even recommend those other months as good times for those activities, which I would think would be classified as "general visitation" (as opposed to "hunting" which is highly regulated). So, you know, I'm not sure what "general visitation" includes and excludes.

Still, my common sense tells me that the powers that be at TPWD and BGWMA are (understandably) discouraging explorations during the warmer months beyond a very limited number of easily managed locations.  So... fishing good, but serious exploring bad.
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

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Offline congahead

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Re: Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2020, 02:03:40 PM »
House, your question leads me to anticipate an epic “I crisscrossed the BGWMA in ten days” trip report soon. 
"The animals here will generally try to avoid you, but the plants will hurt you every chance they get."

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Online House Made of Dawn

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Re: Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
« Reply #13 on: January 24, 2020, 02:17:21 PM »
House, your question leads me to anticipate an epic “I crisscrossed the BGWMA in ten days” trip report soon.

In a motorized wheelchair, 4WD, of course......    :rolling:
"The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts."

 


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