Big Bend Conservancy
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I hope something comes good comes out of this,eventually. Not just Drug war tactics and initiatives
Quote from: homerboy2u on April 19, 2009, 04:45:39 PM I hope something comes good comes out of this,eventually. Not just Drug war tactics and initiativesme too, but, like you, Homero, I'm just a hopeless romantic
Dream of a Giant Park on the US Mexico border breathes new lifeby Rick LoBello, iloveparks.comA giant international park project first proposed in the 1930s and last endorsed by high level officials in Washington, D.C. in 1946, received a hopeful sign of new life last week when Congressman Ciro Rodriquez of Texas introduced H.Res.695 – “supporting an international park between Big Bend National Park in the United States and the protected areas of the Coahuila and Chihuahua States across the border in Mexico.” The non-binding resolution resolves, ”that the House of Representatives supports an international park between Bend National Park in the United States and the protected areas of the Coahuila and Chihuahua States across the border in Mexico; and Requests that the President in conjunction with the Secretaries of Homeland Security, Interior, and State discuss with Mexico and study the probability of designating an international park.”On a visit to the proposed park area in 1936 then Assistant Director of the National Park Service Conrad Wither said that the proposed Big Bend International Park would be one of the biggest developments ever undertaken by the National Park Service and would be “one of the greatest recreational and educational ventures ever undertaken by the National Park Service. The benefits to the people of Mexico and the United States will be almost unlimited." In a letter to General Manual Avila Camacho, President of the United Mexican States President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote that "I do not believe that this undertaking in the Big Bend (referring to the establishment of Big Bend National Park in 1944) will be complete until the entire park area in this region on both sides of the Rio Grande forms one great international park." When in 1946 following the death of Roosevelt, President Truman tried to move the project forward in his own letter to President Camacho, support for the project in Washington soon faded when Camacho’s term ended later that same year. Much has happened since 1946, but nothing as significant as Congressman’s Rodriquez’s first step to get the project back on the national agenda in Congress last week. Earlier this year iloveparks.com reported on recent efforts in Mexico to restore the project back on to the agenda when President Obama visited President Calderon in April. How this new chapter plays out in the days ahead will be determined by not only by President Obama, Congress and the Mexican government, but also by the people of both countries who come forward in support of the effort. To join a network of people working to support the designation of the international park, contact Rick LoBello in El Paso, Texas at 915-474-1456 or write firstname.lastname@example.org.To see a historical timeline and for more information on this effort visit http://www.iloveparks.com/peaceparks.
111th CONGRESS1st SessionH. RES. 695Supporting an international park between Big Bend National Park in the United States and the protected areas of the Coahuila and Chihuahua States across the border in Mexico.IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVESJuly 29, 2009Mr. RODRIGUEZ submitted the following resolution; which was referred to the Committee on Foreign AffairsRESOLUTIONSupporting an international park between Big Bend National Park in the United States and the protected areas of the Coahuila and Chihuahua States across the border in Mexico.Whereas the United States and Mexico share a common border, natural and cultural resources, and histories;Whereas the Chihuahuan Desert region provides an opportunity for the two nations to share research and experience in managing a protected area in this unique ecosystem;Whereas there is a desire to conserve and educate others about the significant natural and cultural resources that span the border of the United States and Mexico;Whereas the concept is based on the existing international park at Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park between the United States and Canada;Whereas beginning in 1935 with President Franklin D. Roosevelt, meetings and discussions have been held to explore an international park in the Big Bend National Park of Texas and the Coahuila and Chihuahua States of Mexico;Whereas, on August 14, 1983, an agreement between the United Mexican States and the United States of America on Cooperation for the Protection and Improvement of the Environment in the Border Area was signed;Whereas in October of 1988, an agreement of understanding between the National Park Service and the State of Coahuila was signed by Coahuila Governor Eliseo Mendoza Beurrueto, National Park Service Regional Director John Cook, and Big Bend National Park Superintendent Jim Carrico for cooperation between the two countries in research and preservation of the shared environment along the border;Whereas a similar agreement of understanding was later signed with the State of Chihuahua; andWhereas, on March 27, 2006, the United States and Mexico sign non-binding Joint Declaration of Sister Park Partnerships between Big Bend National Park in Texas, Maderas del Carmen (Coahuila), and Canon de Santa Elena (Chihuahua) Flora and Fauna Protected Areas: Now, therefore, be itResolved, That the House of Representatives--(1) supports an international park between Big Bend National Park in the United States and the protected areas of the Coahuila and Chihuahua States across the border in Mexico; and(2) requests that the President, in conjunction with Secretaries of Homeland Security, Interior, and State, discuss with Mexico and study the probability of designating an international park
Pardon me for being a bit pessimistic
The Missing Piece: Big Bend National Park was never meant to stand alone by Rick LoBello,8/9/2009 Aerial view from Big Bend National Park of the Sierra del Carmen mountain range looking east towards the range in Mexico and the Maderas del Carmen Flora and Fauna Protection Area in Coahuila."I do not believe that this undertaking in the Big Bend (referring to the establishment of Big Bend National Park) will be complete until the entire park area in this region on both sides of the Rio Grande forms one great international park." President Franklin D. Roosevelt in a letter General Manual Avila Camacho, President of Mexico, October 24, 1944 Living and working in Big Bend National Park gave me a unique opportunity to get to know and study one of the crown jewels of our National Parks. Nearly every day I gazed towards the northern frontier of Coahuila, Mexico, in line sight from my home at Panther Junction. Less than twelve airline miles away the towering cliffs of the Sierra del Carmen created the perfect wilderness backdrop for daily life in the park. Huge layers of limestone overshadowed the vista as the Mexican mountains rose more than 5000 feet above the banks of the Rio Grande. I could not escape the view. The ever changing light created wonderful sunrises and sunsets. Photographers try to capture the mood, but it’s too glorious to confine within the lens of a camera. I always think of these mountains as part of the Big Bend, but in reality they are part of another country. Mexico is divided from the United States by not only the Rio Grande, but also by a culture where life is often much slower and where the economy is rarely supported by ecotourism. An old man living in the tiny village of Boquillas in Coahuila, just across the river from the park’s Rio Grande Village Campground, once said that the Rio Grande is a very special river, for as it divides it also joins. This reflection perfectly characterizes the Big Bend we see today, for if it were not for political boundary lines drawn across the map, most visitors would be hard pressed to know just where the United States ends and Mexico begins. The entire Big Bend National Park area combined with the adjacent mountains in Mexico plays an important role in maintaining the balance of nature on both sides of the border. For example, the Sierra del Carmen is home to a significant population of black bears that is important to maintaining a sustainable population of bears in the park’s Chisos Mountains. Other animals cross the border back and forth and find both habitats important to their survival. To mountain lions and rare bird species like the Zone-tailed Hawk, Gray Hawk and Peregrine Falcon, international boundaries are meaningless. When President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the proposed International Peace Park a “meeting ground for the people of both countries” he helped to define a now 74-year-old dream. If realized, the dream of a vast international protected area will help to ensure the survival of a significant intermountain desert wilderness and will enhance the tourism economies on both sides of the Rio Grande. On October 14, 1988 I joined a small group of Big Bend staff on a trip into the Maderas del Carmen section of the Sierra del Carmens as guests of the Governor of Coahuila, Lic. Eliseo Mendoza Berrueto. Governor Mendoza had been in contact with Big Bend officials on several occasions during the year and was very enthusiastic in his desire to rekindle the dream of an international park. Meetings between Mendoza and Big Bend National Park Superintendent Jim Carrico had paved the way for a visit to one of the most spectacular wilderness areas left in northern Mexico. Little did we know at the time, six years later Mexico would designate the area the Maderas del Carmen Flora and Fauna Protection Area on November 7, 1994. After driving about 40 miles along rough roads we gathered at an airstrip south of Rio Grande Village and Boquillas. There we joined the Governor and his staff plus other officials and businessman from throughout Coahuila.The road up into the Maderas del Carmen demands 4-wheel drive vehicles. It rapidly ascends the steep southern edge of the range where some peaks reach to nearly 9,000 feet. Our caravan of ten jeeps and pick-ups slowly made its way to the top where we abruptly entered a forest more typical of a forest you would see in Colorado. To our delight the Governor was accompanied by his private chef who prepared a classic Mexican barbecue complete with fresh corn and flower tortillas, beans and salad. After dinner everyone gathered around the campfire to become better acquainted as a cassette player filled the air with Mexican tunes. Sitting by a propane lantern, the Governor enjoyed a game of dominos with Jim Carrico. The next day more than 40 people gathered among the tall Arizona cypress, yellow pine, and Douglas fir trees. It was an occasion with a telling parallel: the Governor was visiting the area for the first time and the scene was reminiscent of the 1870 meeting near the mouth of Wyoming’s Madison River where the idea of creating Yellowstone National Park, the world’s first national park, was seriously considered. As topographical maps were unfolded onto a long wooden table, the group gathered around to answer the Governor’s questions about the best black bear habitat and to discuss ideas about the most logical boundaries for a protected area. In Northern Mexico the Maderas del Carmen mountain range is one of the most remote and unexplored areas in Coahuila. Now that protected status for the area was declared in 1994 and renewed efforts to create an international park with Big Bend are underway, the region may soon receive long overdue international recognition as one of the last great wilderness areas in North America. From 1975-1992 and almost every year since I have enjoyed thousands of sunrises and sunsets over the magnificent Sierra del Carmens. I am continually inspired by the shifting hues of red, pink, purple, crimson and blue on the massive limestone cliffs and have admired countless thunderstorms building above its heights. I used to wonder about the high mountain forests and have always looked at the magnificent Sierra del Carmen vista as if it were actually a part of Big Bend. Now that I have been to the area several times I realize that Big Bend National Park is actually a smaller part of something much bigger, a mountain range that President Roosevelt referred to as the “missing piece” needed to make the Big Bend park idea complete. The dream lives and those of us who have discovered the wonders of this special corner of the earth will continue to look to the day when the dream of a US Mexico International Park finally becomes a reality.
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Mexican Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Juan Elvira Decide to Strengthen Conservation Cooperation in Big Bend Area of the U.S. - Mexico BorderWashington, D.C. and Mexico, D.F.--In conjunction with the North American Leaders Summit held in Guadalajara, Mexico, U.S. Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar and Mexican Minister of Environment and Natural Resources Juan Elvira announced today their commitment to strengthen conservation along the U.S. - Mexico border. The Secretary and the Minister will develop a plan to enhance coordination in the Big Bend and El Carmen area of the border and report to Presidents Barack Obama of the United States and Felipe Calder?n of Mexico in six months. The proposed plan will take advantage of national parks and protected areas already designated in the Big Bend and El Carmen region, without prejudice to each country’s existing legislation, border security, and rights. “Building upon our shared history of ecosystem and species conservation, the plan will develop a model of bi-national cooperation for the conservation and enjoyment of shared ecosystems for current and future generations,” said Secretary Salazar. With more than 268 river miles and 3 million acres of contiguous parks and protected areas on both sides of the border benefitting under this proposal, 14 percent of the entire U.S.-Mexico border will enjoy strengthened conservation coordination. The joint announcement marks the renewal of a bilateral process to develop one of the most significant conservation initiatives considered by Mexico and the United States at the border, while also taking into account border security. Sixty-five years ago, the Presidents of the United States and Mexico exchanged letters on the creation of the Big Bend National Park in the United States, wherein they envisioned the conservation of the shared ecosystems on both sides of the Rio Grande in the Big Bend region of Texas in the United States and Chihuahua and Coahuila in Mexico. Mexico later established Ca?on de Santa Elena and Maderas del Carmen protected areas in Chihuahua and Coahuila. Over the years, park rangers, scientists, volunteers, landowners and local communities on both sides of the border have diligently conserved the spectacular landscapes, wilderness, and habitats in both countries, in one of the most biologically diverse regions of the world. The June 2009 designation of Ocampo Protected Area by President Calder?n completed a critical piece of this vision, forming a contiguous set of protected areas across from Big Bend National Park in the United States. Additional United States protected areas adjacent to Big Bend National Park include: Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River, Big Bend Ranch State Park, and Black Gap Wildlife Management Area, all in Texas.“The U.S.-Mexico bilateral process is expected to highlight the biodiversity of the region, to consolidate environmental cooperation between the two countries, and could eventually constitute a symbol of the new era of the relation between Mexico and the United States with respect to bilateral cooperation in the conservation area” commented Mexican Minister Elvira. He added that “the Secretaries of the Interior and of the Environment and Natural Resources recognize in this mandate the vision of the Governments and trust that a proposal can be developed soon for further consideration by the Presidents.”
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