A grassroots effort is under way to create Big Bend International Park, a park that would span the U.S.-Mexico border in southern Texas.
Driving the effort is the Greater Big Bend Coalition, a conservation group working to protect the desert lands, rivers, mountains and wildlife of the greater Big Bend ecosystem of Texas and northern Mexico. The region stretches across the US/Mexico Rio Grande border and includes nearly 8,000 square miles of protected lands in U.S. national parks, Texas state parks, and protected areas in Mexico.
One of the top priorities of the Greater Big Bend Coalition is to gain public support for the now 80-year-old proposal to establish a Big Bend International Park. Other priorities and issues include protecting parks and other natural areas from new roads and oil and gas development, political and non-political threats faced internally and externally, and making sure that the parks are not only protected, but also restored to natural conditions as closely as possible to the pre-European settlement of North America.
To raise support for the international park, the group is leading a petition drive on change.org.
Some four years ago there were talks between the two countries to preserve the landscape. At the time, then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Mexican Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Juan Rafael Elvira Quesada outlined “a working plan that identifies the next steps for the continued coordination between the two countries in the protection and preservation of the transnational Big Bend/Rio Bravo region – North America’s largest and most diverse desert ecosystem.”