by Alex Gugel , all rights reserved
Wild & Scenic River - Texas
The Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River protects 260 miles (420 km) of the Rio Grande in New Mexico and Texas. The New Mexico portion runs from the New Mexico–Colorado border approximately 68 miles (109 km) south. The lower 4 miles of the Red River, a tributary of the Rio Grande in Taos County, New Mexico, was also added to the WSR System. The two rivers intersect in the Wild Rivers Recreation Area. Approximately 69 miles (111 km) of the WSR in Texas is within Big Bend National Park; the remainder is downstream of Big Bend. Three rugged canyons are preserved under this designation: Boquillas Canyon is the most accessible, as it can be reached via a popular RV campground; Mariscal Canyon can only be entered via a high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle; and entrance to the Lower Canyon, due to rapid size, is only possible by signing a National Park Service liability or "acknowledgement of risk" waiver.
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National Park System - National Park Units
Map of the U.S. National Park System. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
National Park System - National Park Units and Regions
Map of the U.S. National Park System with Unified Regions. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
National Park System - National Heritage Areas
Map of the U.S. National Heritage Areas. Published by the National Park Service (NPS).
https://www.nps.gov/rigr/index.htm https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rio_Grande_Wild_and_Scenic_River The Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River protects 260 miles (420 km) of the Rio Grande in New Mexico and Texas. The New Mexico portion runs from the New Mexico–Colorado border approximately 68 miles (109 km) south. The lower 4 miles of the Red River, a tributary of the Rio Grande in Taos County, New Mexico, was also added to the WSR System. The two rivers intersect in the Wild Rivers Recreation Area. Approximately 69 miles (111 km) of the WSR in Texas is within Big Bend National Park; the remainder is downstream of Big Bend. Three rugged canyons are preserved under this designation: Boquillas Canyon is the most accessible, as it can be reached via a popular RV campground; Mariscal Canyon can only be entered via a high-clearance four-wheel-drive vehicle; and entrance to the Lower Canyon, due to rapid size, is only possible by signing a National Park Service liability or "acknowledgement of risk" waiver. For 196 miles, this free-flowing stretch of the Rio winds its way through desert expanses and stunning canyons of stratified rock. For the well prepared, an extended float trip provides opportunities to explore the most remote corner of Texas and experience the ultimate in solitude, self-reliance, and immersion in natural soundscapes. Several highways lead to Big Bend National Park: TX 118 from Alpine to Study Butte or FM 170 from Presidio to Study Butte (then 26 miles east to park headquarters) or US 90 or US 385 to Marathon (then 70 miles south to park headquarters). Distances between towns and services are considerable. Be sure you have plenty of gas, food, water, and supplies for your trip. Rio Grande Village Visitor Center Rio Grande Village Visitor Center is located 0.25 miles north of the Rio Grande Village developed area and includes exhibits on Big Bend wildlife. River use permits are issued and entrance fees can be paid here. A small desert garden provides an overview of Chihuahuan Desert plants. Rio Grande Village Visitor Center includes a small theater, a Big Bend Natural History Association bookstore, and restrooms. A water faucet is available for filling personal water containers. Canoeing Boquillas Canyon Canoeing Boquillas Canyon Floating through Boquillas Canon Boquillas Canyon View in Boquillas Canyon A float through the canyons can be a magical experience. Rio Grande Vista and Crown Mountain A desert river with a backdrop of mountains in the distance. Rio Grande Vista and Crown Mountain Mariscal Canyon People in two canoes paddle on a river threading through high canyon walls. Canoeing Mariscal Canyon Rio Grande Vista A desert river with a tree lined bank in the background. Rio Grande Vista Rio Grande A desert river with a rugged landscape of cliff faces and hills in the background. The Rio Grande seen from the Santa Elena River Access. Climate Change and the Chihuahuan Desert The Chihuahuan Desert Network is currently developing protocols to monitor several vital signs that may reflect current and future impacts of climate change. This brief offers a summary of how Chihuahuan Desert Network monitoring will detect future change. Smith Springs is one of many springs that serve as a water source for plants & animals in the CHDN. Air Quality in the Chihuahuan Desert Three park units in the Chihuahuan Desert Network, Big Bend National Park (NP), Carlsbad Caverns NP, and Guadalupe Mountains NP are designated as Class I air quality areas under the Clean Air Act. Class I areas receive the highest protection under the act, and degradation of air quality must be minimal. Air quality concerns include atmospheric deposition effects and visibility impairment from fine particle haze. Rugged landscape under a partly cloudy sky at Big Bend National Park Mammals of the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River The purpose of this study was to survey the mammals in selected riparian habitats along the Rio Grande from the eastern border of Big Bend National Park in Brewster County, downstream through Terrell County. This section of the river flows through the rugged limestone canyons of the Stockton Plateau, and is commonly referred to as the Lower Canyons. Access to most of the Lower Canyons is limited to multi-day canoe trips. Rio Grande flowing through a canyon Of Night Skies & Kerosene Lamps Growing up in a small city in Colorado, seeing the Milky Way galaxy was a nightly experience. As time went on, the city got larger, more lights appeared, the Milky Way was more difficult to see. A sky filled with stars towers over the desert landscape. The Darkness That Refreshes The Big Bend is dark. Probably darker than where you are from. It is so dark, that some people feel uncomfortable, as super dark nights are not what they are accustomed to. A slight crescent moon is lit from the bottom; a planet nearby is similarly lit. Protecting Life, Large & Small Why worry about a tiny fish or one species of grass, which, if it were to disappear would hardly be noticed by most people? Pink-purple cup shaped flowers with black and yellow centers bloom on a low growing cactus. Big Bend National Park Conducts Prescribed Burn While Taking Coronavirus Precautions Big Bend National Park Conducts Prescribed Burn While Taking Coronavirus Precautions Aerial view of prescribed fire along riverbank Dinosaur Tracks Found along Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River The first dinosaur footprints have been recently discovered along the banks of the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River in Texas. The tracks are preserved in Cretaceous age rocks and represent footprints left by a bipedal theropod dinosaur. dinosaur track Hot Water, Health, & History For J.O. Langford and his family, the hot springs along the Rio Grande represented health, business and home. And for several decades in the early 20th century, they were also the center of a desert community. The stone foundation of a hot springs bath house remains abuts a river. Of Darkness & Solitude Parks like Big Bend preserve not only darkness for the benefit of people, more importantly, they allow flora and fauna to thrive in environments that each and every species evolved to exist in—cycles of light and dark, varying in length only by the seasons, for millions of years. Bright stars and wisps of galactic dust glow in a deep blue night sky. Multi-subject Photo Prompts Inspire learning with photographs from Big Bend National Park. Each photograph has links to related articles and suggested prompts for writing, science, art, math, and history. This mud was wet, dry, and slightly wet again, leaving cracks and raindrop impressions. Southwest River Environments In the arid Southwest, water means life, and prehistorically, rivers were the lifelines of the people. The Colorado River flowing through a canyon Climate Monitoring in the Southern Plains, Sonoran Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert Climate is one of many ecological indicators monitored by the National Park Service (NPS) Division of Inventory & Monitoring (I&M). Climate data help scientists to understand ecosystem processes and help to explain many of the patterns and trends observed in other natural-resource monitoring. In NPS units of the American Southwest, three I&M networks monitor climate using the scientific protocol described here. Kayaking across a fl ooded parking lot, Chickasaw NRA, July 2007. Series: The Wild Dark Skies Of Big Bend Most people live with such an abundance of light that very few stars can be seen. Big Bend National Park is a refreshing exception. A series of essays examines our relationship to the diminishing realm of dark. Stars shine as the Milky Way backlights the silhouette of a mountain range. Series: Defining the Southwest The Southwest has a special place in the American imagination – one filled with canyon lands, cacti, roadrunners, perpetual desert heat, a glaring sun, and the unfolding of history in places like Tombstone and Santa Fe. In the American mind, the Southwest is a place without boundaries – a land with its own style and its own pace – a land that ultimately defies a single definition. Maize agriculture is one component of a general cultural definition of the Southwest. Series: Park Paleontology News - Vol. 09, No. 1, Spring 2017 All across the park system, scientists, rangers, and interpreters are engaged in the important work of studying, protecting, and sharing our rich fossil heritage. <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/newsletters.htm">Park Paleontology News</a> provides a close up look at the important work of caring for these irreplaceable resources. <ul><li>Contribute to Park Paleontology News by contacting the <a href="https://www.nps.gov/common/utilities/sendmail/sendemail.cfm?o=5D8CD5B898DDBB8387BA1DBBFD02A8AE4FBD489F4FF88B9049&r=/subjects/geoscientistsinparks/photo-galleries.htm">newsletter editor</a></li><li>Learn more about <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossils/">Fossils & Paleontology</a> </li><li>Celebrate <a href="https://www.nps.gov/subjects/fossilday/">National Fossil Day</a> with events across the nation</li></ul> NPS Paleontology logo illustration with fossil icons Changing Patterns of Water Availability May Change Vegetation Composition in US National Parks Across the US, changes in water availability are altering which plants grow where. These changes are evident at a broad scale. But not all areas experience the same climate in the same way, even within the boundaries of a single national park. A new dataset gives park managers a valuable tool for understanding why vegetation has changed and how it might change in the future under different climate-change scenarios. Green, orange, and dead grey junipers in red soil, mountains in background