Don't miss out on a once in a lifetime opportunity to explore Big Bend National Park with us this October. Big Bend has been described as "a place in Far West Texas where night skies are dark as coal and rivers carve temple-like canyons in ancient limestone."
Your action needed: Tell the Park Service to halt trail building in Big Bend National Park
We are urging our members to call Big Bend National Park to request that they halt a trail building project until proper procedures have been followed.If they do not, Our Texas Wild will consider legal action.The number for the park is 432-477-2251 and the park superintendent is William Wellman.
In December 2010,Our Texas Wild submitted comments to Big Bend National Park regarding a proposed ten-mile mountain biking trail starting at Panther Junction. The trail would be the first of its kind in the United States–going into back-country through potential wilderness areas. The trail is a pilot project of the Memorandum of Understanding between the National Park Service and the International Mountain Biking Association (IMBA) to increase biking opportunities in National Parks.
There were indications of conflicts of interest from the beginning. Even though it was IMBA’s project, IMBA was also allowed to conduct the Environmental Assessment. They will be building the trail and maintaining it. One of its members co-owns a local outfitting unit along with a past park superintendent. Every single NPS employee who submitted a comment (about 20) was opposed to the project.
Now the gloves have come off. Without publishing a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI), and without going through the rulemaking the NPS admitted was required to go forward with the project, IMBA announced on their website several days ago that trail construction had begun, and indeed, brush is being cleared in the park.
The Park Service admits that due to an oversight, they did not publish the FONSI online or issue a response to people’s concerns. After speaking with them yesterday, they posted the FONSI on their website but have no current plans to halt the project. They also insist they can proceed with the project before the rule amendments occur.
Our Texas Wild is in discussions with the National Park Service to voluntarily halt the project until members of the public have time to appeal the FONSI. If they do not, Our Texas Wild will consider further legal action. In the meantime, we urge our members to call Big Bend National Park and request that they halt the project until proper procedures have been followed. The number for the Park is 432-477-2251 and the Park Superintendent is William Wellman.