Park Service Now Interested in Adding Christmas Mountains to Big Bend National Park

Austin American-Statesman graphic.

National Park Service officials have decided that they are interested in obtaining the Christmas Mountains in Texas as an addition to Big Bend National Park. Austin American-Statesman graphic.

Better late than never? Well, it might be too late for the National Park Service, which has reversed itself on showing interest in adding more than 9,000 acres of land owned by the state of Texas to Big Bend National Park.

The state earlier this year indicated it wanted to sell the land in the Christmas Mountains, saying it couldn't properly manage the tract. While Park Service officials initially said they weren't interested in the parcel, which is northwest of Big Bend, on Friday the agency sent a letter of interest to the state's General Land Office.

But with the state wanting to sell the land in early November, the Park Service might have come into the picture too late. Another issue is that Texas officials want to ensure that whoever ends up owning the land continue to allow hunting on the property. And Big Bend is not open to hunting.

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Comments

Sell it to the national forest service ------- they are more friendly toward
public use than the national park sevice can be.

I own property in the Christmas Mountains adjacent to this tract, and in the past had numerous problems with poaching across it when it was previously used for hunting. Since hunting has stopped, return of wildlife has been spectacular, and now includes at least one wild black bear.

I would be very disappointed if this property were to again be hunted, and so strongly support ownership by the National Park.

Looks like we're heading towards a new designation in yet another NPS park:
Big Bend National Park (and Preserve). :-b

From the El Paso Times:

AUSTIN -- The Texas School Land Board decided Tuesday to give the National Park Service 90 days to submit an offer to buy the Christmas Mountains Ranch.

Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson wants to sell the 9,000-acre tract, because the state, he says, cannot adequately conserve the land. The Conservation Fund donated the land to Texas in 1991 with strict restrictions on its use.

After weeks of public opposition to Patterson's plans to sell the land to a private bidder, the board decided to allow the National Park Service time to make an offer to add it to Big Bend National Park, about 300 miles southeast of El Paso.

"I'm looking forward to meeting with National Park Service officials and interested parties to discuss how we can move forward," Patterson said.

Patterson has been adamant that any future owner of the property must allow hunting there. The Park Service prohibits firearms in its parks, but the two private bidders have pledged to allow hunting in the Christmas Mountains.

We have enough hunting. It needs to go to Big "B".