• Sierra del Carmen

    Big Bend

    National Park Texas

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  • Extreme Water Shortage

    Extreme water shortage throughout park. Visitors are limited to 5 gallons per day, and are encouraged to conserve further when possible. Please consider bringing your own water to the park.

Administrative History

The National Park Service has a fundamental responsibility for preserving and interpreting many of the Nation's most valued cultural and natural resources. Yet it also has a responsibility to preserve and analyze its own history. The Service has an obligation to maintain a thorough, accurate record of its policies, decisions, and activities in part because these things reflect how America chooses to preserve and present important remnants of its cultural and natural history. Administrative histories are a critical element if the Service is to record and preserve its own history. Current policies and decisions cannot be formulated properly without reference to past experience.

Service managers and staff increasingly seek to learn more about their own parks. By learning more about problems their predecessors faced, managers at all levels can be better informed about contemporary issues and bring greater awareness to their policy and program decisions.

Administrative histories are the most effective way to convey this knowledge. They relate how particular parks and functions of the Service originated and how they evolved. Although many are of wider interest, their primary audience is Park Service personnel. In this context, “administrative history” is used broadly to cover movements leading to park establishment, legislative background, and other contributing developments beyond administration in the strict sense.


Landscape of Ghosts, River of Dreams:
An Administrative History of
Big Bend National Park (2002)
Covering park establishment and early park development in detail.
Read it! [23.9 MB PDF file]

Did You Know?

Persimmon Gap

One of the main Comanche trails entered Big Bend National Park at Persimmon Gap, continued south to Glenn Spring, and crossed the Rio Grande at what was then called Paso del Chisos, the flattish valley west of Mariscal Mountain. More...