August 16, 2011
David Elkowitz, 432-477-1108
The Big Bend National Park Superintendent has lifted the temporary closure of all High Chisos backpacking campsites, including dispersed (zone) camping in the Blue Creek and Lower Juniper Zones. Full use, both daytime and overnight, of the Chisos high country is now re-opened and available. The Window Trail has also been re-opened at this time.
The closures were due to the extreme fire danger in the park and especially in the high country of the Chisos Mountains. After several inches of rain have fallen recently the closures have been lifted.
The public is still asked to use caution throughout the park with any type of ignition source such as camping stoves or BBQ/charcoal grills. Smoking is prohibited on the High Chisos trails throughout the year. The charcoal ban which was in effect for the Basin campground has also been lifted at this time.
Additional care should be exercised when in the Chisos Mountains and Chisos Basin area, such as using bear proof containers and learning the needed precautions when camping anywhere in the high country. Also, visitors should learn bear-wise precautions from any ranger station for the Chisos Basin campground, or when parking at Basin trailheads such as the Lost Mine Trail. Visitors are asked to keep coolers and/or food in bear proof boxes, inside their vehicles, or otherwise out of reach of bears and wildlife. This will help keep bears wild and un-habituated to visitors, visitors’ cars, and/or human food.
Park Superintendent Bill Wellman said, “We are relieved to see rain throughout many areas of the park and especially in the High Chisos Mountains and Basin area. The rain will reduce the fire danger and be particularly helpful to wildlife and park resources after a prolonged dry period.”