PANTHER JUNCTION VISITOR CENTER TEMPORARY CLOSURE
The Panther Junction Visitor Center will be closed Tuesday May 28 and Wednesday May 29 for needed maintenance. Information, backcountry permits, and entrance fee payments can be taken care of at the Chisos Basin Visitor Center.
NPS/Big Bend National Park
Grasses in the desert?
Langford was most likely referring to the grasslands north of Big Bend National Park in the Marathon basin or just east of the Davis mountains. However, even logs from earlier visits to the Big Bend by Spaniards in the 17th century reported the area to be lush with grasses.
Nonetheless, today much of the old grasslands are since gone. Without them many species have struggled to survive in the park. Animals like pronghorn, prairie dogs, wild turkey, Mexican gray wolf, and bighorn sheep were more common before the ranching and settlement in the Big Bend country. Wether or not it was hunting by the ranchers, competition between species for resources, or overuse of the water sources that ended their persistence in the area we may never know.
We do know that grasslands were once part of the park and we are involved in a process to reintroduce this ecosystem to the park. This process will be a challenge with ever increasing numbers of introduced species, the problems associated with disturbed land, and drought which is typical in this desert environment.
Learn more about our grasslands restoration projects in the park.
Did You Know?
From 1929 to 1943, Elmo Johnson's Ranch served as a U.S. Army Air Corps landing field. The field was a popular weekend destination for pilots—a place to combine flying exercises with recreation such as hunting, fishing, exploring Indian caves, and taking burro rides into Mexico. More...