Visitor Center Construction to Continue Through Spring Break
Contact: David Elkowitz, 432 477-1108
Each year March brings many things to Big Bend National Park: wildflowers, cactus blooms, mild temperatures, and spring break visitors. The busiest Spring Break timeframe this year will likely be March 8 - 22, when many of the Texas public schools and universities are on vacation; the following week will also see increased visitation from other regions.
Ongoing construction to expand the Panther Junction Visitor Center, originally constructed in the early 1960s, requires that visitor center services, including information, permits, and bookstore, be temporarily relocated to the south side (rear) of the headquarters building. All services normally found or obtained at the visitor center will remain open and available from this temporary location. Signs are posted to direct visitors from the usual parking area in front of the visitor center around the west side of the building to the temporary visitor center facility.
During the Spring Break period, the demand for campsites and overnight lodging is often greater than the number of campsites and rooms available within the park. Campgrounds and primitive road campsites often fill daily starting as early as Saturday, March 8th. Backcountry camping options are available once campgrounds reach their capacity. A permit is required and can be obtained in person up to 24 hours in advance at any park visitor center. Due to the construction at the Panther Junction Visitor Center, allow a little extra time when obtaining backcountry use permits. Visitors who plan to backpack in the park should be prepared to carry all of their own water—up to one gallon per person per day—as backcountry water sources may not be reliable.
Visitors seeking lodging may also have difficulty finding a room. The Chisos Mountains Lodge, the only lodging facility in the park, reports that few reservations are available. Last minute cancellations sometimes offer a last minute room option. Visitors are encouraged to call the lodge at 432-477-2291 for more information. Camping facilities, RV parks, and lodging are also available in the communities outside the park. Reservations are recommended to be made in advance.
"Spring Break is one of the most rewarding times but also popular times to visit the park. The park’s website has useful information to ensure a safe and memorable visit," said Superintendent William E. Wellman. Spring Break trip planning is at the following: http://www.nps.gov/bibe/planyourvisit/peakperiods.htm