Partial park closures from flood damage.
Most trails and roads in the park have reopened. Current closures include the Frijole Foothills Loop, McKittrick Ridge, the northern El Capitan Trail section leading to Williams Ranch, and the Salt Basin Dunes Road. Call 915-828-3251 for info.
In 1921, Wallace E. Pratt, Humble Oil & Refining Company's first geologist, and two associates bought land that included part of McKittrick Canyon within the Guadalupe Mountains of West Texas. At the height of the depression, his partners decided to sell their interest and Mr. Pratt bought them out. He assumed complete ownership in 1930.
In 1930 Wallace Pratt built a stone cabin in McKittrick Canyon at the confluence of north and south McKittrick Creek. Pratt used this vacation lodge as a family get-a-way retreat from the hot humid summers of Houston, Texas, his permanent home at the time. When Wallace Pratt retired in 1945, he and his wife moved to McKittrick Canyon and used the cabin as their home for a brief time, but eventually, severe flooding of the creek convinced Mr. Pratt to build another home on higher ground outside the canyon.
The building's ground floor plan is a narrow rectangle, only 16wide x 110 feet long, and consists of a single story with a flat deck roof. On both sides, the deck extends out to cover a paved, semi-enclosed gallery. This gallery is eight feet wide, and runs the full length of the structure. The long axis is oriented south-southwest into the prevailing wind.
The building was completed in 1945 and Mr. Pratt lived there until ill health required him to move to Tucson, Arizona in 1963. He died at his home in Tucson on December 25, 1981 at 96 years of age.
Did You Know?
The long narrow leaves of the desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) gives it its common name, but it is not a true willow. It is beautiful when in bloom, and provides valuable nectar for hummingbirds, butterflies, bees and other insects.