Area Investigation Report
on a Proposed Guadalupe Mountainsa National Park Texas
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The Guadalupe Mountains of Texas have outstandingly significant geological values. The biological and ecological values of North and South McKittrick Canyons are of national importance, and because of their fragile nature need careful protection. The scenery and high-country atmosphere of the higher Guadalupes provide a recreationally significant resource. The proximity of the area to growing centers of population such as El Paso adds further recreational importance.

The forested uplands would provide terrain for camping, hiking, and nature study, as well as a scenic drive. The geology of the Permian sea and the Capitan reef could be dramatically explained from overlooks on the high-country road and along a "low" road west of the fault scarp. North and South McKittrick Canyons furnish a unique ecological association featuring a delicate setting of coniferous and hardwood trees and brush species, a permanent stream with travertine terraces, and a location for observing the many birds which inhabit the area. Those canyons are, as well, areas of rugged beauty contrasting strongly with the surrounding region. A sense of healing relaxation results from contact with the primitive character of the Guadalupe Mountain country which has received, in many ways, a greater degree of protection than many existing National Parks and Monuments.

The report of the Outdoor Recreation Resources Review Commission stressed the importance of "preserving from other uses for the benefit of future generations" areas classed as primitive. The report stated that

Areas in this class are inspirational, esthetic, scientific, and cultural assets of the highest value. They, and they alone, satisfy the longing to leave behind for a time all contact with civilization.

The predicted growth of urban centers such as El Paso (110 miles) which has more than doubled its population (137,000 to 277,000) in the 1950-1960 decade, and the mountain recreation needs of the staked plains section of Texas and New Mexico, combined with the increase in leisure time and personal income of the expanding population, are factors to weigh in determining future recreation needs. Such activities as enjoyment of scenery and wildlife, pleasure driving and walking, and picnicking and camping are rated as extremely important recreation needs by the Commission.

The Guadalupe Mountains-McKittrick Canyon area is unique in the region in which it is located. The future recreation needs are apparent. An error in oversupplying outdoor recreation facilities is unlikely.

Looking up South McKittrick Canyon from the Hunter Lodge. The near ridge hides the full rise of "Gray Cove."

"Gray Cove" -- a tributary of South McKittrick Canyon, here seen from part way up the opposite wall.

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Last Updated: 09-Feb-2007