News Release

Changes in Park Operations due to COVID-19

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News Release Date: March 17, 2020

BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, TX – In response to an increase in confirmed novel (new) coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Texas, and new guidance from the White House and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the National Park Service (NPS) today announced a number of operational changes at Big Bend National Park.

The latest guidance recommends that all Americans should reduce travel, practice social distancing, and avoid social gatherings in groups of more than 10 people. The National Park Service, and the NPS staff at Big Bend, take this seriously.  Effective Tuesday, March 17, and until further notice:

3/21/20 UPDATE:
Effective Monday, March 23rd, Big Bend will close all overnight camping and lodging. The park remains open for day-use
Read More

3/20/20 UPDATE:
Big Bend and Rio Grande WSR join other parks throughout Department of Interior Regions 6, 7, and 8 in suspending river operations until further notice. All public and commercial river trips are suspended.
Learn More

3/19/20 UPDATE:
Following the State of Texas CORVID-19 health mandate, the Chisos Mountain Lodge Restaurant will remain open, but for take-out meals ONLY.  

Visitor Services

  • All Big Bend Visitor Centers and Contact Stations will be closed, including Big Bend Natural History Association bookstores.
  • The Boquillas Port of Entry will be closed, effective Wednesday, March 18.
  • All ranger-guided activities and special events scheduled for the next 60 days will be cancelled. Park interpretive rangers will be roving park trailheads and trails to provide park information and answer questions.

Camping

  • As park staffing levels allow, park campgrounds will remain open to advance reservations and first-come, first-served self-registration only.
    Park campgrounds closed 3/23  Read More
  • Group campsites will be closed. 
  • Backcountry camping will be restricted to those sites available for advance reservations on www.recreation.gov 
    Backcountry camping closed 3/23 Read More
  • The concession operated RV Campground at Rio Grande Village will remain open.
    RV Campground closed 3/23  Read More

Concessions

  • The Chisos Mountain Lodge will remain open.
    Lodge hotel units closed 3/23 Read More
  • The restaurant will serve take-out meals.
  • Restaurant capacity will be reduced and tables spread out to maximize distance between parties.
    Restaurant open for take-out only 3/19
  • Patio dining will continue provided there are no significant trash or animal problems. Capacity will be reduced and tables spread out to maximize distance between parties.
  • The bar and soup/salad bar will be closed.
  • Indoor spaces (camper stores, registration area, service stations) will be restricted to no more than 10 people at one time, including staff.

Commercial Outfitters

  • All activities will be restricted to parties of 10 or less, including guides and drivers.
  • As of 3/20/20 all river trips are suspended. Read more

“We realize these changes have tremendous impact on the visiting public, our partners, and the economic livelihood of local businesses and employees,” said Big Bend National Park Superintendent Bob Krumenaker. “Nonetheless, with parallel restrictions being imposed all over the nation, if not the globe, these actions are what we believe are reasonable steps to protect the health of park visitors and employees. We appreciate the support and understanding of the American public.” 

The COVID-19 virus situation is changing daily, and the NPS continues to monitor the local, regional, and national situation on a daily basis and will adjust or lift these limits as appropriate as the situation changes. Unlike in a government shutdown, park employees will continue to work subject to health and safety concerns, and with new procedures to maximize their safety. Big Bend staff will endeavor to do as much of the NPS mission as we can under the trying circumstances.

For more information on the NPS response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, please visit the NPS Public Health Update webpage



Last updated: March 24, 2020

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 129
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129

Phone:

432-477-2251

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