Established June 12th, 1944, Big Bend National Park is located in a remote part of Southern Texas and borders Mexico along 118 miles of the Rio Grande. It has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States. It contains more than 1,200 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals. The Rio Grande corridor is also a migration highway for many species passing through the desert. Elevation contrast create varied microclimates that further enhance the diversity of plant and animal life.
The national park covers 801,163 acres and is home to an abundant variety of Cretaceous and Cenozoic fossil organisms, and the park has artifacts estimated to be 9,000 years old. Historic buildings and landscapes offer graphic illustration of life along the international border in the 19th century.
For more than 1,000 miles, the Rio Grande/Río Bravo forms the boundary between Mexico and the United States, and Big Bend National Park administers approximately 118 miles along that boundary. The park was named after a large bend in the river and Texas—Mexico border. One of the park's best known features is Santa Elena Canyon. Split by the Rio Grande, on one side, the United States; the other, Mexico.
Because the Rio Grande serves as an international boundary, the park faces unusual constraints while administering and enforcing park rules, regulations, and policies. In accordance with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the park's territory extends only to the center of the deepest river channel as the river flowed in 1848. The rest of the land south of that channel, and the river, lies within Mexican territory. The park is bordered by the protected areas of Parque Nacional Cañon de Santa Elena and Maderas del Carmen in Mexico.
Rob Decker is a photographer and graphic artist who had the rare privilege of studying under Ansel Adams in Yosemite National Park when he was just 19 years old. Now, Rob is on a journey to explore and photograph all of America’s National Parks. He’s creating WPA-style posters to help people celebrate their own national park adventures — as well as encourage others to get out and explore!
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