The top priority of the Greater Big Bend Coalition is to help gain international support for the now 80 year old dream of establishing a Big Bend Rio Bravo Binational Natural Area in the Big Bend area of Texas and northern Mexico.
You can help support this effort by:
1. Sending a letter of support representing yourself, your business or organization to: Rick LoBello, Executive Committee, El Paso Sierra Club Group, firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Liking our facebook page at facebook.com/greaterbigbend
Why a Big Bend Rio Bravo Binational Natural Area?
1. A Big Bend Rio Bravo Binational Natural Area would help to call attention to the importance of protecting the entire Big Bend area and its fragile environment from development projects including new roads and pipelines. Protecting this fragile desert mountain region and its wildlife and culture is important to not only the quality of life of people who live there, but also to ecotourism which is important to the region’s economy.
2. A Big Bend Rio Bravo Binational Natural Area would help the people of both countries build stronger partnerships along the US Mexico border which many Americans living in other parts of the country do not value as important to solving international problems. These problems include immigration and drug trafficking issues and challenges faced by Homeland Security.
3 A Big Bend Rio Bravo Binational Natural Area would be an example of the best our governments and people can pursue through cooperation and joint work helping the rest of the country with its perception of what a border is and what a border can be.
4. Big Bend Rio Bravo Binational Natural Area designation would send a message to the people of both countries and the world that the entire region is an important conservation area worthy of care and support from citizens of both countries. If the federal governments of both countries would come together and recognize the value of declaring the entire region an international park, it would not only help not only help conserve the area, but also help boost the economy on both sides of the border through ecotourism. Promoting the economy would have the added benefit of helping with the socio-economic needs of many impoverished people living in and near the area.
5. Big Bend Rio Bravo Binational Natural Area could be managed using the world’s first international park at Waterton Glacier International Park on the U.S. and Canada border is a perfect model for a U.S.-Mexico International Park. Border security requires that international travelers have all required documents as they cross into either country. Both countries retain their own sovereignty and both parks are administered separately.
6. The name of the international protected area could be Big Bend Rio Bravo Binational Natural Area or any name that the two countries could agree on. National Park status would not be required of the Mexico protected areas and their current management plans or names would not have to change.
7. Park managers would have a mandate of international support at both federal government levels in Washington, DD and Mexico City to work jointly on many issues, such as search and rescue, publications, ranger-led activities, exotic weed management, wildlife issues, research projects and native plant restoration.
8. The establishment of the binational natural area would not require new international bridges and crossings or that new lands be acquired.
9. Creating a giant Big Bend Rio Bravo Binational Natural Area would help both countries better address key issues such as water and air quality, control of invasive species, wildlife protection and management of wildland fire. The park would become a permanent monument and symbol of peace between the U.S. and Mexico, one that will celebrate the friendship between the two countries and be a meeting ground where the people of both countries and citizens from all parts of the world could come together to learn about each other’s culture while coming to better understand the natural world that they all share.
10. One possible next step to establish this now 80 plus year proposal for both countries could be for the Presidents of the United States and Mexico to jointly declare the area as an International Park with the support of the land management agencies involved. Legislation may not be required since the lands that could be included already have protected status. The International designation could be a symbolic gesture by Presidential orders in the US and Mexico.
Large policy changes with wide-ranging effects have been effected through executive order and how a President uses an executive order changes from one administration to the next with legal challenges always a possibility. If a proposal were put forward to change the legal status of the protected areas or acquiring new lands managed by new or different government agencies, legislation would be required, but that is not the case at this time. If it turns out that an executive order is a viable method on both sides of the border then it behooves us to find the road map on how to make that happen.