Conservation group to hold virtual meeting on proposed Big Bend International Park

Officials with the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition announced Friday that they are set to have a virtual public meeting regarding the progress on the establishment of the binational Big Bend International Park.

On October 24, 1944 in a letter to His Excellency General Manual Avila Camacho, President of the United Mexican States, President Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote “I do not believe that this undertaking in the Big Bend (referring to the establishment of Big Bend National Park) will be complete until the entire park area in this region on both sides of the Rio Grande forms one great international park.”

Today most people who support the proposal talk about a transboundary protected area since Mexico does not have national parks like we have in the United States.

Today the proposal is still just a thought with no serious plans by either government to complete Roosevelt’s dream for both countries.

El Paso Zoo Education Curator Rick LoBello has been advocating for the project since 1988 when he was invited by the then Governor of Coahuila Mexico to visit the Mexican side of the proposed park region on an expedition with National Park and Texas Parks and Wildlife officials.

In 1997 he enlisted the support of Rotary International and a year later hundreds of Rotarians from the US and Mexico gathered at Chamizal National Memorial for an international meeting where they dedicated their efforts to see the project through completion. Unfortunately Rotary was not successful in keeping the project on the international radar screen and we are where we are today.

At a meeting in Juarez in 1999 LoBello was encouraged by Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt and later in a letter via National Park Service Inter-Mountain Regional Director John Cook to continue advocacy efforts and to develop the political and diplomatic consensus that is required to establish the transboundary protected area.

To see a historical timeline on the effort from 1932-2019 click here.

Learn about what can happen next and how the proposal could impact major problems both countries are facing with climate change, the border wall, conservation of rare and endangered species, immigration, the economy and US Mexico relations.

To join the public meeting click this Zoom link on November 19 at 4pm Mountain Time. Sponsored by the Chihuahuan Desert Education Coalition, advocating for conservation education in the northern Chihuahuan Desert Region since 2004.

Meeting ID: 856 1772 6222 Passcode: CDEC2020
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