Should Big Bend National Park allow mountain biking?

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Mountain biking is allowed at Big Bend Ranch State Park. Now National Park Service officials are considering building a mountain bike trail at Big Bend National Park. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

Updates to note that this would not be the first mountain bike trail in the NPS and replaces map.

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Mountain biking at Big Bend National Park? Maybe.

The U.S. National Parks System is considering building a new trail at the West Texas park. (Nearby Big Bend Ranch State Park already has some mountain biking trails, and they’re spectacular.)

Mountain biking is allowed at Big Bend Ranch State Park. Now National Park Service officials are considering building a mountain bike trail at Big Bend National Park. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

Mountain biking is allowed at Big Bend Ranch State Park. Now National Park Service officials are considering building a mountain bike trail at Big Bend National Park. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

The unsurfaced 10-mile trail, if approved, would start near Panther Junction. It would be 2 to 3 feet wide in most places and follow natural landscape contours.

Plans also call for a parking area near the trailhead for 20 cars, and a small picnic area.

Trail construction would require removal of some vegetation and minor grading. Native materials including rock and soil would be used to control erosion. Trail construction would take about a year.

If you want to weigh in on the decision, comment on one of three options on the National Park Service website. Commenting closes at midnight today.

Here are the options:

• Option A is no change, i.e., the NPS would not construct a new trail.

• Option B is construction of a 10-mile trail that allows bicycle and hiking traffic. If built, this would be the first off-road bicycle trail in the NPS system.

• Option C is construction of a 10-mile trail that allows only foot traffic.

Learn more about the new trail and submit comments at http://parkplanning.nps.gov/document.cfm?parkID=29&projectID=14611&documentID=61058. (Descriptions of the trail options begin on page 19.)

 

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