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Big Bend National Park Texas

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Big Bend National Park is an American national park located in West Texas, bordering Mexico. The park has national significance as the largest protected area of Chihuahuan Desert topography and ecology in the United States and was named after a large bend in the Rio Grande/Río Bravo. The park protects more than 1,200 species of plants, more than 450 species of birds, 56 species of reptiles, and 75 species of mammals. Additional park activities include scenic drives, programs led by Big Bend park rangers, and stargazing.

The area has a rich cultural history, from archeological sites dating back nearly 10,000 years to more recent pioneers, ranchers, and miners. The Chisos Mountains are located in the park and are the only mountain range in the United States to be fully contained within the boundary of a national park. Geological features in the park include sea fossils and dinosaur bones, as well as volcanic dikes.

The park encompasses an area of 801,163 acres (1,251.8 sq mi; 3,242.2 km2), entirely within Brewster County. For more than 1,000 miles (1,600 km), the Rio Grande/Río Bravo forms the boundary between Mexico and the United States, and Big Bend National Park administers approximately 118 miles (190 km) along that boundary.

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 channel and the land south of it lies within Mexican territory. The park is bordered by the protected areas of Cañón de Santa Elena and Maderas del Carmen in Mexico.

According to the Köppen climate classification system, Big Bend National Park has a hot semi-arid climate (BSh).

The park exhibits dramatic contrasts and its climate may be characterized as one of extremes. Dry and hot late spring and summer days often exceed 100 °F (38 °C) in the lower elevations. Winters are normally mild but subfreezing temperatures occasionally occur. Because of the range in altitude from about 1,800 feet (550 m) along the river to Emory Peak in the Chisos Mountains at 7,832 feet (2,387 m), a wide variation in available moisture and temperature exists throughout the park. These variations contribute to an exceptional diversity in plant and animal habitats. Some species in the park, such as the Chisos oak (Quercus graciliformis), are found nowhere else in the United States.

The 118 mi (190 km) of river that form the southern park boundary include the spectacular canyons of Santa Elena, Mariscal, and Boquillas. The Rio Grande, which meanders through this portion of the Chihuahuan Desert, has cut deep canyons with nearly vertical walls through three uplifts made primarily of limestone. Throughout the open desert areas, the highly productive Rio Grande riparian zone includes numerous plant and animal species and significant cultural resources. The vegetative belt extends into the desert along creeks and arroyos.

The park’s Chisos Mountains are sky islands surrounded by desert. A significant part of the park’s tremendous biodiversity is represented by isolated populations of plants and animals found in the Chisos Mountains and in many of the desert springs distributed across the park.

South of the border lie the Mexican states of Chihuahua and Coahuila and newly protected areas for flora and fauna, which are regions known as the Maderas del Carmen and the Cañón de Santa Elena. Wikipedia

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