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Media Contact: Tom Harvey, 512-389-4453, tom.harvey@tpwd.texas.gov [TH]

TPWD Website: http://www.tpwd.state.tx.us

TPWD News Release — April 3, 2009

Big Bend Ranch Fiesta to Showcase Expanded Public Access May 2

Public Invited, Entrance Fees Waived for Full Day of Activities

April 30, 2009 — Update: This event has been cancelled because of the escalating health emergency. A media advisory will be issued soon.

PRESIDIO, Texas — There is more to see and do than ever before at Texas’ largest and wildest state park, Big Bend Ranch State Park. The public is invited to learn first-hand about the many wonders of the 300,000-acre during a free, daylong Fiesta on Saturday, May 2 at the park’s Sauceda Ranger Station.

Park fees are waived for the "open house," which will feature a free barbecue lunch at noon and a concert at 1:30 p.m. by cowboy singer-songwriter Dennis Jay. Activities being offered include park tours, hikes, guided mountain bike and horseback rides, and informational displays on everything from bats to river recreation. Park rangers, as well as natural and cultural resource specialists, will be on hand to share information about this true wilderness park in the Big Bend country’s scenic desert highlands.

The purpose of the Fiesta is to increase awareness of the state park’s greatly expanded public use opportunities to provide the opportunity for Texans, especially local citizens, to visit and experience one of the great parks of the West.

Thanks to the labors of park staff and friends, today’s adventurers now have access to more than 50 new campsites in the more remote, scenic areas of Big Bend Ranch’s backcountry, as well as greater opportunities to hike, bike and ride horses along many miles of newly accessible trails and jeep roads.

Information booths and special Fiesta programs conclude at 4 p.m. Saturday, but the park will remain open for regular activities through Sunday.

Visitors can make arrangements to stay overnight, but should be aware that there are limited tent camping options and indoor accommodations at the Sauceda Ranger Station.

To reserve a campsite during Fiesta weekend, call (432) 358-4444. To learn more about the park, visit the park Web page, which includes links to online video and a new interactive online park map with photos and information about new trails, campsites and other facilities and opportunities. The park’s recent El Solitario newsletters, available online in .pdf form, also offer a great, one-stop information resource for visitors.

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