U.S. – Mexico to create peace park along border?

The U.S. and Mexico have announced plans to move ahead with the creation of a peace park along their shared border. Presidents Obama and Calderon met last month to sign an agreement that would protect the wild and untamed wilderness along both sides of the border near Big Bend National Park in West Texas, although concerns about security along that border do remain.

Big Bend has been a bit of a hidden gem in the U.S. national park system almost since it was established back in 1944. Located in a remote region of Texas, it attracts an average of just 300,000 visitors per year. That makes for a rather uncrowded experience considering its size, which is in excess of 1250 square miles. The park has miles of hiking and backpacking trail, and falls along the Rio Grande River, which offers up excellent rafting at certain times of the year. The park is an interesting combination of both harsh deserts and rugged mountains, and is home to a wide variety of wildlife including mountain lions, black bears, coyotes, golden eagles, and more.

Reportedly the wilderness on the Mexican side of the border is even more untamed and seldom visited by travelers, with herds of Big Horn sheep and even more bears roaming the area. That region is currently mostly unprotected however and the creation of the international peace park would change that, making both sides of the border an ecological refuge.

There are challenges to overcome to make the park a reality however. Opponents to the idea say that it will create security issues and could allow illegal immigrants and drug traffickers better access to the border. Supports of the plan point to the the Glacier-Waterton park which falls along the U.S.-Canadian border, as a model of success for this type of park. Of course, there aren’t a lot of Canadians trying to sneak into the States either.

For now, the plan is just a very basic idea, and the details on how the park will be organized and operated, remain to be worked out. But if, and when, it is completed, the park will be a new and amazing destination for adventure travelers looking to visit one of the lesser known and untrammeled regions in all of North America.

[Photo credit: Eleutherosmartin via WikiCommons]