BIG BEND NATIONAL PARK, TEXAS – Visitor services will return to Big Bend National Park’s Castolon Historic District on Monday, November 18th. The area has been closed to entry since two historic structures suffered major damage in a fast-moving wildfire last May.
Temporary facilities will now provide important services to the remote western side of the park. Park visitors will once again have the opportunity to purchase cold drinks, snacks and enjoy the shade at a temporary store operated by the park concessioner, Forever Resorts. Visitors will also find a new restroom building and soon, a visitor information station at the Castolon Ranger Station. Brand new interpretive exhibits in the nearby Magdalena House provide a glimpse into the area’s history and life in the remote border community of Castolon 100 years ago.
“This is a big milestone, as plans for the re-opening Castolon began literally days after the fire swept through,” said Acting Superintendent David Elkowitz. “It was a concerted effort by all park divisions, Forever Resorts, and our supportive park partners to make this happen.”
The fire-damaged remnants of the historic La Harmonia Store and Visitor Center remain fenced off for safety. Castolon remains a rich remnant of Big Bend’s pioneer and military past and plans are underway for the next chapters in Castolon’s history. The park’s philanthropic partner, Big Bend Conservancy (www.bigbendconservancy.org), has established a Castolon Recovery Fund and will assist the park in designing a plan for the future of this historic site. The National Park Service is currently consulting with adobe experts, historic architects, and structural engineers to determine how the damaged structures might be rehabilitated.