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In response to the COVID-19 situation, Big Bend National Park is implementing changes to park operations.  Please consult the park's official website for full details and up to the minute changes at www.nps.gov/bibe

Effective Monday, March 23, 2020 at Noon until further notice:


  • All park campgrounds and backcountry campsites will be closed until further notice
  • Reservations made through www.recreation.gov will be cancelled
  • The concession-operated RV campground at Rio Grande Village will be closed


  • The Chisos Mountain Lodge hotel will be closed.
  • The Chisos Mountain restaurant will remain open, with take-out service only
  • The park camper stores and service station will remain open.

Big Bend National Park remains open for day use.  Park employees remain at work, and will be patrolling the park, assisting visitors and enforcing all regulations.  As services are limited, teh NPS urges visitors to continue to practice Leave No Trace principles, including pack-in and pack-out to keep outdoor spaces clean, safe and healthy.

The health and safety of visitors, employees, volunteers, and partners at Big Bend is the park’s number one priority. The NPS is working with federal, state, and local authorities to closely monitor COVID-19 and will notify the public via updates on the park website and social media channels when full operations resume.  For more information on the NPS response to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, please visit the NPS Public Health Update webpage (www.nps.gov/aboutus/news/public-health-update.htm)

Effective Friday, March 20, 2020, until further notice:
All river operations in Big Bend National Park and along the Rio Grande Wild & Scenic River are suspended.

Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, until further notice:

  • All Big Bend visitor centers will be closed, including Big Bend Natural History Association bookstores
  • Entrance stations will be closed
  • All formal interpretive programming and special events scheduled for the next 60 days will be cancelled
  • The Boquillas Port of Entry will be closed, effective Wednesday, March 18
  • Camping
    • Outstanding permits for group campsites will be cancelled for those whose trips have not yet begun, and group campsites will be closed when current parties vacate
    • All backcountry campsites with capacities > 10 people will be closed to further reservations, and existing permits for groups > 10 people will be cancelled when current itineraries expire
    • Backcountry camping will be restricted to those sites available for advance reservations on recreation.gov (eliminating the need for staff to write backcountry permits)
    • Individual sites in developed campgrounds have a capacity of 8 people. These will remain open to advance reservations and first-come, first-served self-registration, provide we have campground hosts available.  
    • River trips will be restricted to groups of 10 or less
  • Concessions
    • The hotel will remain open
    • The bar will be closed 
    • The salad bar will be closed
    • The restaurant will attempt to maximize take-out meals 
    • Restaurant capacity will be restricted and tables spread out to maximize distance between parties
    • Patio dining will be allowed to continue through the end of April, provided there are no significant trash or animal problems. Capacity will be reduced and tables spread out to maximize distance between parties
    • Indoor spaces (eg stores, registration area) will be restricted to no more than 10 people, including staff
    • The RV campground at Rio Grande Village will remain open

Park staff realize these changes have tremendous impact on the visiting public, on the economic livelihood of local businesses and our concessioner, Big Bend Resorts, and certainly on their employees.  Nonetheless these actions are reasonable steps to protect the health of park employees and the visitors. 

At this time there is no plan to close Big Bend National Park.  Park staff are monitoring the local, regional, and national situation on a daily basis and will adjust or lift these limits as appropriate as the situation changes.  

Thank you for your patience with this rapidly developing situation, and for your continued support of Big Bend National Park, its staff, its partners and its community.


Big Bend Conservancy’s mission is to promote, protect and raise funds for Big Bend National Park and the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River.

By 1995, Lori Palmer and her husband Russ Jewert had been visiting Big Bend National Park for over 21 years. Having heard of other Friends groups, they decided to join one for Big Bend; however, they discovered that no such group existed. They and other Park enthusiasts put the wheels in motion to start a group, and in 1997 a specially designed license plate was created to help raise funds.

Since then, thousands of Texans have supported the Park through their purchase of both car and motorcycle license plates. In addition, the Conservancy has raised funds for the park through grants, individual gifts and matching gifts. To date, Big Bend Conservancy has raised over $3.2 million for the park, including over $650,000 in license plate monies.

Big Bend Conservancy works directly with Big Bend National Park and Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River management to determine projects and programs that need our support. We jointly determine the types of projects that are brought to the board and look into the future to see what may be needed at a later time. Once a project is selected we set a plan for raising the funds needed to make the project come to life.

The Conservancy also participates in special events, research projects, legislative efforts and other special opportunities to promote the Park and advance the cause of national park funding.

To date, the Conservancy has provided over $3.2 million to Big Bend National Park and the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River. Our current projects include raising the final funds for the Fossil Discovery Exhibit, paying for repairs to the Homer Wilson Ranch home and raising funds for new exhibits at the Rio Grande Village Visitor Center.

The Big Bend Conservancy funds a wide variety of projects and programs. The Conservancy concentrates its efforts on improving the visitor experience by enhancing interpretation, adding new exhibits and providing needed equipment for Park staff to better communicate with visitors. The Conservancy also works to restore habitat, preserve historic buildings, improve the relationship with the community in Boquillas, Mexico and more.

Past projects have included the Visitor Orientation Film ($235,000), the Teacher Ranger Teacher program ($8,000) and the Boquillas Crossing Station ($60,000).

To date, the Conservancy has provided over $3.2 million to Big Bend National Park and the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River. Our current projects include raising the final funds for the Fossil Discovery Exhibit, paying for repairs to the Homer Wilson Ranch home and raising funds for new exhibits at the Rio Grande Village Visitor Center.

Members are the lifeblood of the Conservancy. Your membership helps us complete projects, put on special events and connect with Park supporters across the nation. Members make our mission happen!

Become a Member here.

In addition to membership, Texas residents can support us by purchasing the Big Bend license plate. Thousands of Texans have purchased the plate throughout the years, and in doing so have provided the Park with over sixty different projects, resources and staff that would not otherwise have been available to the Park and its visitors. Click here to purchase your Big Bend license plate.


Rio Grande Village VC Renovation and Wetlands Restoration

For five years, the Conservancy has worked with the Park to restore over 55 acres of wetlands in the Rio Grande Village area of the Park.  This project is restoring Rio Grande riparian bird habitat to a disturbed site near the

Photos provided by Mike Marvins

Fossil Discovery Exhibit

The Fossil Discovery Exhibit is here!  Our Grand Opening was January 14, 2017.   This new exhibit features the Park's 120 million years of paleontologic history. Big Bend National Park has one of the richest collections of

Photos provided by Steve Wick/NPS

Support Us


Memorials & Honoraria

Memorials & Honoraria

Remember your loved ones with a gift in their memory or honor. These gifts support our mission for both Park units.

Planned Giving

Planned Giving

Provide a legacy for future generations and improve a place of distinction through planned giving.



Starting at $50/year, memberships help the Conservancy with funds to support our mission.

License Plates

License Plates

Over $800,000 has been provided to the Park by license plate holders.