Is "Boot Cabin" in the backcountry of Big Bend National Park a fixer upper, or is it beyond any hope of repair? Park officials believe the latter, and want to replace the ranger cabin with a new facility.
The cabin is found along the Boot Canyon Trail near the center of the park's heavily-visited Chisos Mountains.
What's wrong with it?
According to park officials, the "cabin’s floors are not level, its ceiling is too low, the kitchen sink does not function, there is no sanitary wastewater disposal system, and numerous openings allow insects and other nuisance animals to enter the cabin. Additionally, the cabin is not bear-proof. Furthermore, as the cabin is situated along Boot Canyon Trail, its poor condition detracts from the visitor experience."
So the park would like to either raze the facility and build a new cabin in the same location, or replace the cabin and associated corral and storage facilities nearby at the Colima site.
The Colima site is not far from the existing cabin, but to build there would require "ground disturbance and understory tree cutting. This site would provide a central and flat location in the Chisos with adequate space for a new cabin, corral, tool shed, and overflow camping. The site would not be along or visible from a trail, but would require a new trail spur off the Colima Trail for access," according to park officials.
Boot Cabin is used by backcountry rangers, resource managers, trail crews, fire crews, search-and-rescue crews, researchers and more. It also is a staging area for 1-day radio/repeater tower repair on Emory Peak, according to the park. Park staff, Border Patrol agents, Brewster County officials, and others use the radio/repeater tower for emergency communications.
Before they can make a final decision, park officials are developing an environmental review to examine potential effects associated with the proposed project. Public comment on the proposal is being accepted through March 25.
You can learn more about the project, and leave your comments about it, at this site.
Written comments may be sent to: Superintendent, P.O. Box 129, Big Bend National Park, Texas, 79834.