More and more areas of Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas are being opened as the park continues to dry out following last week's rain storms.
Most recently, the park opened the Permian Reef Trail and the Wilderness Ridge Backcountry Campground. Open facilities now include:
* Pine Springs Visitor Center
* Pine Springs Campground (Both RV and Tent Camping)
* McKittrick Canyon Visitor Contact Station
* Guadalupe Peak Backcountry Campground
* Wilderness Ridge Backcountry Campground
* Frijole Ranch (Exterior Areas Only)
* Guadalupe Peak Trail
* The Pinery Trail and the Pinery Butterfield Station Ruins
* Guadalupe Peak Stock Trail
* McKittrick Canyon Trail (First 1½ Miles to 4th Water Crossing Only)
* Devil’s Hall Trail (1st mile only)
* The Western Smith Spring Loop (Smith Spring Trail is Closed Between Smith Spring and Manzanita Spring)
* The Manzanita Spring Trail
Closed Areas include:
* Frijole Ranch Cultural History Museum
* Ship on the Desert
* McKittrick Canyon Trail Beyond the First 1½ Miles, including Pratt Cabin
* Devil’s Hall Trail After the First Mile
* Williams Ranch Road and Williams Ranch
* Williams Road, the Salt Basin Dunes and Western Part of the Park
* Dog Canyon
* All Other Trails, Backcountry Campgrounds and Backcountry Areas
Much of the park sustained rain and flood damage during last week’s storm. The Frijole Ranch Cultural History Museum, inside the Frijole Ranch House, and the Frijole Bunkhouse sustained heavy water damage to the carpet and walls, and mold is growing inside, park officials said.
A large section of water line was also lost in Frijole Ranch. Ship on the Desert sustained water damage from roof leaks. Park staff is drying out both the Frijole Ranch House and the Ship on the Desert, and have initiated repairs.
Park staff hiked to Pratt Cabin and the Williams Ranch House to conduct preliminary damage assessments. Although neither suffered significant damage, both remain isolated, as Williams Ranch Road and the McKittrick Canyon trail both sustained heavy damage.
Approximately 45 feet of the embankment of the wash behind the Pine Springs Visitor Center was washed away, so that now it's only 35 feet from the Pinery Butterfield Station Ruins. One of the stone benches at Smith Spring was washed away.
The part of Williams Road and the salt flats on the park’s western flank remain under water. A large section of fiberoptic line that the Dell Telephone Company maintains in the park’s housing area, which was buried at least four feet underground, was washed away.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation is reporting that New Mexico Road 137 is open. However, Dog Canyon remains closed while park staff assesses storm damage there. Park staff continues to assess the damage from the storm and flooding. However, most other trails sustained damage, with many areas being washed out and filled with debris and remain closed.
Visitors are reminded that trails that have been opened still have loose rocks and soft, uneven ground, and many require shallow water crossings. Hikers and backpackers should exercise extreme caution, and all visitors are asked not to enter closed areas, for their own safety.
The National Weather Service reported that the Bowl recorded 12.41 inches of rain during a 24 hour period from September 11-12, while Dog Canyon recorded 9.50 inches, McKittrick Canyon recorded 7.32 inches and the Pinery recorded 5.12 inches. The Texas Tech University West Texas Mesonet weather station, located near the park’s fire cache, registered 15.73 inches of rain between September 9 and 14, including 13.50 inches during a 24 hour period on September 12-13.