Construct New Multi-Use Trail at Panther Junction
The National Park Service (NPS) proposes to construct a new multi-use trail, to include mountain biking, in Big Bend backcountry.
The proposed new trail would be located in currently undeveloped backcountry, northeast of Panther Junction. Nearly five miles of trail would be constructed for use by hikers, horseback riders, and bicyclists. The proposal includes creating a trailhead parking and picnic area near the Panther Junction Visitor Center, and a second trailhead along the Grapevine Hills road. The area is not within the Recommended Wilderness areas of Big Bend backcountry, which remain off-limits to mountain bikes.
The purpose of the proposed project is to provide new recreational opportunities to park visitors, including an experience not currently available to bicyclists. The proposal results from a 2002 Memorandum of Agreement between the NPS and the International Mountain Biking Association, established for the purpose of identifying mountain biking opportunities in the national parks.
Because federal regulations currently prohibit use of bicycles off of existing paved and unpaved roads in all units of the National Park system, formal federal rulemaking would be required to create an exception at Big Bend, including publication in the Federal Register and an associated public comment period.
NEPA (Public Involvement) Coordinator Raymond Skiles (432) 477-1145