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Tent camping in the Chisos Basin Campground.

Proposed Changes to Big Bend Camping Fees and Reservations

Big Bend National Park » Proposed Changes to Big Bend Camping Fees and Reservations » Document List

Big Bend National Park proposes to increase fees for some camping opportunities, and to add additional campsites to the online reservation system at www.recreation.gov.

Developed Campground Reservations
The park is proposing to significantly increase the number of reservable sites as well as the number of months when reservations are accepted. For many, this will greatly reduce the frustration of driving all the way to Big Bend, only to find full campgrounds.

Backcountry Permit Reservations
Currently, backcountry permits are issued only in-person at park visitor centers, and include primitive car camping sites as well as backpacking and river itineraries. During peak seasons visitors often encounter long lines to obtain camping permits and fully booked camping options. To better serve visitors and to allow for more opportunities to plan ahead, park managers are proposing adding primitive campsites to the online reservation system.

In January 2020, the most popular centrally located roadside sites and backpacking sites would become available for advanced reservations. This initial group of 58 sites is estimated to save 4,000 hand-written permits per year from being written at visitor centers. Following this initial phase-in period, additional sites will be added to gradually expand the sites available for reservation.

Fee Changes
To offset reservation service costs, more closely match other campsites in the area, and provide improved customer service, the park is proposing modest increases to fees for backcountry permits, developed campgrounds, and group sites. Revenue will be utilized to provide the contracted online reservation service, improve camping facilities parkwide, and reduce Big Bend's backlog of deferred maintenance. "We've heard loud and clear that people want us to expand the park's reservation system, and I'm excited that we're able to respond," said Superintendent Krumenaker. "This proposal benefits the visitor and will generate increased revenue for the NPS to reinvest in visitor services and deferred maintenance here at Big Bend."

A summary of the proposed changes are as follows:
-Chisos Basin Campground: Increase reservable sites to 2/3rds (#1-40), available year-round, up to 6 months in advance.
-Rio Grande Village Campground: Increase reservable sites to 2/3rds (#1-60) up to 6 months in advance for the period of November 1 through April 15.
-Group campsites: reservations available year-round up to one year in advance (no change).
-Cottonwood Campground: will remain first come, first served (no change)

Select backcountry campsites will be added to the reservation system starting in January 2020. The first 58 sites to pilot this change will include the popular centrally-located primitive car camping sites, and the designated backpacking sites in the Chisos Mountains. Reservations will be available year-round, up to 6 months in advance.

Roadside sites to be included are those at: Grapevine Hills, Paint Gap, Croton Spring, K-Bar, Hannold Draw, Nine-point Draw, Nugent Mountain, Pine Canyon, Robbers Roost, and Twisted Shoe.

Fee changes (to begin January 2020):

Developed campgrounds:
$16 per night, $8 with applicable interagency pass (currently $14 per night, $7 with pass).

Backcountry Camping:
$12 per night, $6 with applicable interagency pass (currently $12 per permit, $6 with pass)

Group campsites (currently $3 per person per night):
-Sites accommodating up to 14 people, $40 per night.
-Sites accommodating up to 25 people, $60 per night.
-Sites accommodating up to 40 people, $100 per night.

Park staff welcome your feedback on these proposals. Please provide your comments by September 15th, 2019.

Comments may be submitted by clicking "Open for Comment" on the left side of this page. You may also email to: bibe_planning@nps.gov; or via regular mail to:

Superintendent
PO Box 129,
Big Bend National Park, TX 79834-0129.

Contact Information
Chief of Interpretation, Tom VandenBerg 432-477-1107