Pine Springs, TX–Park Superintendent Dennis A. Vásquez announced the following storm closure updates. Park staff continues to assess damage and has begun clean up and repairs to park areas affected by heavy rains and flooding.
The Pine Springs Visitor Center remains open to provide information and assist visitors and motorists, and the Pinery is open. The Pine Springs Campground is open for both RV and tent camping. Frijole Ranch Road is open, the Smith Spring Trail is open on the western side of the loop trail, only. The Manzanita Spring Trail is open to Manzanita Spring, but the trail is closed beyond Manzanita Spring. The Smith Spring Trail remains closed between Smith Spring and Manzanita Spring. The Guadalupe Peak Trail, the Guadalupe Peak Stock Trail, the Pinery Trail and the first mile, only, of the Devil’s Hall Trail have reopened, as well. The first 1 ½ miles, only, of the McKittrick Canyon Trail opened, on a limited basis, to the fourth water crossing at 1:30 PM
today. As of 11 am, there was 1 to 2 feet of water in McKittrick Creek. The McKittrick Canyon Visitor Contact Station will be staffed for the next few days and park staff will rove the McKittrick Canyon Trail to assist hikers and continue monitoring the trail. The Guadalupe Peak Backcountry Campground is open. However, most trails still have loose rocks and soft, uneven ground, and many require shallow water crossings,and hikers and backpackers should exercise extreme caution.
The Frijole Trail and Foothills Trail Loop, Bear Canyon Trail, Tejas, Trail and all high-country trails are closed. The Frijole Ranch Cultural History Museum will remain closed, indefinitely, due to extensive water damage, and Ship-On-the-Desert remains closed, pending further assessment and repairs of water damage. Park staff have not, yet, been able to reach the Pratt Cabin and Williams Ranch House to assess those buildings. Williams Ranch Road, the Salt Basin Dunes and western section of the park, Dog Canyon and all other backcountry areas, unpaved roads and trails, will remain closed, at least through the weekend, as water levels continue to recede and the park begins to dry out.
“We continue to assess and monitor conditions, and are continuing to open closed areas of the park, as soon as it becomes safe to do so. The ground is still saturated in many areas, and creeks, arroyos, springs and seeps are still running, even though the water has receded, so we continue to urge visitors to exercise extreme caution as they visit the park, and caution them not to enter closed areas. Williams Ranch Road and several trails have washed out areas, which will take time to repair. I want to re-emphasize that our primary concern is for the safety of park visitors and staff, and for the protection of park resources,” said Vásquez.
The New Mexico Department of Transportation is reporting that NM 137 to Dog Canyon remains closed between mile marker 1 and mile marker 54 until early next week. There will be no access to Dog Canyon until that road re-opens. 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 (http://www.mesonet.ttu.edu) 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.
Park information, including park conditions, closures or restrictions, weather and program information, may be found on the park’s website at www.nps.gov/GUMO/, on the park’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Guadalupe.Mountains/, or by contacting the Pine Springs Visitor Center at (915) 828-3251 x2124. The Pine Springs Visitor Center is open daily (except for Christmas) from 8:00 AM until 4:30 PM. The McKittrick Canyon, Frijole Ranch House, Dog Canyon and Salt Basin Dunes (Dell City, TX) Visitor Contact Stations are open intermittently. Please call the Pine Springs Visitor Center at (915) 828-3251 x2124 to find out whether they are open. For Dog Canyon, call the Dog Canyon Visitor Contact Station/Ranger Station at (575) 981-2418.