Brewster County Plans to Fight to Keep Big Bend National Park Open

Brewster County Plans to Fight to Keep Big Bend National Park Open

Brian Wise

NewsWest 9

ALPINE - Brewster County has decided the Federal Government has no right to shut down their park and ruin the Brewster Economy.

On Thursday, in a special meeting, County Commissioners agreed that if no federal budget is decided by Monday, they are going to seek a temporary restraining order. Judge Val Beard of Brewster County led the hearing.

"After listening to our constituents and going over the original creation of Big Bend National Park, we voted unanimously to seek a temporary restraining order against closure of the park if the park is not open by the end of Monday of next week," Judge Beard said.

The County Judge and other Brewster County officials met to discuss action against the federal government. It is day three of the government shutdown and that means Big Bend National Park is closed.

Brewster County is the biggest county in Texas and Big Bend National Park is entering its high season for tourists.

With Big Bend closed that means no money coming in for Brewster. Cancellations for hotel rooms are already being called in. Ron Sanders, the President of Brewster's Tourism Council, has already heard these calls as director of Forever Resorts, one of the lodges in the park.

"The devastation. The job loss that we have in the area because people are going to have to start laying off help if we don't get revenue," Sanders said.

The Judge and Commissioners listened to speakers talk about the massive hit to the Brewster County economy. With no end to Congress and the President's political standoff in Washington, people in Brewster County are left with few options.

"It's the length. The last time it was closed 17 days, that was the longest closure we've ever had. We've had one and two days, which don't affect you too much. When it's 17 days, that's gigantic. That's a half of a month. It's gigantic," Sanders said.

Terlingua has its annual Chile Cook Off coming in mere weeks. Brewster County looks forward to it as a worldwide event with thousands of people.

17 years ago, the same government shutdown forced Brewster County to pursue a temporary restraining order. The judge at the time was Lucius Bunton. October seventh will be marked by the county to see if Brewster County will do the same thing again.