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Recognizing the national parks in our area for National Park Week

This week we celebrate Big Bend, Guadalupe Mountains and Carlsbad Caverns National Parks.

ODESSA, Texas — This week marks National Park Week, which is when we're supposed to recognize and appreciate America's natural beauty.

Our NewsWest 9 viewing area actually has three national parks, two in Texas and one in New Mexico.

Big Bend National Park is one of the largest in the U.S. at 800,000 acres situated on the Mexican border. Most of this park consists of a desert environment yet, this park still has a very diverse set of wildlife. There are more bird species here than in any other national park.

Guadalupe Mountains National Park hosts the highest elevation in the state of Texas at 8,751 feet above sea level. The hike to the top takes between 6 and 8 hours, which involves a 3,000 foot elevation gain from the desert floor.

Just to the north of Guadalupe Peak is the Carlsbad Caverns National Park. This park has the largest limestone chamber in North America, at over two football fields wide and almost a mile long.

Due to the desert environment of the parks in our area, it's very important for visitors to come prepared. Bringing water, sunscreen and other necessary equipment helps visitors enjoy the parks to their full capacity.

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