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Guadalupe Mountains National Park Preparing For 40th Birthday Celebration

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Guadalupe Mountains National Park turns 40 in October. Photo by QT Luong,, all rights reserved.

A barbecue, music, and living history presentations are just part of the celebration being planned to mark the 40th anniversary of Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

While the park was authorized in 1966, it wasn't actually established until September 30, 1972. To mark that event, the park will host a birthday celebration on October 6 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The day’s activities will include musical performances, hay rides, pony rides for the children, special guest speakers and delicious BBQ at Frijole Ranch, living history at the Pinery Butterfield Stage Ruins and lectures, films, and special photograph and mural exhibits at the Pine Springs Visitor Center.

Among the musical groups and speakers confirmed to show up are Ceiba from El Paso (Latin American folk music), the Muletones from Dell City (Country Western music), muralist Brother Boko from the Carlsbad Mural Project, and historian Dr. Jeffrey Shepherd from the University of Texas at El Paso presenting about the history of the Guadalupe Mountains and Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

There also will be a special photo exhibit from local photographers in the Pine Springs Visitor Center Auditorium. Guadalupe Mountains National Park will also formally launch the Peak Fitness Challenge on October 6, along with partners Franklin Mountains State Park in El Paso, the Texas Mountain Trail, one of ten Texas heritage trails, and GeoBetty, that day.

The Peak Fitness Challenge is a new partnership effort to encourage people to enjoy the many spectacular trails in both Guadalupe Mountains National Park and Franklin Mountains State Park to enjoy the park, achieve their peak fitness level and enjoy the mental and physical health benefits of hiking in America’s Great Outdoors.

“This is a momentous occasion, and we hope old friends of Guadalupe Mountains National Park, and new, will join us for a full day of family fun as we go into our fifth decade," said park Superintendent Dennis Vásquez. "With more than 80 miles of hiking trails through some of the most spectacular scenery anywhere, Guadalupe Mountains National Park is very much a hiking park. We are proud to launch the Peak Fitness Challenge with our partners and encourage everyone to use the park to exercise and become more fit and healthy.

"We hope that those who visit on October 6th will continue to visit, hike, camp, watch wildlife, photograph and enjoy Guadalupe Mountains National Park.”

Park information, including park conditions, closures or restrictions, weather and program information, may be found on the park’s website, on the park’s Facebook page, or by contacting the Pine Springs Visitor Center at (915) 828-3251 x2124.

Ranger-guided hike and other interpretive program information is also available on the park’s Meetup page.

The Pine Springs Visitor Center is open daily (except for Christmas) from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. (8 a.m. until 6 p.m. from Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day Weekend). Be sure to stop by to get a map, site bulletins, brochures, post cards, books or film about Guadalupe Mountains National Park.

Park Background

Guadalupe Mountains National Park is located in far west Texas, on U.S. Highway 62/180. The driving distance is 110 miles east of El Paso, TX or 55 miles southwest of Carlsbad, NM. Visitors travelling to Dog Canyon, on the north side of the park, can access that area via New Mexico State Road 137, passing though the Lincoln National Forest and the village of Queen, New Mexico.

While the approach to Guadalupe Mountains National Park is scenic from any direction, there are no paved driving tours within the park. Park roads provide access to the Pine Springs Visitor Center and Campground, the McKittrick Canyon Contact Station, historic Frijole Ranch, the Dog Canyon Visitor Contact/Ranger Station and Campground, historic Williams Ranch (4x4 only), historic Ship-on-the-Desert, the Pinery and trailheads.

Public access to Ship-on-the-Desert is available only during open houses. To access Williams Ranch Road, it is necessary to check out a key at the Pine Springs Visitor Center.

The park entrance fee is $5 per person, valid for 7 days, and children under 16 years of age are free. Guadalupe Mountains Annual Passes may be purchased for $20, America the Beautiful Annual Passes, under the National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass Program, may be purchased at the park for $80 and are valid for all federal public lands.

Overnight RV and tent camping is available at the Pine Springs and Dog Canyon Campgrounds. Campsites are $8 per night. There is limited group camping, and groups should contact the Pine Springs Visitor Center at (915) 828-3251 x2124 for group campground information or reservations.

There are ten primitive designated backcountry/wilderness camping areas throughout the park. A free backcountry permit, required for overnight stay, may be obtained at the Pine Springs Visitor Center between 8 a.m. and 15 minutes prior to closing.

There are no gasoline, lodging, groceries or food services available in the park. The nearest are 35 miles east of Pine Springs in White’s City, 45 miles to the west in Dell City. There is no public transportation to the park. Motorists traveling past the park along U.S. Hwy 62/180 may tune in to the park’s Traveler Information Station at 1610 AM for up-to-date park information.

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