Can A Border Wall Go Up In Rugged Big Bend Region?

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BIG BEND REGION (CBS11) – Folks who live in Texas’ Big Bend region say the best way to understand and appreciate how rugged the terrain is, is by air.

“I spent 45 years working for the Parks Service,” said Marcos Paredes, a retired park ranger.

Parades, who is also a pilot, gave CBS11 a bird’s eye view of the massive canyons, cliffs and drop offs.

“I don’t think they can build a wall here, but they cause an awful lot of damage making a show of it,” said Paredes. “We don’t need a wall down here. We’ve got plenty of natural barriers.”

The Big Bend region shares a total of 300 border miles with Mexico.

On the ground near the Rio Grande River, you’ll find the small Boquillas Crossing Port of Entry.  It’s basically a landing with row boats that take visitors to the small town of Boquillas, Mexico.

Mike Davidson, who operates the ferries said he fears a manmade barrier would close the port and destroy natural habitats in Big Bend.

“This national park has more species of birds than any other national park. More species of plants. It’s a very important and biologically diverse area,” said Davidson.

It’s also a popular place for tourists from all over, including the DFW area.

Davidson estimates they get between 80,000 to 100,000 visitors from North Texas each year.

Mesquite native Craig Ayers was out there Friday.

“I think the wall is necessary in some parts,” said Ayers, who does not think it should be in Big Bend. 

“That was my fear that it would actually come through places like this,” said Ayers.

“I don’t know that I support a wall. I support following the laws that we already have in place in the country,” said Denton County resident, Steve Watkins.

Big Bend’s Border Patrol Union President Lee Smith supports President Donald Trump’s executive order, but for Smith, it’s less about a brick and mortar wall and more about other ways to shore up the border in these rough lands.

“Infrastructure, technology and manpower,” said Smith. “Those are things in this area that we need.”

(©2017 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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