Passport Requirements Change
Ok, here is the latest update on Passport Requirements for going on river trips on the Rio Grande in the Big Bend area of Texas. We are in receipt of a letter from the National Park Service, United States Department of Interior, that relates policy changes for River Usage on the Rio Grande along the Texas/Mexico border. These statements reflect changes in the enforcement of existing regulations by US Customs and Border Patrol.
The following are direct quotes from the letter we received from Big Bend National Park:
“First, a U.S. Passport is not required to use the river in Big Bend National Park or the Rio Grande Wild and Scenic River. Additionally, a U.S. Customs declaration form is no longer required for river trips.
Second, visitors and river outfitters may not use the Mexican bank of the river, as international border crossing is only legal at a Port of Entry. Visitors may not hike into Mexico or the side canyons of Mexico. Visitors additionally may not plan a trip to camp in Mexico or on the Mexican shore. The exception is in cases of emergency: visitors may land on the Mexican side of the river to scout rapids, to bail out a boat, to repack gear, and for other safety reasons.”
These policy changes were presented to us in a letter dated August 20, 2010.
If you have questions on how this new interpretation of the regulations will affect Desert Sports river trips, give us a shout (either email or give us a call). While these changes will have an effect on some of our camps and hikes, we are still able to visit the fantastic canyons of the Rio Grande. Stay tuned for more updates.
If you have questions on the new enforcement of these regulations and how they affect the current NPS policy changes we suggest contacting the following folks:
Bill Wellman, BBNP Superintendent; email@example.com
David Elkowitz, BBNP Chief of Interpretation, firstname.lastname@example.org
Bill Brooks, Customs and Border Patrol, Marfa Sector, email@example.comBig Bend Info > Canoeing > passport > Rafting > Rules & Regulations
I guess this means no more sitting in the Hot Springs in the LC. Or carrying your gear around Upper Madison. Ouch!
The current interpretation does allow for emergent landings on the Mexican side of the river.
“The exception is in cases of emergency: visitors may land on the Mexican side of the river to scout rapids, to bail out a boat, to repack gear, and for other safety reasons.”
I would consider scouting and portaging of any rapid a “safety” reason and would not hesitate landing on the Mexican side of the river if that was the best place to take a look at what lies ahead and to carry your stuff around the hazard. Now, scouting the Hot Springs Rapid from the pool at the spring……….?
Thanks for clarification. That makes trips doable.
I think the pools at Hot Springs are ideal for scouting and a safety talk, now that you mention it.