Two years ago, I scrawled a figurative GTT (Gone to Texas) on my life in Virginia and headed for the Hill Country. One of the first books I bought upon my arrival was National Parks of the West. It didn’t take long to figure out that Big Bend National Park, with its environs ranging from mountains to canyons and from desert to river, needed to be on my “places to go” list.
Therefore, when The Wittliff Collections announced a panel discussion about Big Bend, I put it on my personal calendar. Over the course of an hour-and-a-half I got a major reality check: the National Park is larger than the state of Rhode Island.
It was all a little intimidating to someone who recently managed to get lost on a five-acre tract of land, especially when combined with Laurence Parent’s description of his latest book Death in Big Bend, which details 17 true stories of rescues and fatalities.
Fortunately, the panel went on to describe the more positive aspects of Big Bend, and the dry wit of retired National Park Service ranger Marcos Paredes did much to enliven the evening. Side note: Mr. Paredes is profiled in Texas Parks and Wildlife Magazine, which is available in the library as well as online.
Since then, I’ve done a little digging to see what else we have about Big Bend in the Government Information collection. Our Texas Documents collection includes The Journal of Big Bend Studies (Tex Doc Z S900.6 J826). I also found a Big Bend National Park brochure (Gov Doc I 29.8:B 48/4) in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) collection and a range of USGS maps (United States Geographic Service) in the topographic map collection.
As it stands, Big Bend is still near the top of my “places to go” list with the added bonus that I now have an expanded list of books to read, thanks to the Wittliff Collections staff.