La Feria News

Project to Open Bahia Grande to Public Underway

Remberto Arteaga, far left, talks to refuge staff about the Bahia Grande project. Photo: Tony Vindell/LFN

by Tony Vindell/LFN

Public access would be expanded to a new level not seen before at the Bahia Grande and at the Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, according to a project that is already being implemented.

Phase One of the four-stage plan is taking place with the construction of a new parking area at the Bahia Grande Unit on the southbound lane of State Highway 48.

The other phases call for building bathroom facilities, a seven-mile hiking and biking trail and fishing and hunting access in different areas of the unit.

The improvements would provide access to the unit which has been pretty much limited to the public since the U.S Fish & Wildflife Department acquired the Bahia Grande and began a restoration project 10 years ago.

The Bahia Grande has sizeable populations of water and wade birds, nilgae antelope, feral hogs and its waters are nurseries for red and black drums and snook.

About 10 concerned citizens attended the hearing and Boyd Blihovde, the refuge manager, said the public has until this Oct. 31 to make comments.

Bayview resident Remberto Arteaga said he was concerned about the amount of trash left by anglers at the Gayman Bridge and if the project is in compliance with ADA.

Blihovde said the refuge has no control over that bridge.

The Texas Department of Transportation maintains the bridge and the land adjacent to it belongs to the Brownsville Navigation District.

David Garza, commissioner with Cameron County Precinct 3, said he supports the project to make the Bahia Grande more accessible.

“I heard a similar project back in 2001 but nothing happened,” he said. “The Bahia Grande can provide all kinds of opportunities to the public, particularly for the children of this area.”

Comments about the project can be emailed to or to Laguna Atascosa NWR, 22817 Ocelot Rd., Los Fresnos, TX 78566.

For more information please call (956) 748-3607.

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